Continuous Improvement Planning Can Strengthen Your Arts Program

By Kathy Humphrey

Positioning arts improvement planning within the Michigan Integrated Continuous Improvement Process (MICIP) is a vital action schools and districts can take to sustain and expand arts education and ensure a well-rounded education for all students.

MAEIA’s Program Review Tool (PRT) can provide a robust analysis of an arts education program and become the basis for enhancing the arts program in the context of continuous improvement. Using the PRT, schools and districts can reflect on the status of their arts education programs and identify strengths and areas for improvement.

To support you in using the Program Review Tool as part of the MICIP process, we’ve created two new resources:

  1. MAEIA Strategy Guide which shows the criteria described within the Michigan Blueprint of a Quality Arts Program as well as the corresponding Resources and Recommendations.
  2. Planning Tool that shows detailed steps to implement the PRT, nested with the MICIP cycle of assess/plan, implement, monitor, and evaluate.

Both resources are available on the MAEIA website and in the Michigan Strategy Bank.

We recently caught up with Amy Pobanz, MAEIA Fellow and arts educator, to ask about her experiences using the Program Review Tool and connections to continuous improvement planning in Bangor Township Schools.

How did you first hear about the Arts Education Program Review Tool (PRT), and when did you first get involved with using t?

I learned about the PRT tool at a professional development opportunity offered through the MAEIA project. Our district participated in the pilot program for the PRT.

How did your school(s)/district go through the process of using the PRT?

K-12 Arts Educators in Bangor Township Schools met as an arts content team to complete the PRT tool for each building in our district to obtain a comprehensive assessment of the quality of arts programming within our district. 

What key information emerged in your Program Review Tool results?

The PRT tool identified areas in which the district could strengthen their arts education programming. Areas of focus included: expanding curricular opportunities in the arts (specifically dance, theatre, and visual arts) and enhancing partnerships with community organizations.

In what ways, if any, did you communicate with stakeholders in your school(s)/district (art colleagues, principals, central office, etc.) regarding the PRT results?

The arts content team shared the PRT data and key findings with building leaders, the district administrative team, and the superintendent.

What changes, if any, did your school/district make regarding the arts program?

The district made a commitment to include the arts on the district improvement plan. The district also committed to including an arts educator on the curriculum leader team, the school improvement teams, and the district improvement team. The school district also created a visual arts position at the elementary level to provide arts education K-5.

What were the benefits of using the PRT to your school/district?

As we strive to improve our art programing and reach the gold standard as outlined in the Michigan Blueprint, the reflective questions and data generated by use of the PRT tool continues to drive continuous improvement in the arts within our district.  The PRT tool helps our district to identify specific areas for improvement and offers suggestions regarding how to improve those areas. The PRT tool also assists the arts team in prioritizing improvement areas and establishing improvement goals.

In what ways, if any, is your school/district continuing to use the PRT?

Our district in currently in the process of completing the PRT tool again. We’re working on establishing a cycle of review using the PRT tool to continue to work on developing and strengthening our arts education programing.  We’re looking forward to reviewing our results and establishing new goals for the arts in our district.

 Learn More

Check out our new video module about the Program Review Tool and connections to continuous improvement planning. Need help? Want to know more? Contact Kathy Humphrey, MAEIA PRT coordinator.



Click here for a Printer friendly version of this article.

Leave a Reply