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Oklahoma Arts Council, Americans for the Arts State Policy Pilot Program (SP3)

State Policy Pilot Program (SP3)

Strengthening Arts Education Policy in Oklahoma

In 2014, Oklahoma was one of 10 states selected to participate in Americans for the Arts' State Policy Pilot Program (SP3), a three-year initiative aimed at strengthening arts education through public policy. With funding and technical assistance provided by Americans for the Arts (AFTA), each state team would be empowered to create an individualized plan that would serve the unique needs of students and schools in their state. As the lead applicant for Oklahoma in the initiative, the Oklahoma Arts Council guided a diverse task force of arts education professionals representing communities across the state. Task force members included district administrators, current educators, representatives from higher education, directors of education-related nonprofits, and others who held active roles in shaping the educational environment of our state.

Defining Priorities

Over the course of its first three meetings, Oklahoma's SP3 Task Force worked to define what it considered the necessary support mechanisms for strengthening arts education in Oklahoma. A set of three main priorities were identified: 1) supporting quality instructors and content; 2) ensuring access to the arts for all students; and, 3) framing the message that the arts are essential.

Gathering Data

Task force members also recognized a need for up-to-date data that could assist in identifying gaps and strengths in the field. Two studies were comissioned to gather data: 1) a study of five Oklahoma schools providing high quality arts education, and 2) a review of published literature on arts education research.

Conducting Case Studies

Arts Education in Oklahoma Public Schools: Case Studies of Five Schools

Based on its list of priorities, the Oklahoma SP3 Task Force identified five schools that were providing high quality arts education. The schools would serve as case studies to provide a snapshot of how each is implementing its programs and to supply a model from which other schools and districts can potentially build. The results of the studies will provide policymakers with strategies for designing and replicating arts education programs throughout the state.

Reviewing Arts Education Research

Arts Education in Oklahoma: A Literature Review

To further inform the work of the task force, the Oklahoma Arts Council engaged Resources for Learning, LLC. (RFL), an organization that specializes in the development, implementation, and evaluation of standards-based educational reforms, to examine available research evidence related to the impact of arts education on student outcomes. RFL researchers conducted a search of the past 30 years of published research on the topic and identified a total of 32 studies to incorporate in a literature review. An initial set of 20 arts education articles were identified using “best evidence synthesis” methodology to assure that they met stringent criteria and could be considered the most trustworthy evidence possible of whether a causal link can be made between arts education and student outcomes. A separate set of 12 articles was then identified by researchers as most relevant to demonstrating a correlation between arts instruction and student achievement.

SP3 Task Force

Members of the SP3 Task Force were selected to represent a variety of perspectives on arts education. Members represented diverse organizations, arts disciplines, and geographical areas within the state. The group was comprised of practicing educators, district administrators, leaders of statewide networks, nonprofit professionals and more. During meetings, the SP3 Task Force identified and honed priorities for research in arts education, and it strengthened relationships across the arts education field. Members included:

Anita Arnold
Executive Director
Black Liberated Arts Center, Inc.
Oklahoma City

Julie Baird
Executive Director
Leonardo's Children’s Museum

Lemuel Bardeguez
Acting V.P., Community Development
Oklahoma City Community College
Oklahoma City

Brad Benson
Fine Arts Director
Norman Public Schools

Gracie Branch
Associate Executive Director
Cooperative Council of Oklahoma School Administrators
Oklahoma City

Tyler Bridges
Assistant Superintendent
Clinton Public School District

Isolete De Almeida
Chair, former
Oklahoma Art Education Association

Nancy Fields
Education Coordinator, former
American Indian Cultural Center and Museum
Oklahoma City

Miranda Gilbert
Liaison, Department of Tourism
City of Guymon

Shan Glandon
Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education

Liz Guerrero-Lee
Director, Community Outreach
Metro Technology Centers
Oklahoma City

Glen Henry
Director, Arts in Education (retired)
Oklahoma State Department of Education
Oklahoma City

E.K. Jeong
Assistant Professor
Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Sandra Kent
Executive Director
Oklahoma A+ Schools

Tonya Kilburn
Prairie Dance Theatre
Oklahoma City

Amber Litwack
Any Given Child Director
Tulsa Arts and Humanities Council

Susan McCalmont
Creative Oklahoma
Oklahoma City

Rebecca McLaughlin
Director, Arts in Education
Oklahoma State Department of Education
Oklahoma City

Henry Moy
Quintus H. Herron Director
Museum of the Red River

Dwight Pickering
Director of American Indian Education
Oklahoma State Department of Education
Oklahoma City

Debra Stuart
Director, Educational Partnerships
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
Oklahoma City

Rhonda Taylor
Fine Arts Director
Oklahoma City Public School District
Oklahoma City

Anita Thompson
Director, Sequoyah Institute
Northeastern State University

Ann Tomlins
Fine Arts Director
Tulsa Public Schools

Dwe Williams
Roster Artist
Oklahoma Arts Council, Teaching Artist Roster
Oklahoma City


Next Steps

Efforts related to the SP3 initiative in Oklahoma will continue as plans are developed for sharing information from the task force's studies with leaders in the field and others.

For updates on the work of Oklahoma's SP3 Task Force, sign up for the Oklahoma Arts Council newsletter.

For more information, please contact our Arts Education Director.