Arts and the Iowa Core
Minutes of the December 2012 Fine Arts Meeting
Fine Arts and the Iowa Core: February 2012
“This proposal also would work to expand the Iowa Core into other areas that have been neglected for too long, such as music and other fine arts, foreign languages, entrepreneurial education, physical education, applied arts, and character education. “
This statement from the Brandstad-Reynolds “Administrative Recommendations for World-Class Schools” is the culmination of several years of dedicated work by many fine arts educators from the state of Iowa. The following article will give a brief history of the fine arts involvement of the Iowa Core process.
The involvement of the Fine Arts in the Iowa Core can be traced back to a meeting in May of 2007 between Judy Jeffrey, director of the Iowa Department of Education, and members of Iowa Alliance for Education Executive Board. This meeting was facilitated by Rosanne Malek, Fine Arts Consultant for the Iowa Department of Education, who has been the guiding influence through the entire Iowa Core process. With information gathered at this meeting, a fine arts team of both music and visual art teachers was assembled to write sample units of instruction, incorporating the essential skills and concepts of the Iowa Core in the fine arts classroom. Instructors teaching one of the sample units were eventually filmed and video samples of this instruction are currently being used in Iowa Core professional development classes across the state of Iowa.
Follow-up meetings were held in Des Moines with fine arts leaders and the Iowa Core leadership from the Iowa Department of Education in November of 2008 and October of 2009. At this second meeting, the fine arts teams were given the permission to align their essential skills and concepts under the broad categories of the Universal Constructs. These constructs are Critical Thinking, Complex Communication, Creativity, Collaboration, Flexibility & Adaptability, and Productivity & Accountability. The Universal Constructs were identified following an analysis of the competencies and habits of mind necessary for future success. These constructs can be applied in all curricular areas.
In November of 2009, the leadership of the state music organizations met at the IMEA Conference to decide how the music portion of the fine arts writing would be divided among the various professional organizations. The chairs of the writing teams would be in charge of organizing their individual teams and submitting their work to Rosanne Malek, coordinator of the entire process. The chairs of each writing team are General Music- Linda Murphy, North Fayette Community Schools, Vocal Music- Roger Henderson, Grinnell Community Schools, Instrumental Music-Elizabeth Fritz, Decorah Community Schools, Visual Art-Maggie Parks, Marshalltown Community Schools, and Theater/Drama-Greta Berghammer, University of Northern Iowa.
The teams began by aligning verbs from the Iowa Core Essential Skills and Concepts and the National Standards for Music, Drama and Art with the Universal Constructs. As the work continued, it became very clear that the musical skills that are being taught and developed in Iowa schools align very clearly under these overarching constructs.
In April of 2010, the fine arts writing teams met with Rosanne Malek at the Department of Education to share their documents and decide on the next course of action. At that meeting, discussion was held concerning the need to come to consensus on the fine arts essential skills under the broad headings of the Universal Constructs, and the need for discipline-specific alignment of these skills. The teams met again in October of 2010 to come to a consensus skill alignment. The individual teams worked through the school year to complete the document for their assigned subject area. The draft documents were submitted to the Department of Education in June of 2011.
The final work of these committees will be posted on the “Arts Education K-12” section of the Iowa Department of Education website, (educateiowa.gov) as they are received.
Another outcome of the meeting with Iowa Core leadership was the assignment of Elaine Fargo, Rosanne Malek, and Leon Kuehner to the Iowa Core Professional Development Team. As a result of this action, units of instruction were written using fine arts examples to demonstrate various “Characteristics of Effective Instruction.” These units are completed and are available for use for professional learning communities and teacher in-service teams across Iowa.
In December of 2011, the fine arts leadership of the state met with Department of Education Director Jason Glass, to inform him of the structure of the fine arts professional organizations in our state, and update him on the work of the fine arts teams in conjunction with the Iowa Core. Upon hearing of the work that had already been completed, he endorsed the concept of the inclusion of the Fine Arts into the Iowa Core. Progress on this work will be determined by the state legislature and the State Board of Education.
It is so important that we realize the incredible work that has been done by scores of fine arts teachers across the state. Their commitment to the future of arts education will benefit out students for years to come.
Iowa Core and the Arts: An Update
Leon Kuehner, IAAE Board Member
On October 7, 2009, a meeting was held at the Grimes State Office Building in Des Moines with Kevin Fangman, head of K-12 Public Instruction and Rita Martens, Iowa Core Consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. The meeting was facilitated by Rosanne Malek, Fine Arts Consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. Leaders of all the Iowa professional fine arts organizations as well as college/university teachers were in attendance. This was a follow-up of a similar meeting, which was held in November of 2008, to update Iowa arts educators on the place of the arts in the Iowa Core Curriculum.
After much discussion, it was decided that the fine arts organizations will begin the process of identifying essential skills and concepts in the arts in relation to 21st Century skills and the Universal Constructs of Critical Thinking, Effective Communication, Creativity, Collaboration, Flexibility-Adaptability, and Productivity/Accountability. Each of the professional arts organizations in the state will choose a team who will identify these essential skills and concepts for their particular area (vocal, instrumental, general music, art). The timeline for completion of the state organization input is April 2010. Once that process is completed, representatives from each team and additional statewide stakeholders will meet to compile a document of fine arts essential skills and concepts to be used as a guide for Iowa Core Curriculum implementation in our state. The final acceptance will be determined through a vetting process that includes the Director of the Iowa Department of Education and Iowa Core leadership.
The fine arts are currently represented on the ICC Unit Writing and ICC Professional Development Teams. This collaboration is the result of the commitment of the Iowa Department of Education to the Fine Arts and many dedicated Iowa arts educators to the students of our state.