The Creative Learning Initiative (CLI) Annual Evaluation Report 2014–2015
Data presented in this report indicate positive outcomes associated with the Creative Learning Initiative for the Austin Independent School District. The CLI teachers reported that professional development activities had a positive impact on their capacity to implement creative teaching. Students’ attendance rates were higher when their teachers were more competent in implementing creative teaching. Community arts partners not only increased students’ access to arts opportunities, but also significantly correlated with students’ engagement. On average, CLI campuses were more able to build arts partnerships in each art form than were non-CLI campuses. CLI demonstrated a bright image across the district. Employees at both CLI and non-CLI campuses had positive attitudes toward the program. Students were more likely to meet the STAAR reading and math standards, and to meet the STAAR advanced reading and math standards when their teachers were more competent in implementing arts-based strategies. Any challenges associated with the CLI centered largely on management strategies associated with implementing the arts-based instruction. Some teachers reported frustration with their attempts to build connections between arts-based strategies and the curriculum when working with special populations. This is not surprising because arts-based instruction is a new instructional approach that integrates arts into the classroom for non-arts teachers. Time and commitment are needed to sustain the practice.