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School Overview

Arts Infusion and Integration

The creative and performing arts are unique in their ability to provide a personalized education process that engages each and every student's – and teacher's – unique abilities, aptitudes, and aspirations. An arts-infused learning environment offers students, teachers and artists a protected space within our school for personal and collaborative inquiry, engaged learning, and abstract, creative and innovative thinking, and where emergent curriculum as well as relevant practice may take root to be nourished and to grow.

Arts integration is a unique teaching practice that weaves the visual, media, performing and literary arts into classroom instruction and assessment to engage students in their own learning. An integrated curriculum naturally links common content and skills between the arts and other content areas. Teachers and students approach complex concepts from multiple perspectives, infusing the classroom with creativity and experiential study that connects learning in diverse content areas through artistic processes. Students are given multiple opportunities to learn and multiple ways to demonstrate understanding. Inquiry-based teaching methods position students to practice higher-order and critical-thinking skills through the transfer of ideas and understanding across mediums and content areas. When students transfer ideas across modes of expression, they are better able to think abstractly and metaphorically. Reflection and critical response are embedded and ongoing in the learning process. Artwork is viewed as evidence of learning.

The arts provide the safety and space necessary to take risks and to express ideas, empowering students to merge their emotions with their exploration and inquiry. The arts invite personal connections to learning that help shape a shared sense of responsibility in the classroom. Using the arts and personal creativity to spark interest and inspire passion and self-expression, we can more closely connect how we teach with what we teach. This approach can and will have an authentic and positive impact on learning at the Baden Academy Charter School.

Classical Breadth and Rigor

Incorporated into this arts-infused learning environment will be a respect for the rigor and breadth exemplified by a classical approach to education – one which utilizes concepts from history, language arts, literature, science, mathematics, and social studies to nurture and broaden the intellectual capacity of students within a rich and integrated academic core. Using the best elements of the "Great Books" tradition, the Baden Academy Charter School will equip students with a high degree of cultural literacy using some of the world's greatest works of art as primary texts in the learning process. The emphasis and value placed on world-language learning informs the students' understanding of Western culture with a deeper knowledge of, and authentic appreciation for, the contributions and treasures of other world cultures.

Skills for a Lifetime

Baden Academy Charter School is dedicated to providing all students with the skills and experiences necessary for them to develop and begin realizing their personal goals and objectives, as well as to become active and contributing members of their communities. The school's emphasis on creative inquiry, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary collaboration will equip students with skills that will be crucial to successfully navigating our complex, challenging, and ever-changing world. Students will be provided a strong foundation to help to encourage sound ethical and moral decisions through a character-education program, while a comprehensive and highly personalized wellness initiative will help to shape healthy lifestyles from an early age. Baden Academy's engagement of core academic subjects in an arts-rich environment is designed to ignite each child's innate curiosity, and to instill a desire for learning that is life-long in its breadth and scope.

The Renaissance Curriculum

The Baden Academy Charter School utilizes a proprietary curriculum, the Renaissance Curriculum, which has been developed under the auspices of the Baden Academy Charter School Planning Committee and the National Network of Digital Schools, and meets the requirements of applicable federal and state laws and regulations, including Chapter 4 of Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code.

Continual review of the curriculum will involve continual review of any revised standards for curriculum and instruction per Chapter 4 of Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code. Continual review of the curriculum will involve continual review of any revised standards for curriculum and instruction per state law.

Pennsylvania Academic Standards

The Pennsylvania Academic Standards for grades K to 2 specify content, examples of what students will do (and what the teacher will do). The standards are generally consistent across grade levels and subject areas and compliant with the Pennsylvania Code. For example, there are nine explicit standards in the curricular area Reading, Writing, Speaking
and Listening. Examples include: Learning to Read Independently, Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Text, Types of Writing, etc. In addition to the core areas of language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies, there are standards for areas such as Arts and Humanities, Social-Interpersonal, and Family School-Community Partnerships.

As stated above, the Renaissance Curriculum complies with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards required by applicable state regulations and builds upon those requirements, designates what students should know (concepts) and be able to do (competencies), includes a list of instructional strategies from the Pennsylvania Department of Education as well as other resources, and adds an Assessment Strategies component.

Infusing and Integrating the Arts

Arts infusion and integration is an educational field that specializes in relationships among people, ideas, curricula, places, themes and areas of study, with an emphasis on arts learning at the center of these relationships. It is an intentional process to merge learning in the arts with learning in other content areas.

Numerous academic, peer-reviewed articles, books, professional organizations and online sources were used to identify suggestions for ways to teach using all art forms. Arts-infused schools, curricula and programs in other parts of the country were researched. The current framework contains a database of arts-based instructional and assessment strategies to get faculty started. The database will continue to grow as teachers develop their capacity as integrators.

Because the arts are naturally woven into the learning objectives and curriculum of all content areas at Baden Academy, the Pennsylvania standards for the Arts and Humanities will be met through instructional and assessment strategies that engage artistic processes in each of the core content areas. For example, all coursework, when appropriate, will provide students with opportunities to produce, perform and exhibit artistic, musical, literary, dramatic or choreographed works. Through production and performance, students will engage the vocabulary, elements and principles of the art form. Through inquiry, students and teachers will dialogue about the historical, cultural and social relationships between the art works and their interdisciplinary counterparts. Critical and aesthetic responses to art exhibitions and performances will result from critical processes such as comparing and contrasting, analysis, interpretation, hypothesis generation, production or performance evaluation, reflection and emotive responses.