LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Three schools in Little Rock will start an arts based program called A+, to improve learning and overall experience for students. In order for us to track whether the A plus model is effective, we've got to see where the participating schools stand academically now.
After speaking with the principals of Rockefeller, Pike View and Boone Park Elementary Schools, it's clear getting students actively interested in their lessons can be a challenge. The administrators believe involvement impacts overall performance and that an art integrated system could help boost struggling scores.
Here is a look into where these schools stand now, so in the years to come, Today's THV can use the data to see if the A+ program lives up to its name.
As Kindergarten students at Boone Park Elementary in North Little Rock take in story time, they have little concern for math and literacy scores, but those running the school are busy making new plans for their academic future.
"We're trying to reach children in all the ways they can learn and A plus is going to satisfy that need," says Mavis Cherry, Boone Park Elementary principal.
Cherry sees the need for a spark of improvement across the board. According to the Arkansas Department of Education, in 2011, grades three to five averaged 48 percent proficiency in math and 49 percent in literacy.
"We need to be at the 85th percentile, starting next year," says Cherry.
Not only will A+ initiative take shape at Boone Park, but just down the road students will use the art based program at Pike View Elementary this fall.
"Now they want us to use a project approach to Science, Social Studies, to embed those Literacy and Math skills in real studies about real things in our world and so I think the arts could only enhance that," says Melanie Landrum, Pike View Elementary Principal.
Pike View third and fourth graders scored well in 2011 with an average proficiency of 76 percent in math and 84 percent in literacy, but fifth grade fell off to 37 percent in math and 50 percent proficient in literacy. Principal Landrum says classrooms must evolve to engage students.
"They have so many distractions. They have Ipads at home, computers, you know if you're just lecturing a lot and not really involving them in projects it can be easy to lose student's attention," says Landrum.
In the Little Rock School District, Rockefeller Elementary will take part in A+. The school has strong scores from 2011 with 73% proficient in math and 72 percent in literacy. Rockefeller principal, Janice Wilson, says anything to help students understand is worth a shot.
"Teaching to their multiple intelligences and bringing the curriculum alive for them and opening up their world," says Wilson.
Each principal hopes the A+ model can help limit discipline issues by keeping students interested during instruction.
All three schools have a great attendance record. More than 95 percent of students show up daily.