Mississippi’s Whole Schools Initiative is “an arts integrated conceptual approach to education reform that redesigns the school learning environment to promote enhanced learning using the arts as the vehicle to support high quality education and instruction for all students” (p. 1). The research reported in this executive report examined the impact of the arts integration program on the academic performance of over 5,000 students who participated in the initiative. The study found that the for the students enrolled in the program, they significantly scored “Proficient or Above” on standardized tests compared to students who were not enrolled in the program. This report makes connections between the Whole Schools Initiative and students achieving the Common Core State Standards.
This executive summary for educators and administrators provides a compelling argument for integrating arts into the curriculum across subject areas. The argument is that engagement in the arts enhances brain development to create life long learners (in particular when it is incorporated in early childhood education and elementary school) and increases achievement for students in a range of academic disciplines, including ELA, math, and science. The executive summary is able to demonstrate an important link between the advantages of an integrated art education and the demands of the CCSS.