Just six years after opening, The Alberta School of Performing Arts has a national claim to its name. The school earned the Arts Schools Network 2021 Arts Integration Award.
This award is presented to a school that demonstrated leadership in bringing arts integration strategies into the curriculum. TASPA demonstrated an outstanding record of supporting such approaches as:
dedicating resources to bringing in outside professional teaching artists to complement the work of staff arts specialists, who team-teach with other core curriculum teachers across content areas;
supporting professional development on arts integration for teachers;
writing into school improvement plans, and commitments to implement arts-integrated curriculum across different grade levels.
Principal leadership is key and evidence of teacher buy-in and commitment is a requisite. Principal Amy Tilford said the structures put in place during the 2018-2019 school year put the school on the pathway to where it is now.
"We realigned our mission and our vision statements to ensure arts integration was a key strategy towards reaching our student achievement outcomes," said Tilford. "In addition to that, we embedded strategies toward the work of arts integration into our school improvement plan as it was a main focus (for us)."
Tilford will formally receive the honor at the national conference next month.
For school board members, the honor validates the decision to create a school of this kind.
"We were on the board shortly after the tornado hit," said Marvin Lucas, district six school board member, and board vice-chair. "We said we were going to rebuild this school bigger and better. And we did. To see all of that come together today, and now we win an award, I think that's exciting. "
The Alberta School of Performing Arts (TASPA) offers K-8 students a curriculum that places the visual and performing arts at the center of student learning. The school embraces a transdisciplinary model of education with a focus on developing creativity and critical thinking skills. At The Alberta School of Performing Arts, the arts serve as tools in constructing the academic, artistic, and social growth of students.
In addition to meeting the standards of the TCS curriculum, TASPA students in the primary grades K-3 receive regular exposure to a variety of art forms including dance, theatre, visual art, and music. Students attending TASPA in the intermediate grades 4 and 5 begin to focus on a particular art form as they expand their creative abilities. Middle school students in grades 6-8 experience a deep immersion in their fine arts specialties in addition to a rigorous, arts-infused core curriculum.