Author(s)

Nigel Sangster

Date Approved

11-28-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Coaxum III, James

Subject(s)

Performing arts high schools

Disciplines

Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration

Abstract

The broad topical area of my research study involved an investigation of the impact of the arts academy on the students of Cooper Ruth Performing and Fine Arts Middle-High School (pseudonym), using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Being a proponent of the arts, one of the premises of my research was to bring about a greater sense of awareness in my school and school district, that the arts were not "frills" in the educational processes of children (Perrin, 1994). Focus was given to various strands of the arts disciplines in my efforts to substantiate the significance of the overarching question of the research project. My methodological approaches revealed findings that supported the hypothesis. The data collection instruments comprised: survey questionnaire, student interviews, and observations to support the impact of the high school arts academy on the students it served. Triangulation was utilized in an attempt to produce a study that was valid, reliable, and free of biases. In the findings analysis, a plethora of data from the various sources suggested that there were educational benefits to students being instructed in an arts academy. Moreover, there were data which favorably suggested that participation in a high school arts academy can influence the attitudes of students relative to their academics and the arts. The findings also suggested that participation in an arts academy engaged students in the arts. The collected interview data also suggested that students have identified occasions in which the transference of concepts and applications of strategies were possible between the arts and academic disciplines. Research participants demonstrated that their confidence levels and self-discipline improved considerably and will continue to improve as they progressed through their artistic and academic endeavors. The research participants revealed that parental involvement was of great significance for their sustainability in the arts academy of Cooper Ruth Performing and Fine Arts School. There was the demonstration that student engagement has a powerful influence on their involvement in the arts academy. The high levels of student engagement provided the vehicle for theatre arts students, for example, to tap into their critical thinking skill sets. The findings were authenticated by extant literature that supported the arts academy.

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