USDOE $2.78 Million Grant to Benefit Students at Mableton, Dowell Elementary Schools

A teacher helps a student in art class

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded ArtsNOW a $2.78 million Assistance for Arts Education (AAE) grant for its project, “STEM + the Art of Integrated Learning (SAIL).” The Cobb County School District is one of the select partners whose schools will benefit from the art integration project.

The grant will support programs for 3rd-5th grade students at Mableton Elementary School and Dowell Elementary School that will focus on supporting math, science, and fine arts standards through arts integrative teaching and learning strategies. Teachers will also undergo training in performance-based practices that engage both teachers and students in a deeper and more rigorous understanding and application of content. Before winning a spot in the ArtsNOW project, both Cobb schools were actively involved in STEAM-based professional development with the district. The grant will help the schools better support the specialized practices needed to add the “A” in STEAM.

“We’re excited to involve more students in the integrative learning process, which encourages a life-long love of learning. The arts allow for a deeper experience of life and help develop new skills used beyond the four walls of the classroom,” said Laura LaQuaglia, Supervisor, Learning Design and Visual Arts. 

The AAE program promotes arts education for students and teachers through activities such as professional learning, development, and dissemination of accessible instructional materials and arts-based programming, and community and national outreach activities that strengthen and expand partnerships among schools, local educational agencies, communities, and arts centers. 

The focus of this project is to develop and test the use of a set of arts-integrated lessons that are: aligned with the 3rd through 5th-grade content standards for math and science, supported by standards in the arts, and incorporate inquiry-based activities to support the development of students’ critical thinking skills. SAIL will also explore ways in which arts-based programming can be used to build students’ social-emotional competencies. Overall, SAIL will include the development of eighteen inquiry-based math and science units supported by 124 hours of professional development over three years and will benefit six elementary schools with over 2,200 students and 114 teachers in Georgia. 

“Integrative learning permits students the opportunities to showcase their knowledge and understanding in differentiated ways…not just one size fits all. All students want to show what they know, and this model of instruction allows this to happen,” added Dr. Joseph Woodruff, Supervisor for General and Choral Music/Theatre/Dance.