Bill Adkins: Art education boosts achievement, but needs administrator support to work

June 24, 2011

One of our very good art teachers at Moises Molina High School, William Adkins,  works with a group called Big  Thoughts.  Big Thoughts interviews teachers who work with the program about how arts education boosts student achievement in core areas, and how to leverage arts to improve the boost.  Adkins had some thoughts about how art really is a core part of education , and on the role of administrators in helping teachers:

You can view 74 videos from about 30 different people on the Big Thoughts menu at Vimeo.

Adkins’ students regularly win awards, often outperforming the many more students at our district’s arts magnets.  One of his students, Moses Ochieng, too the top prize at the state art meet this year for a brilliant sculpture he did.  Moses was my student in U.S. history, too — a great adventure, since he emigrated from Kenya just a few years ago, and he lacks the familiarity with so many American things that we, and the textbooks, and the state tests, take for granted that students know.  Ochieng’s art helped focus him on history.  It supplemented his studies so that he picked up two years of history work in just one year.


Some teachers had great summer experiences

August 6, 2010

One of our more adventurous teachers spent the summer on a Fulbright-Hays program in Senegal, in West Africa.

Lunch in Senegal, William Adkins photo

No, that's not William Adkins. That's his lunch one day in Senegal.

William Adkins’ African adventure blog is here.  Mine it for stuff you can use in economics, art, world history, world geography, or anything else.  He’ll probably give you free reign to use the photos for classroom presentations.

What did you do on your summer vacation?

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Molina High School jumps

June 2, 2009

We’re closing out the year at Molina High School, and it’s busier than a blogger wants it to be.  I’m way behind on blogging.  Among notable things I’ve not written about:

  • Students at Molina made dramatic gains in scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).  In fact, our kids jumped, from “academically unacceptable” to “recognized,” according to preliminary indications (Texas Education Agency (TEA) will post official results later in the summer).  In any case the gains should be enough to get the school off of Texas Academic Death Row.  Way to go, students.
  • We graduated the seniors last Saturday.  Nice bunch of kids, really.  Now we just have a couple of days of finals for the non-graduates left.
  • Dallas ISD is working to cut the funding for magnet schools and learning centers.  Remember this kid? They want to cut his school. Why?  Some wag thinks that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act requires that no school spend more per pupil than any other school.  These magnets and learning centers were created originally to aid in desegregating Dallas schools.  Nasty board meeting last week.
  • Dallas ISD is working to get rid of teachers with a rating system no one can explain.  My 90%+ passing rate for students on the TAKS doesn’t count for squat.  What does count?  I have to keep my door unlocked, among other things.  No kidding.
  • Dallas ISD needs money.  So the district officials propose to charge PTAs for use of school buildings.

Perhaps fortunately, the State Lege died yesterday, at least in regular session.  Alas, they didn’t get all the state programs funded.  Special session is likely.  No man’s life, liberty or property, etc.

You couldn’t make this up if you were trying to write a humor column.

More soon, I hope.

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