A+ Schools of North Carolina
  • In the summer of 2019, Sandy Ridge Visual and Performing Arts Elementary School became a member of A+ Schools of North Carolina

    The A+ Schools Program is a whole-school reform model that views the arts as fundamental to teaching and learning in all subjects. A+ Schools combine interdisciplinary teaching and daily arts instruction, offering children opportunities to develop creative, innovative ways of thinking, learning and showing what they know. In A+ Schools, teaching the state’s mandated curriculum involves a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach, with the arts continuously woven into every aspect of a child’s learning.

    For more information, visit: http://aplus-schools.ncdcr.gov.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is A+?

    The A+ Schools Program is the largest, longest running, most successful arts-based whole-school reform effort in the nation. Since 1995, A+ Schools has been using the arts as a catalyst for creating connections and making school an engaging, meaningful and enjoyable place to teach and learn. A+ evaluators have consistently found that A+ Schools have been able to respond to accountability standards in both effective and creative ways, meeting standards in N.C.’s high-stakes testing program without narrowing the curriculum by deeply integrating the arts into instruction.

    How are the arts used in A+ Schools?

    In A+ Schools, arts education is approached in three ways:

    • Arts Integration – bringing together arts and non-arts objectives to create hands-on, experiential, connected and meaningful learning experiences.
    • Arts Education – developing an understanding and comfort in the elements, principles, history, processes and works of each art form.
    • Arts Exposure – creating opportunities for students and staff to experience artistic works, performances and careers both in the school and in the community.


    What does all this mean in the classroom?

    It means that children are exposed to and educated in a variety of art forms: dance, music, theatre arts, and visual arts. It means that they learn in collaborative, creative environments that support and enhance each child’s unique way of learning and provide a rich variety of opportunities for reaching mastery. It means that teachers work together to integrate the arts, the sciences, literacy, math and humanities into creative, meaningful lessons. It means that children experience hands-on, real world application of learning objectives that connect across disciplines. It means that children are given opportunities to become more curious about their world, that they develop the tools for seeing connections among subjects and ideas, and that they are better prepared for their future in the 21st century. It means that teachers, students, and parents are invested in life-long learning and celebrating their school community.

    VIEW THE A+ ESSENTIALS English / Spanish

    A+ Schools of North Carolina: 2022 Informational Video  In this video, learn more about A+ and how it transforms teaching and learning.

    Benefits of Arts Integration Research findings on the unique impact of Arts Integration on student growth, teachers satisfaction, and school climate. Published by the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association

    Top 10 Skills Children Learn From the Arts The Washington Post’s list of transferrable skills young people learn from studying the arts.

    For more information on A+ Schools of North Carolina, please contact:
    Michelle Mazan Burrows, Director
    (919) 807-6503