Milwaukee Public Schools Data Map for Comprehensive Arts Education
Arts @ Large, an innovative program that provides multidisciplinary arts experiences for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) K-12 students, has been a tireless advocate for providing equitable arts education for all students in Milwaukee. When most districts are further cutting arts education, MPS is working to provide a licensed art, music, or physical education specialist in all schools for the 2012/13 school year. In fact, this advocacy effort is one of the many reasons that Arts @ Large was named the winner of the 2012 Leadership Award for Arts Education at Americans for the Arts Annual Convention.
Arts @ Large works hand-in-hand with the district to strategically address gaps in arts education and leverage limited resources for students most in need. We can all agree that the arts are a vital component of all students’ academic, creative, and social development, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, learning or physical ability, or geographic location. But how do you know where arts education services are needed the most, and who is receiving arts education the least?
Promoting equity begins with transparency—when the school district, arts community, business and funding community, teachers and parents are able to see the level of service within each school, they can collaborate to raise the level of service for all schools. This is why Arts @ Large collaborated with Entech to create a new data tool that reveals arts education services provided by the district and offered by the arts community to students in each of the Milwaukee Public Schools. This tool is intended to be used to increase arts education equity across the district.
Arts @ Large understands that data, however unbiased, is not neutral. Therefore, they offer the following assumptions to help guide use of the data:
All students need a high-quality arts education.
School-based arts specialists are a consistent influence in students’ lives and are a critical component of a high-quality arts program.
Community arts organizations and artists offer diverse and specialized experiences that enrich and expand students’ authentic learning in and through the arts.
A comprehensive, high-quality arts education involves school-based arts specialists working in collaboration with community arts organizations and artists.
Arts @ Large’s hope is that over time, each MPS student will receive a comprehensive, high-quality arts education. They intend to use the map to raise awareness and guide growth in that direction. This transparency will help different stakeholders see:
MPS Administration: The level of service provided in each school (per site-based decision-making.
Principals, teachers, parents and other school community members: The level of service provided in their school compared to that in other MPS schools.
The arts community: The level of service provided among MPS schools to determine where they need to target their offerings.
The business community: The level of creative education experiences offered through the arts among MPS schools.
The funding community: The level of service provided among MPS schools to determine where they might target funding support.
The new mapping tool designed by Arts @ Large and turned into an interactive online tool by Entech, is housed on the Milwaukee Arts Education Directory. At the Arts Education Partnership 2011 Fall Forum, during a session on the use of mapping for tracking participation and attendance at cultural arts organizations, it was discovered that Arts @ Large, in partnership with Milwaukee Public Schools, and Ingenuity Incorporated, in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, are the only two districts in the nation introducing mapping projects.
Both mapping tools offer basic information about their schools, such as contact information, enrollment, and principal name. Both have detailed information about arts programming, such as number and types of certified arts instructors and the names and types of community arts partners. The Arts @ Large mapping tool also offers demographics for the school, including a racial breakdown and percentage of students that are eligible for free or reduced lunch.
One really fun feature of the Milwaukee map is the use of color coding to see at a glance the distribution of arts education.
As Milwaukee continues to prioritize shared delivery of arts instruction (by arts specialists, community arts partners, and general classroom teachers) AND continues to coordinate leadership supporting arts education among arts agencies, education agencies, parents, and businesses, more students will surely have access to arts education throughout their city.
|Organization Contact:||Kimberly Abler, Founder and Co-Director|