Building Empathy & Respect in the Classroom through Theater

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Arts Impact

Programs at a Glance

Arts Impact trains classroom teachers PreK-8 to teach the foundational concepts of the arts (dance, theater, and visual arts) and to integrate the arts with CCSS Math and English Language Arts. This

professional development includes teacher

participation in week-long summer institutes

and one-on-one mentorships with an

Artist Mentor in the classroom.

Options include: Arts and Math Infusion

Arts and Reading Infusion

Arts and Writing Infusion

Arts Foundations & Arts Infusion (cross-disciplinary)

Average cost per teacher: $1,700

Arts FUNdamentals is a K-5 drawing and design program. The scaffolded curriculum teaches the foundational elements of art and principles of powerful design, as well as the skills of close observation,

drafting, envisioning, reflecting, and revising that

are the cornerstones of the creative process.

Guided by an experienced Artist in Residence,

teachers and their students engage with a wide

range of media to practice 21st Century Skills and

learn how to express ideas visually.

Average cost per teacher: $1,500

Building Empathy & Respect in the Classroom through Theater allows student to explore ideas, choices, and consequences around relevant social issues in the classroom, curriculum, and community.

By stepping into someone else’s shoes, students

can develop empathy and create a better

understanding of different perspectives.

Exercises support Olweus and other anti-bullying,

social justice curricula.

Average cost per teacher: $800

EcoArts residency provides relevant learning for PreK-5 students to infuse visual arts and environmental science. Students learn about the Five R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Respect, and Responsibility) and make high

quality art projects using materials that would

otherwise be destined for the landfill.

Average cost per teacher: $850


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Our Mission

Arts Impact provides professional learning for teachers to build confidence and competence to integrate the arts into the everyday classroom experience, helping to ensure all children have access to quality arts education.

Our Vision

Arts Impact is committed to building key 21st Century Skills for both teachers and students that include creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking, all vital to closing the opportunity gap.

We believe including the arts in basic education teaches to the whole child, engages all learning modalities, and leads to the development of powerful learning habits.


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For additional information about Arts Impact:

Beverly Harding Buehler, Director


Arts Impact is a program of Puget Sound Educational Service District

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The process of planning, refining, teaching, and re-teaching a lesson got me to acutely think about what I want my students to learn and what evidence I will see to know that they learned it. This translates well into other disciplines, specifically Readers Workshop, where I have been focusing on sticking to one teaching point in each lesson.” Rory McAuley, Adams Elementary



Charlotte Danielson

Arts Impact








Planning and Preparation


Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy

  • Knowledge of content and the structure of the discipline

  • Knowledge of content-related pedagogy

  • Knowledge of pre-requisite relationships

1. Planning


States the enduring understanding


Writes developmentally appropriate learning targets


Identifies arts infused concepts

  • Identifies a big idea that transfers across examples

  • Identifies specific knowledge and/or skills related to Grade Level Expectations in WA State standards or Common Core State Standards

Teacher Improvement

Arts Impact Teachers Learn in and Through the Arts

Research shows that teacher effectiveness is the biggest factor in increasing student achievement. Arts Impact teachers consistently score high on several different measures of powerful teaching and learning both in and beyond the arts. 94% of teachers scored a 3 or 4 (Proficient or Innovative) on the Autonomy Rubric for Teachers (A.R.T.) in the 2010-2012 cohort. Arts Impact’s A.R.T. measures levels of teacher growth in planning, teaching, and assessing arts lessons. The A.R.T. aligns closely with the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching, the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model, and the 5 Dimensions of Teaching and Learning from the University of Washington.

Arts Impact Professional Development Improves Teaching

Researchers from The BERC Group observed Arts Impact teachers using the STAR Protocol, which measures traits of Powerful Teaching and Learning™. Teachers were evaluated on PLT components (Skills, Knowledge, Thinking, Application, Relationships) while teaching a non-arts lesson to assess the extent to which the skills learned in Arts Impact changed their teaching practice overall. Arts Impact teachers scored 20% higher than control teachers on all indicators of Powerful Teaching and Learning by the end of the project.

Student Achievement

Arts Infused Learning Closes the Opportunity Gap

The following results were obtained as part of a US DoEd research grant between Arts Impact and Seattle Public Schools titled, Arts Impact Dissemination and Expansion (AIDE). One of the main questions AIDE asks is whether and how arts-infused learning in reading and math can narrow the opportunity gap for children of color and poverty. When disaggregated by race, assessment data for the project's arts-infused lessons showed that the opportunity gap which has persisted for the past several decades between children of color and their white peers, essentially evaporated in Arts Impact's arts-infused lessons.

Arts Impact has proven that students who learn in and through the arts consistently achieve high on performance-based assessments, regardless of demographics.

Performance based assessments by ethnicity: Western Washington 2011-12

Arts Impact students transfer learning from the arts to other core curriculum areas.

In Arts Impact’s Math through Artistic Pathways research project (2009-12), middle school students who learned math through visual arts and dance-infused lessons showed a 31% increase in the WA State Measures of Student Progress in mathematics.


Spring 2010

Spring 2011

Spring 2012


% Meeting Standard


% Meeting Standard


% Meeting Standard















Standards-based Arts Infusion

Arts Impact Supports Common Core State Standards

All Arts Impact integrated curricula are aligned with

Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Arts Impact

embraces concept-based Understanding by Design™

a pedagogy that moves beyond information to thinking,

and beyond thinking about a subject to thinking about

one’s own thinking. This way of teaching aligns deeply

and authentically with CCSS.

The model of arts integration taught in Arts Impact is

arts-infusion, in which shared concepts – like story

sequence in literacy and dance, or equivalency in math

and visual arts – are taught simultaneously.

Most powerfully, CCSS and the arts share a focus on

developing specific habits of mind – creating, critical

thinking, risk-taking and perseverance – that our 21st century

learners need to succeed in school and beyond.


Arts-Infused Early Learning Strengthens Kindergarten Readiness

Arts Impact partners with the Early Learning Department at the PSESD to offer P-3 approaches in arts-infused learning. Arts Impact trains PreK-8 teachers in standards-based arts-infused math and literacy to create seamless trajectories of learning for all students. Arts Impact lessons are aligned with WA State Early Learning Guidelines through Grade 3, and embrace parents as the first teachers of young children with family engagement programs.

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