At East Aiken School of the Arts, we are helping all students develop the World Class Skills of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate by creating a safe, accommodating, stimulating, artistically and academically challenging child-centered learning environment for all students. We believe in educating the whole child and are dedicated to developing students of character who understand the importance of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. We believe through the arts, students learn life skills that enable them to become more creative and productive citizens. We believe the arts are an integral part of the academic curriculum and benefit students of all learning styles and abilities. We believe all students are entitled to a comprehensive and sequential arts education program. We believe all students should develop reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills to prepare them for meaningful work and lifelong learning. We believe all students should develop mathematical skills in reasoning, computation, financial literacy, computer literacy, and engineering design to prepare them for meaningful work and lifelong learning.
At East Aiken School of the Arts, we focus on data-driven instruction with an emphasis on the development of our students’ literacy skills, numeracy skills, and social emotional learning. By using ongoing formative assessments, teachers are able to identify students’ areas of strengths for enrichment and areas of deficits for targeted interventions. In 2nd-5th grades, Reading Inventory and Math Inventory are given three times per year. Results of these assessments are analyzed to determine student progress towards meeting grade level benchmarks as well as growth from fall to spring in reading and math. In kindergarten and 1st grade, FastBridge earlyReading and earlyMath assessments are given three times per year to determine student growth in reading and math. Additionally, these formative assessments and progress monitoring data are used to identify students in need of targeted intervention in reading and math. Action plans are progress monitored during grade-level PLC data meetings as well as during School Based Leadership Team meetings and Student Intervention Team meetings. Students identified as needing targeted Tier II and Tier III interventions beyond the classroom in reading or math are served by our team of interventionists. Students identified as high achieving and in need of acceleration in 1st-2nd grades participate in our High Flyers Program. This program focuses on critical thinking and problem-solving skills through collaboration and the design process. State and locally identified Gifted and Talented students in grades 3rd-5th are served in all subject areas. In the area of social emotional learning, we believe the development of social-emotional skills is essential to student growth and achievement. We utilize Focus 5: Actor’s Toolbox, Time to Teach, and Hacking School Discipline to develop our students’ social emotional skills. Through these approaches, students and teachers focus on becoming a team that can work together in a productive, fun way. Teachers focus on helping students develop and strengthen their brain muscle and skills required of a strong team. These skills include controlling one’s body, controlling one’s voice, using one’s imagination, concentrating, and cooperating. To do this, students participate in an active step-by-step approach that empowers students to take ownership of and be responsible for their own behavior while building the skills necessary to establish a sense of self-control, accountability, and team building in our classrooms. The activities are theater-based and support the use of the arts throughout the year.
Arts integration across all content areas and explicit direct direction are the foundation of our instructional delivery. We believe students learn soft skills that enable them to become more creative and productive citizens when engaged in the arts. We continued as an Arts in Basic Curriculum School and once again received the Distinguished Arts Program grant from the SC Department of Education. All students continue to receive weekly instruction in music, theatre, visual art, and dance. Due to COVID restrictions during the 2020-21 school year, opportunities for our students to work collaboratively and to develop their public speaking skills by performing in grade-level character assemblies and school-wide arts integration performances were limited. Community performances were limited to a virtual performance for the United Way. Students’ visual art and creative writings were displayed at the Aiken Center for the Arts during the month of December for public viewing.
At East Aiken School of the Arts, we are committed to our purpose to Accommodate differences, Reveal a passion for learning, Teach appreciation, and Stimulate creativity. Each day we “Strive for Academic Excellence through the Arts.” We are committed to the development of innovative, creative, and productive citizens with strong critical thinking and problem solving skills. We are proud of our strong history of arts integration and academic success. Thank you for your steadfast support as we continue to develop future South Carolina graduates and world leaders!