Handbook Guide
 How to Begin | Assess Your Need | Search the Models

This handbook is divided into 7 chapters. Each chapter includes a section on Lessons Learned, Promising Practices and Useful Tools. The Your Turn section at the end of each chapter offers reflective questions to help you map your next steps. Print an entire chapter by using the printer icon in the upper right corner. Where you enter this resource depends on your own goals and circumstances.  (Visit Assess Your Need to help define your goals.) 

This quick guide will help you find your best entry point.

Inquire: How can systematic inquiry strengthen arts education professional development?
When the educators and other members of your learning community ask questions and seek to improve their practice, they have more investment in finding out the answers. When educators and administrators design professional development opportunities around such relevant questions, they encourage continuous improvement. Inquiry sits at the heart of the deeper arts learning communities, offering renewal.

Plan: How can developing a vision and a plan help improve teaching in or through the arts?
Planning offers an important opportunity to bring a learning community together to develop goals, objectives, and timelines and to challenge communities to commit to a long-term process to create change.

Rally: How can building collaborations with others in and out of schools strengthen teachers’ capacities to offer arts education?
For some communities, change depends on creating coalitions with diverse groups working together toward a common purpose. Some communities have a variety of stakeholders ready to support the school system. How can these resources of interested community members be optimized so that their involvement benefits teachers and students?

Deepen: How can arts education professional development be deepened to serve the unique needs of novice, specialist and generalist teachers?
With a plan in place and partners on board, you may seek strategies for deepening existing professional development to support your teachers. Perhaps you’re trying to combat arts specialist isolation. Or, you aim to connect specialists and generalists teaching the arts across schools, disciplines, and various levels of standards implementation.

Connect: How can high quality professional development translate theory into classroom practice in authentic, meaningful ways?
Professional development is only effective if teachers connect it back to their classroom. What strategies can be a part of your professional development plan to help teachers bridge the gap between theory and practice?

Transform: How can arts-based professional development be an integral part of education reform?
Arts education professional development can be a catalyst for education reform. It’s not just about helping teachers who teach the arts, but changing whole systems. If you have education administrators, stakeholders, and partners prepared to commit to a sustained effort, this may be your entry point.

Sustain: How can the professional growth of an arts education community be supported over time?
New challenges arise as a community evolves and expands.   How can the efforts be maintained over leadership, funding or policy shifts?  How can the members of the community continue to be invested beyond the initial waves of interest?