Staffing Fine Arts Programs
Fine Arts Supervisors
Fine arts supervisors and consultants, trained and experienced in the fine arts and fine arts education, are valuable instructional resources for central office administrators, principals, teachers, and the community. Supervisors are a district’s organizing and motivating force for coherent, conceptually based fine arts programs. They coordinate rigorous and stimulating programs to ensure that all students learn the Fine Arts TEKS. The primary responsibilities of fine arts supervisors and consultants include:
- Defining the components of effective, comprehensive fine arts programs
- Providing ongoing leadership in planning, implementing, and evaluating quality K-12 programs
- Organizing professional development opportunities for fine arts teachers and specialists
- Serving as advocates for quality fine arts instruction (e.g., ensuring that adequate time is allotted for instruction; suggesting quality resources to support instruction in the TEKS; communicating what does and does not make a good fine arts education)
- Encouraging balanced programs that encompass the standards outlines in the Fine Arts TEKS
- Communicating standards for the safe use of facilities, classrooms, tools, and materials
- Facilitating efficient ordering of supplies and equipment (e.g., providing guidelines, bulk purchasing when applicable)
- Coordinating school fine arts programs and community activities
- Attending professional meetings to keep informed of current practices in fine arts education.
Districts with exemplary fine arts programs depend on highly skilled consultants and supervisors to assist and guide them. Districts may have more success if they have supervisors to oversee each of the fine arts disciplines (i.e., a music supervisor, dance supervisor). Consultants and supervisors are an invaluable part of each district’s art program, but full-time leadership is critical for districts with several schools. To ensure meaningful assistance and instruction in the fine arts, supervisors and consultants should have the proper certification and teaching experience.
In addition to managing course content and teaching students, many fine arts teachers spend hours on organizational and managerial tasks. Accomplishing these tasks responsibly and credibly can support a strong program.
Though the teacher is the one ultimately responsible, high school students can help with many of these tasks, providing them with opportunities to practice responsibility and develop leadership skills in activities such as:
- Selecting and obtaining materials, supplies, tools, and equipment
- Planning details of field trips and project timelines
- Reviewing, selecting, and procuring instructional materials
- Coordinating school-wide fine arts endeavors
- Cooperating with other fine arts teachers in the school district
- Planning and implementing outreach programs to other schools and the community
- Collaborating with community leaders in support of school fine arts activities.
The involvement of campus and district administrators is essential to the growth and maintenance of quality fine arts education. Administrators and teachers collaborate in the process of defining and developing a cohesive vision for their programs. In larger districts, central office staff may have responsibilities for working with fine arts programs throughout the district. Such persons may have the following responsibilities:
- Maintaining a quality theatre program for the district
- Developing criteria for K-12 program evaluation
- Connecting fine arts programs with relevant goals and plans of the district
- Staffing schools with certified, qualified teachers
- Supporting teachers with quality professional development opportunities relevant to their content area
- Coordinating events and projects that extend beyond the boundaries of the campus
- Gathering data to support existing programs and to substantiate the need for fine arts program development
- Evaluating needs for improved facilities, instructional materials, and equipment
- Mentoring new staff and those whose students are experiencing difficulty demonstrating the achievement levels outlined in the TEKS and district curriculum.
Fine arts teachers are the most influential factor in student achievement. Each day, teachers communicate fine arts content that challenges all students to explore and learn. Teachers convey the excitement of creation and innovation in the fine arts. Quality teaching connects artistic processes and the history of the fine arts to rigorous skills of critical thinking and problem solving. Careful planning and sequential teaching of fine arts content and processes lay the groundwork for student insights into thinking, learning, communicating, and preparing for the future.
Working to ensure that all teachers have competency in their subject areas, the state requires beginning fine arts teachers to have academic preparation in the TEKS. A school’s hiring decisions directly affect the artistic lives of students. A prospective teacher’s background, education, and training in the fine arts and fine arts education should be thoughtfully considered during a school’s hiring process.
Elementary fine arts teachers have a special responsibility: to establish the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students will build on throughout their years of formal education and beyond. Certified elementary fine arts specialists should have concentrated study in fine arts and fine arts education.
Fine arts teachers in grades 6-12 should have training, knowledge, and facility in sensory awareness and perception, creative expression, technical proficiency, cultural appreciation, fine arts history, and critique. Schools and districts should hire enough fine arts teachers so that all students reach their creative potential and develop fine arts content knowledge and skills.