Integrating the arts into content-area instruction can grow students’ creativity and agency and has been shown to enhance student engagement and academic performance. Beginning in 2022, twelve School District of Philadelphia schools will participate in an arts integration program called makeSPACE for Agency and Readiness, spanning the next few years. The makeSPACE intervention, designed and delivered by Creative Engagement Lab, will be used to train core content area 7th and 8th grade teachers to integrate art and performance into their lessons.
The intended outcomes of the makeSPACE intervention include enhancing 7th and 8th graders’ engagement and agency in order to strengthen their academic performance and facilitate their successful transition to high school. This project directly advances the School District of Philadelphia’s goals of providing enriching and well-rounded school experiences and boosting reading and math outcomes.
RFA will assess the impact and implementation of makeSPACE through a five-year mixed-methods evaluation. RFA’s impact study will involve a quasi-experimental study of student academic and high school readiness outcomes, while the implementation study will examine implementation fidelity and the contexts in which the intervention takes place. Additionally, the team from RFA will carry out research that helps to build knowledge related to arts integration-focused professional development in middle schools. The intervention and RFA’s evaluation and research will take place between 2022 and 2027 and is funded by the U.S. Department of Education via an early-phase Education, Innovation, and Research grant awarded to Children First PA.