Arts and Innovation for School Transformation and Healing

By Artist, Educator, Administrator Collette Alleyne


Adopt a School- Say yes to the call!

Inner-City Arts, after 30 years of service to schools and communities, is leaning into the future of arts and innovation as a tool for transformation and healing/well-being.

Over the past 15 months, our community has lived in a perpetual state of uncertainty and loss. By definition, trauma is a “deeply distressing or disturbing experience” that has been known to impair or delay learning. When children have experienced trauma, healthy relationships and safe communities can contribute to successful responses and positive outcomes.

This year at Inner-City Arts, we have fully implemented Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in our online classes for students and have developed an external partnership with mental health specialists to consult on our program design. When school communities have the tools and skills fostered through SEL, the climate is healthier for everyone involved. SEL within the arts can mitigate the effects of adversity and trauma leading to post-traumatic growth.

The arts and innovation for students and teachers can cultivate a learning environment that’s safe and equitable, allowing individuals to see each other more holistically.

Inner-City Arts proposes adopting a school community with approximately 1000 students ( average 22 classes per school + teachers).

The minimum term of the project is 2 years with a total commitment to all aspects of arts and innovation classes aligned with SEL Competencies and 21st-Century Skills as outlined:

  • Students art classes for all grade levels offered 1- time per week for two years
  • Teacher participation as co-creators in all art classes for two years
  • Monthly Teacher/Educator professional development offerings- 2 scheduled/customized whole school workshops per semester with additional drop-in workshops for two years- focused on utilizing the arts and SEL to support trauma-informed instruction
  • 4 parent workshops per school year for 2 years- supporting cognitive development through the arts
  • Culminating art shares at the end of each term
  • All stakeholders would participate in various formats of collecting feedback in order to assess the success of the program

All art-making and workshops would focus on SEL for students and adults, social justice and equity, well-being, and mental health (external support) intended to address trauma responses initiated from the isolation of Covid (and pre-Covid).

Real-life work connections will be embedded for all student experiences to promote work-based learning, increase relevance, and encourage creativity and innovation for future possibilities.

Expected Impact

Students who participate in the arts and creative practices and experience artwork develop neural pathways to support positive behavior changes. The benefits of the arts happen at any age, including addressing trauma. The transferrable skills acquired in art education enhance skills and knowledge that can inform students’ academic performance. Growing research is highlighting the effect of social and emotional learning on student success, resulting in an increased ability to stay on task, set and achieve goals (short and long term), increase empathy towards others, build and maintain positive relationships, make responsible decisions, and understand and process their emotions. With those skills and awareness, there’s a higher possibility of achieving success because students see life differently. The arts foster communication, collaboration, critical thinking skills, creativity, and problem-solving, all of which influence how we learn and what we learn.

Expected outcomes for the school and community:

  • Increased ability to self-regulate and manage emotions
    Healthy community connections
  • Self-efficacy (believing in one’s ability to effect change)
  • Resilience
  • Safe and effective communication for students and adults
    Maximized student engagement and attendance
  • Improved individual self-regulation of emotional responses
    Increased empathy
  • Improved positive peer-to-peer and student-to-instructor interactions

Adopt & Adapt

he school and inner-City Arts would pursue funding to implement the program. Funding will allow for staffing and all resources needed for execution. Program coordinators would support all planning and logistics. Buy-in would happen through school community meetings with administrators, parent groups, mental health experts, credentialed teaching staff/administrators, and professional teaching artists at Inner-City Arts. The whole school community would be provided with research supporting the positive effects of the arts as a tool for transformation and healing. The total estimated cost of service, not including transportation to the Inner-City Arts campus is $285,000 for two years of service as outlined above.

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments