Phoenix, AZ – June 1, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — Learning is the outcome of education. Public schools nationwide face several challenges in the current economy. Despite such challenges, the expectations of learning have not lessened; indeed, they are heightened by a global demand for literacy in not only the 3r’s but also the absolute necessity for enhanced competencies in math, science and technology.
In the State of Arizona, the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE) Research and Evaluation division conducts research on pertinent issues for the ADE, performs program evaluations for various divisions with the ADE, and completes all state and federal deliverables for the ADE accountability system to foster ongoing working relationships within ADE as well as the community at large, providing empirical and qualitative research that is reliable and valid fostering community understanding of the relevance of research and evaluation.
The annual Arizona Learns school ratings from the Arizona Department of Education were recently released and T. Dale Hancock Elementary received the highest rating of “Excelling” and grade of “A”. Students at Hancock demonstrated an excellent level of performance and growth.
What is responsible for such excellence? Connie Hull, Principal of T. Dale Hancock Elementary School, Chandler, Arizona, exercises continued stewardship over her school in a myriad of ongoing strategies that have distinguished her students, the faculty and the community within the eight years of her administration. Informed by deep respect and concern for her students and faculty and ongoing relationships with the school’s parent community (PTO), Connie consistently taps resources to complement ongoing learning outcomes.
Parents are very involved, and a clear example can be seen in the school’s logo:
This was developed for the school by artist, Bruce Marion and partner/wife, Lee Wright, parents of a T. Dale Hancock Elementary School student.
The voluntary art project was only one example of the contribution from Marion and Wright. One of Connie’s consistent strategies is annual application to the Arizona Commission on the Arts to secure school arts experience grants such as the 2011 residency in which Bruce and Lee collaborated with Connie, Music Teacher, Curt Landon and the school’s faculty and staff to provide all third graders an intensive experience.
Prior to the residency, the entire student body was introduced to Bruce and Lee in a series of introductory art classes through which the students had the unusual opportunity to actually participate in “underpainting” an actual commissioned work for Sam Houston State University. It was theory and practice, doing, seeing and listening that became the language of experience which heightened student awareness, curiosity, interest and accomplishment.
In context, the school’s Multi Purpose Room doubled for the artists’ work area. The stage over the Multi Purpose Room provided sanctuary for special sessions and the adjacent Music Room became the space for deciding what actual works of music would stimulate imagery and colors to infuse the works of art students would create.
In reflecting on the collaboration with Bruce and Lee, Music Teacher, Curt Landon comments:
“This residency provided a unique opportunity for the students of Hancock to experience and manipulate the fusion of music and abstract visual art. Bruce, Lee, and I worked together to explore styles of music, choose music, plan lessons, and facilitate the design of the paintings. Bruce and Lee worked tirelessly during sessions with students on multiple projects at once to maintain students’ interests. They also worked long hours to be sure their experience with their students was exceptional. The final “unveiling” of the paintings was presented with the music and was very well received by the community.
Parents, community members, and a city council member were present to witness the experience. The paintings are on permanent display throughout the school. Through the matching grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, extra-curricular tax-credit donations from Hancock community members, and the skills and talents of Bruce and Lee Marion, this residency turned out to be one of our most successful and our students will remember it for years to come.”
What happened? Students made choices; expressed ideas about shapes, colors, themes; developed works in tandem; worked as a team; developed self confidence; actually were part of the growth and evolution of what became finished works of art, which, when complete, had parents so excited the PTO actually collected funds to provide plastic coverings which would protect the collection of students paintings which became permanent installations throughout the school’s campus.
With Curt Landon’s musical assistance, students entertained imagery and colors suggested by works ranging from Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite to Bobby McFerrin’s Circlesong 7 and other composers whose work can be referenced on: http://www.mychandlerschools.org/Page/16021.
What is absolutely amazing is the life that has been born from the T. Dale Hancock Elementary School project. The school actually has a permanent art collection of student work, major installations in each building of the campus; the PTO has raised funds to purchase plastic protective coverings for each piece of art; art tours of the school are available upon appointment request; Bruce Marion has donated original work for the school’s lobby; students and parents are proud of their accomplishments and actually would like to “own” art; faculty and administration continue to experience the benefits of collaboration.