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Posted on: May 14, 2015

Two Kansas schools to participate in A+ Schools pilot program

The Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (KCAIC) and the Kansas Alliance for the Arts in Education (KSAAE) have announced that Hiawatha Elementary and Cheney High School have been selected to participate in the Kansas A+ School Pilot program for the 2015-2016 school year. A+ Schools will bring a multistate-research based whole school educational model to Kansas. The A+ model supports the development of creative schools and successfully uses the arts as a catalyst for learning. The KCAIC and KSAAE are working with Oklahoma A+ schools, a member of the A+ School National Consortium, in the development of the Kansas pilot project.

“The A+ school model has delivered excellent results for other schools in our region, and now is an ideal time to bring the project to Kansas,” said KCAIC Chairman Larry Meeker. “During the application process, we heard from many schools, teachers and parents that were excited about this opportunity. Hiawatha and Cheney had particularly strong applications, and will kick off this program to leverage the arts in all areas of education.”

The Kansas A+ pilot project will provide three days of professional development training in June at Emporia State University. Staff and teachers from both schools will attend the training to establish goals, learn about integrating the arts into their classes and teaching methods, and begin to build a creative environment for collaboration and student centered learning. Throughout the year, support and on-site resources will be available to teachers to help implement the A+ framework.

“I anticipate that the A+ process will create an educational environment where the kids are more excited about learning and academic achievement will improve,” said Dr. Penny Hargrove, superintendent of USD 415 - Hiawatha.

“The teachers at Cheney High School are currently a very cohesive group that collaborates on projects and works to ensure that the students see that what they are learning in one class can be transferred to several others, as well as the real world,” said Heather Potter, Spanish teacher at Cheney High School. “As a foreign language teacher, I can name several projects in the last month where I have combined the visual arts, acting and even the culinary arts in my classroom. I look forward to working with the A+ Program to best meet the needs of our current and future students.”

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