YA Pittsburgh-based affiliate Arts Ed Collaborative (AEC) is wrapping up its Teaching Artists as Substitutes Initiative (TASI), which set up teaching artists to work as substitute teachers and bring their artistry and talent into schools. Along the way, AEC found substitute teaching to be a viable path for teaching artists in Southwestern Pennsylvania through the collaboration and cooperation of local partners and school districts.
Starting in 2020, AEC began exploring creating expanded opportunities for teaching artists in the classroom with the goals of increasing equitable access to arts in education, fostering stability within the teaching artist profession, and diversifying the teacher workforce, which studies show leads to improved outcomes in diverse student learners. Additionally, TASI aims to help address the ongoing substitute teacher shortage, which has been exacerbated since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With support from The Grable Foundation, AEC formed an action research team of organization staff and teaching artists. The team developed a set of data collection protocols, reached out to local school and district personnel, and identified a set of recommendations for how to move forward with TASI.
Next, to prepare teaching artists to take part in the initiative, AEC facilitated informational sessions and training workshops and engaged with its arts partners to develop a TA substitute field guide. AEC also offered arts-integrated professional learning and lesson plans to teaching artists embarking on this work. Teaching artists who went through the steps to qualify as substitute teachers paid no out of pocket expenses for their trainings, and AEC was able to provide participants with honoraria and stipends.
A small cohort completed the state required training provided by Allegheny Intermediate Unit. Once final clearances and classroom observations were complete, TASI teaching artists were matched with school districts with the support of AEC. The exciting result is a roster of teaching artists able to work as substitute teachers in the classroom this upcoming school year!
You can check out AEC’s TASI playbook to learn more.
About Arts Ed Collaborative
Pittsburgh-based Arts Ed Collaborative (AEC) has been partnering with educators to unlock the transformative power of the arts in Southwestern Pennsylvania since 1998. The organization offers cohort-based professional learning programs and gatherings for individual educators. Working with school districts, AEC offer a holistic self-assessment program, standards-based curriculum writing, and student assessment workshops. Additionally, it consults with other arts organizations to evaluate and improve programs, creating customized learning experiences that connect the field at large with new ideas, partners, and resources. Arts Ed Collaborative envisions a diverse network of educators in Southwestern Pennsylvania that immerses young people—regardless of appearance, ability, income, or ZIP Code—in powerful, personally relevant arts learning that transforms their sense of self, ability to share thoughts and feelings, and capacity to shape communities.