The West Allegheny School District supports the Fine and Performing Arts as integral within the scope of its curricular and extra-curricular programs from kindergarten through 12th grade. WA Arts faculty and staff strive to develop well-rounded students and creative thinkers in addition to nurturing the acquisition of knowledge and performance/production skills through its Media Arts, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts programs.
Content within arts education is formed by the knowledge, understanding, and skills drawn from Performance/Production, Arts History, Arts Criticism, and Aesthetic Appreciation as aligned with state and national standards. The arts curricula at WA consist of the interweaving of these four strands as further framed by engagement in the artistic processes of creating, presenting, responding, and connecting. In combination, these core aspects become paramount to a quality arts education in the 21st Century. All students benefit from arts education and that opportunities for arts education should be accessible and inclusive for every child.
Ongoing research continues to report the positive correlation between participation in the arts while in school to success in school, work and life. Arts education is both an individual process and a collaborative experience that provides an enduring understanding of concepts that transcends grade levels and enables responsible individuals to become lifelong learners, participants and informed supporters of the arts as well as contributing members of an increasingly diverse and global society. Arts education helps students make informed, conscious aesthetic judgments and decisions while enabling them to contribute to the continuing conversation about the nature and meaning of art in life.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills also recognizes the importance of the arts in education by defining the Arts as a “Core Subject.” Communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking are what define the Partnership’s “Learning and Innovation Skills.” A comprehensive arts education plays a unique role in these “four C’s” as a higher-order skill. Adaptability, self-direction, social skills, accountability, leadership, and responsibility are all life skills that are fostered through arts education.
Repeated practice and persistence are necessary to develop higher levels of skill, knowledge, and performance/production. In the process of learning how to do even one thing extremely well-----including those within the fine and performing arts----students learn how to learn.