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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

GRFA Hosts Louisiana A+ School's First Annual Five-Day Summer Institute

Over 200 teachers from seven Louisiana schools learn arts-integration teaching method


(Pictures throughout, photos from the first two days of our training by our participants using the @AplusLA Twitter hashtag "#aplusla")

The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA) is excited to host the first annual Louisiana A+ Schools (LAA+) Summer Institute for the 2013/2014 school year. Under the direction of Oklahoma A+ Schools, LAA+ will give the first seven LAA+ Schools accepted into the network staff professional development in arts-integration June 24-28 in Baton Rouge at the LSU School of Music & Dramatic Arts. 

“I am so excited to see that these schools in Louisiana are willing to embrace the arts as a vehicle for transformation,” says Bethany France, Director of LAA+ Schools, “because Louisiana is so well known for arts and culture.”

Started in North Carolina in 1995, A + Schools is a research-based whole school network with a mission of nurturing creativity in every learner through an arts-integrated school network.  The network provides teachers with the essentials to think more creatively about how students can apply learning to the real world, and how they can present curricula to students in ways they learn best. 

Arts integration is achieved through continuous practitioner-led professional development, statewide support networks for teachers and administrators, and partnerships with parents, community resources, media and universities.  LAA+ is available to any Louisiana school (public, private charter, birth through 12) through an application process.  LAA+ will add 5-10 schools every year.  

WHO:  20 facilitators from Louisiana A+ Schools (LAA+), 35 facilitators from Oklahoma A+ Schools (OKA+) and over 200 teachers representing the following seven schools from across Louisiana:

1.  South Highlands Elementary Magnet, Shreveport, Public, Pre-K - 8
2.  Grace Episcopal School, Monroe, Private, Pre-K - 8
3.  Epiphany Day School, New Iberia, Private, PreK3 - 5
4.  The Dufrocq School, Baton Rouge, Public, PreK3 - 5
5.  Riverside Academy, Reserve, Private, PreK3 - 12
6.  Homer A. Plessy Community School, New Orleans, Charter, K - 2
7.  Martin Behrman Academy of Creative Arts and Sciences, New Orleans, Charter – Pre-K – 8

WHY: Extensive university research in A+ Schools reveals dramatic improvements including: 

o Elevated student achievement
o Better student and teacher attendance
o Decreased discipline problems
o Stronger parental and community involvement 
o A more creative and enjoyable educational environment

"We believe LAA+, the first whole-school, arts-integrated reform initiative of its kind for our state, has the potential to influence the way that all Louisiana students are taught." says Jacques Rodrigue, Executive Director of GRFA.

“I have seen what the arts have done to transform the seventy schools in our Oklahoma network,” says Jean Hendrickson, Director of OKA+ Schools, “and I am so excited to be here in Louisiana to share our success with the members of LAA+”

In addition to North Carolina, A + Schools has been successfully implemented in Oklahoma and Arkansas and currently has over 120 schools in the National A+ Schools Consortium Network. The program’s success in other states has prompted GRFA to team up with Oklahoma A+ Schools to bring A+ methods to Louisiana.  

For more information visit www.aplusla.org or contact the LAA+ Baton Rouge office located in the Shaw Center for the Arts at 225-388-5521 or bethany@georgerodriguefoundation.org. 

Louisiana A+ Schools is a program of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts.  

GRFA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization advocating the importance of the arts in the development of our youth through a variety of art educational programs.

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