Teaching teachers: Clear Spring School teacher receives arts integration fellowship

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Clear Spring School teacher Samantha

Hutchison knows how important it is to integrate

the arts into all disciplines.

That’s why she was so ecstatic when

she received the Arkansas A+ Schools

fellowship to do just that, Hutchison said.

According to an email from the program

director of Arkansas A+ Schools, Hutchison

is the only teacher in Carroll County to

receive that honor. The idea behind the fellowship,

the email says, is to engage school

communities in transformative experiences

that deepen the understanding of the

commitments required to sustain longterm


“It’s an opportunity for me to learn how

to teach teachers within the state how to integrate

the arts with math, science, history

and literature,” Hutchison said. “Currently,

I’m being trained for that. Eventually, I’ll

be leading workshops at their summer institute.”

At the summer institute, Hutchison said,

teachers from across the state are brought

in for workshops describing how to teach

all subjects through the arts. Hutchison

will be the one teaching these workshops,

she said. Arkansas A+ Schools serves 15

schools in the state, with several located in

the Delta region.

“I’m learning a lot of really great things

with curriculum design,” Hutchison said.

Everything she’s learned so far, Hutchison

said, has helped her in her own classroom

at Clear Spring School. She described

her background in theater, saying the fellowship

has allowed her to revisit teaching

techniques she learned years ago like using

tableau to teach literature or using puppets

to teach texts.

“It applies really well to our school

structure,” Hutchison said, pointing out

Clear Spring’s goal to promote a lifelong

love of learning through hands-on and

hearts-engaged teaching. “It makes class

time more engaging. It gives the students

a deeper understanding of the content and

their test scores

have substantially

increased with

an arts-integrated


She continued,

“The kids

respond really

well to it. It supports

the data

we’ve known for

a long time that the

arts do enhance and nurture learning.”

To be part of the program, Hutchison

said, schools must have total buy-in from

the administration and staff.

“Everybody has to be on board to do it,”

she said.

The best part of training, Hutchison said,

has been seeing how the arts can be used to

teach anything.

“I really appreciate the interdisciplinary

approach they do, because I have a hard

time saying that history doesn’t have anything

to do with math and math doesn’t

have anything to do with English,” Hutchison

said. “They’re all integrated. They all

have intersections where they connect. You

can get to any subject through other subjects.”

Being involved with the program has

helped her meet other teachers who share

her outlook on teaching, Hutchison said.

“I love it. It’s really fun, and it’s really

great to be surrounded by people who have

the same ideals and philosophies on education

as I do,” Hutchison said. “It’s really

refreshing to spend time with like-minded

individuals and hear what they’re doing

and know there are people out there who

feel the way I do, and they’re working in

our school systems.”

She added, “It’s validating and comforting,

and it’s an honor to teach other


For more information on Arkansas

A+ Schools, visit http://www.arkansasaplus.


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