OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Arts Across the Curriculum
ZACH Theatre aims to create a unique theatre experience that ignites the imagination, lifts the spirit, and creates meaningful dialogue that engages our community. ZACH's season of professional theatre productions celebrates diversity and offers a wide array of cross-cultural educational and participatory activities including professional theatre classes and interactive plays for children.
ZACH Theatre's "Arts Across the Curriculum" is an arts integration and professional development program that trains elementary teachers in theatre techniques that actively engage students in language arts, math, science and social studies curriculum. This program will increase service from three Title 1 schools to 16 Title 1 schools, serving 1,500 low-income, at-risk students in 60 classrooms over two years. The goal of this program is to provide arts-rich education resulting in higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates.
The primary challenge in implementing the program was the competition for teacher time and mindshare. During the first semester of the program, educators’ priorities and scheduling requirements became better understood, and ZACH modified the program to more effectively meet teacher needs. While the planned 60 classrooms were engaged, the student count per classroom was less than anticipated for a total of 1,112 students. Twelve of the 16 originally targeted Title One elementary schools were served. The outcomes in classrooms served were very positive. All participating teachers reported that students receiving instruction improved in their understanding of the targeted curriculum, vocabulary retention and understanding and visualizing abstract concepts. Additionally, teachers extended their professional skills while incorporating arts-based strategies in their curriculum.
As schools witnessed the benefit of the program, ZACH was requested to return and extend the program, initially focused in one grade level, to additional grade levels. This success creates continuity and improved long-term outcomes for low-income students progressing through their elementary years as they benefit from arts- based learning in multiple grades.
One of the most important outcomes of the Impact Austin grant was the ability to fund an external, in-depth evaluation to validate that the program improves academic success. Preliminary data results confirm this and ZACH expects to be able to use the final results to secure additional program funding. The evaluation also revealed that the program was particularly helpful for the lowest performing students.
All of the schools served by the "Arts Across the Curriculum" program requested that ZACH return in the 2015-2016 school year.