38. Center for the Study of Art & Community. [n.d]. CORE Arts Program Report: 1999-2007. Prepared for the Mississippi Arts Commission by the Center for the Study of Art & Community.

Author Affiliations: Center for the Study of Art and Community
Artforms: Biography, ceramics, collage, drawing, charcoal, furniture decoration, instrument making, mask-making, metal sculpture, music, painting, papier-mache, performance, poetry, watercolor, woodworking, writing
Program: CORE Arts Program, administered by Communities in Schools
Project (Study) Location: 25 sites (2 youth corrections facilities, 1 detention center, 8 adolescent offender programs, 7 alternative schools and 7 Boys & Girls Clubs) in 15 Mississippi counties
Program Description: CORE Arts provides ceramics, creative writing, music,visual and other arts programs to Mississippi youth, both adjudicated and non-adjudicated, in correctional settings, aftercare programs, and in alternative school settings. The program focused on “educational enhancement and workforce training through arts-based curricula” (p. 6). The CORE Arts initiative grew to include nearly 2500 students (2005-07) statewide, benefitting young people in communities throughout Mississippi. The report documents the program’s development and summarizes research studies conducted between 1999 and 2007.
Study Published: 2007
Participant Type: Youth 12-18 years who had committed status offenses; staff members
Sample Size: 308 participants and 101 staff members
Data Type: Quantitative, Qualitative: interviews with program participants and administrators, teachers, counselors and correctional officers; surveys, review of reports, publications and documentary information from both the Mississippi Arts Commission and program sites; data on academic and behavioral progress
Evaluation Focus: Program’s impact on critical success indicators for both youth justice/services and arts program providers. From 1999-2007, the program evaluation addressed:
●  What goals do the various partners and participants have for the CORE Arts program?
●  To what degree have these goals been achieved?
●  What CORE Arts program characteristics (i.e. curriculum, staffing, and program design) advanced or inhibited achievement of these goals?
●  How can the Core Arts partners improve their efforts to evaluate the accomplishment of these goals?
●  How can the partners sustain the CORE Arts program beyond the initialresearch development phase supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission?

Summary of Impact: Evaluations were conducted from 2002-2007, and included: tracking impact on student, impact on staff, and the program characteristics that supported the articulated outcomes. Results showed that youth participants showed a decrease in the incidences of violence, and improvements in behavior. Participants demonstrated a “connection between being in control of an artistic product and taking control over their lives” (p. 6). The summary of the evaluations revealed the following additional impacts:
●  71% improvement in attendance (p. 18).
●  58% reduction in referrals for behavioral problems (p. 18).
●  Counselor ratings were 5.07% higher than during the three prior months of regular program offerings (p. 18).
●  Positive correlation between time spent in program and improved attitudes and behavior.
●  Improved overall academic performance.
●  15% improvement in grade average compared with pre-program performance (p. 19).
●  Improved writing scores.
●  Improved reading skills:
○  83% of students at one site improved their reading skills by at least one grade level.
○  50% at this site improved their reading skills by two-to-four grade levels (p. 19).
●  Improved English grades:
○ 75% of students at one site improved grades by at least one letter grade, significantly more than the control group which did not receive creative writing (p. 19).
●  Enhanced self-control and cooperation.
●  Decreased violent behavior and idle time.
●  Reduced tensions between students and staff.
●  Improved communication, planning and cooperation between staff members.
●  86% of participating artists reported positive impact on them and their work.
●  Improved program work environments.
●  Staff viewed youth more positively.
●  Reduced tension for both staff and participants.
●  Opportunities for positive staff/student interaction.

KEYWORDS: academic performance, attendance, attitude, behavior, biography, ceramics, collage, CORE Arts , drawing, charcoal, furniture decoration, instrument making, juvenile, mask-making, metal sculpture, music, painting, papier-mache, performance, poetry, self-control, self-esteem, violence, watercolor, woodworking, writing, youth

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