Inclusive Arts Program (2019)
Evaluation Report

Singers in action!

Mission: to provide a safe, after-school space for social and creative expression via singing, speech & literacy development, dancing, and acting to any student who may seek it.

This evaluative report assesses three years of service, 2017 – 2019 and is a helpful reference tool to improve efficacy for educators, administrators, parents, sponsors, and students.

Program Summary

The “Inclusive Arts Program” was created in 2017 with the expressed purpose of providing VCC students with extracurricular educational enrichment opportunities via performing arts. The first ensemble was an all-female vocal ensemble and was comprised of 40 students. In three years “Inclusive Arts” has grown to serve an extremely diverse (socio-economically, culturally, aptitude-based) group of 120 students across four grades, and is poised to add high school level programming in 2019-2020. VIAP aims to improve social confidence, lower behavioral incidence, and provide proficiency/mastery in music theory, vocal production, songwriting, repertoire selection, and performance-based skill development. 

Resources & Personnel
  • 2 Licensed Music Educators
  • 1 Teaching Assistant
  • 2 Choreographers
  • 1 Program Administrator
  • Choir risers, piano-keyboard, music scores, licensed music, public address speaker system
Student Artists
  • 120 participants
  • 32.5% Male
  • 65% Female
  • 2.5% Non-Binary / Other
  • 17% ELL / ESL
  • Grades 5 – 8 / Ages 10 – 13
  • 96 novice artists (no prior experience)
  • 24 intermediate artists (prior experience)
Partners & Stakeholders
  • Host Partner: VCC
  • Sponsors: Plaza Mariachi, CAST!, TN Arts Commission, Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Petcare Foundation
  • Administrative Partner: Littlestone Group

Evaluative Criteria & Measurable Metrics

Participation

  • Year-over-year retention = 75%
  • Recruiting average = +22 students / semester
  • Yearly contract renewed twice
  • 5 program sponsors

Assessments

Educator curated, standards-based formal assessments provided at the beginning and end of each semester, & concert assessment.

2019 Results

  • 84.2% mastery
  • 15.8% lack proficiency

Financial Accountability

I/E Summary*
  • Season 1

$6,000 / $8,200

  • Season 2

$9,600 / $9,200

  • Season 3

$11,700 / $11,000

*full report available via email

Feedback Surveys

Experiential and expectations-focused feedback surveys were administered virtually and received from student-artists, parents, educators, educational partners, and sponsors at the end of each academic calendar year.

Qualitative Feedback

All stakeholders were invited to freely submit qualitative feedback, including testimonials, recommendations, queries, and media depicting performances, rehearsals, and social events. 

Analytical Trends

  • Overwhelmingly positive parent feedback, including multiple qualitative responses indicating improvement in familial relationships and healthy self-expression.
  • Students expressed a desire for more autonomy via student-directed choreography and choice in performance repertoire.
  • Reduction in school-based behavioral interventions, though cumulative grade point average remains stagnant from Year 2 to Year 3.
  • Parents & Program Partners expressed a desire for a published calendar of events at the start of the semester.
  • Some sponsors indicated a desire to host “meet & greet” with families @ the school facility.
  • Male-student retention & recruitment is falling, while female & non-binary recruitment & retention is rising.
  • Formal assessment outcomes have improved drastically in “Season 3” as compared to Seasons 1 & 2.

Conclusions & Recommendations

VIAP is succeeding in key areas including: improving behavioral compliance, healthy self-expression, and personal self-confidence; however scheduling and program logistics continue to be the primary risks / challenges. Parent and partner feedback indicate a more streamlined & transparent approach to event planning would be helpful in scheduling room availability and equipment resources e.g. keyboard and speaker system. Based on the evaluative feedback, it is recommended to create a website or monthly newsletter that indicates upcoming events, expectations for attendance, and contains digital copies of all prerequisite paperwork. Social media may also be of use in developing a communication pipeline with parents and students.

Looking towards 2019-2020, it is recommended to provide an additional day of services to improve performance and knowledge-based outcomes, as well as prepare 7th & 8th graders for high school-level proficiency. A student-teacher or “apprentice teacher” may be helpful and could be recruited from Vanderbilt, Belmont, or Lipscomb; cost-effective, and helps to create a pipeline for future employees / professional development opportunities. Diversification of funding sources is highly recommended, as nearly all funding is derived from private individuals. Grant-based funding via TN Arts Commission, CFMT, UNUM Foundation, BlueCross/BlueShield, and First Tennessee are recommended as good sources from which to begin grant-stewardship.

Regarding data collection & analytics, in 2019-2020 it would be highly beneficial to begin collecting high school performance data so we can begin to measure the longitudinal success of our program-services as they impact drop-out vs. graduation rates, high school literacy, behavioral incidence & compliance, and college acceptance.

Lastly, a qualitative recommendation: many parents have expressed a desire to connect with their child via music, and it would be a fantastic opportunity to bring parents into rehearsal once-per-month to participate. This would increase arts access to entire households and perhaps they could all perform one song together at the year’s end final concert.