Organization Plans to Build Mathematics, Literacy & Science Competencies through an Arts Integration Model

The Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership (PAEP) was awarded an unprecedented grant for $2.4 million by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement through its Assistance for Arts Education Development and Dissemination Program (AAEDD). With the grant, PAEP will work in collaboration with the Scranton School District (SSD), the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19 (NEIU 19), and West Chester University to refine and expand the efficacy of PAEP’s Arts Link integration model to improve outcomes for high need students. The four-year project, titled “Arts Link: Advancing the Arts Integration Model,” will promote arts education inclusive of all students, and reframe the model’s infrastructure design to support a more affordable arts integration program primed for replicability and wide dissemination to schools and districts across the country. The program will honor national standards in the arts and humanities and improve the mathematics, English language arts, science, and social emotional intelligence of students in grades 2 through 5. Only 22 grants were made to 13 states across the country, selected from 96 applicants.

“All of us at PAEP are thrilled and honored that the U.S. Department of Education has selected us for funding to work with NEIU 19, the Scranton School District, and West Chester University,” said PAEP Chief Executive Officer Pearl Schaeffer. “This is a remarkable opportunity for PAEP to refine and expand application of its Arts Link Model that shows evidence of effectiveness in improving student academic outcomes.”

PAEP developed the Arts Link model through two prior U.S. Department of Education grants and continues to shape the development, implementation, and assessment of best practices in arts integration programs for K-12 schools. Through this new program, PAEP will increase access for Scranton School District students in grades 2-5 to standards-based arts experiences, while testing the efficacy of arts integration to improve student-learning outcomes.

“The Scranton School District is experiencing financial challenges that will likely impact the traditional ways of delivering curriculum. Being a part of this partnership will help to inform not only how to improve math, science, history, and other core subjects through arts integration but also provide strategies, insights and data that will help the District gain a better understanding of the needs of our students and more affordable ways of meeting those needs,” said Dr. Alexis Kirijan, Superintendent, Scranton School District.

A scientifically-based research design will examine the impact of these teaching and learning models in the following areas: strengthening students’ arts, math, English language arts, and science competencies; improving standardized test scores, pro-social behavior, and attitudes toward school; and enhancing teacher pedagogy.

Dr. Robert McTiernan, Executive Director of the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19, added, “This grant will help us prove what we already know: that the arts play a significant role in increasing academic performance by helping students form meaningful connections to the content.”

“Arts Link: Advancing the Arts Integration Model” will not only be beneficial for children, but will also provide teachers with a greater variety of exceptional strategies to enhance student learning. The new program will also introduce Arts Link Online, a free-to-use training and resource support platform for teachers and professionals that will prime the Arts Link Model for replication, adoption and dissemination nationwide.

For more information on the Assistance for Arts Education Development and Dissemination Grant, please contact: (215) 982-1207 or email