Life is about relationships. As I embarked on the journey of opening of a new school, I kept this at the front of everything we did. Establishing a positive school culture is about relationships. Relationships among staff, students and families.
Building collaborative relationships among staff was an essential component of my work this school year. If we were to be successful in implementing an arts integration philosophy, our staff had to be willing to work collaboratively. Collaborative professional development is an effective strategy to improve student achievement (Lieberman, 2009). Through my initial research a common theme is prevalent: teachers must avoid isolation and embrace collaboration. All too often teachers complete their education and enter the classroom only to close the door. We must remember that our learning does not end when we are handed our degrees. We must continue to collaborate with others.
Our new school was set to open with an arts integration philosophy. Our dream was to create a positive, faith-filled learning culture that will connect authentic learning with fine arts across the curriculum. We kept this vision as a focus for our professional development and collaborative conversations throughout the school year.