Performing Arts Workshop Executive Director Tom DeCaigny and I recently presented in partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District at the Arts Education Partnership‘s forum in Cambridge, MA. The forum was titled: “Charting a Course for the Arts and 21st Century Learning” and took place October 2-3, 2009.

Our sessions focused on the role that the arts can play in district-wide school reform. Tom and I presented on the Workshop’s Project ARISE (Arts Residency Interventions in Special Education), and how that project has contributed to positive whole-school change, as well as individual student achievement. We were joined by co-presenters Francisca Sanchez, Associate Superintendent of Academics and Professional Development, and Antigone Trimis, Arts Education Master Plan Implementation Manager. It was a rare opportunity to introduce social change language into a dialog on school reform. Attendees represented arts organizations and school districts nationwide. Most participants expressed both their fatigue with school reform efforts in the past that seemed “more of the same”, and their enthusiasm for a new age of arts-based educational change. As we move forward, we need to keep the arts front and center in the educational debate on “21st Century Skills” in education. You can view our powerpoint here.