A School that Supports Creativity and Fosters Innovation, Preparing Students to Succeed in These Rapidly Changing Times
In the 2008 report “Ready to Innovate- Key Findings” published by the Conference Board, Americans for the Arts and the Association of School Administrators the essential question was asked – “Are Educators and Executives Aligned on the Creative Readiness of the U.S. Workforce?”“Innovation is crucial to competition, and creativity is integral to innovation. U.S. employers rate creativity/innovation among the top five skills that will increase in importance over the next five years, and stimulating innovation/creativity and enabling entrepreneurship is among the top 10 challenges of U.S. CEOs. But how to foster creativity in new entrants to the workforce?... Overwhelmingly both superintendents who educate future workers and the employers who hire them agree that creativity is increasingly important and that arts-training- and to a lesser degree, communications studies- are crucial to developing creativity. Yet there is a gap between understanding this truth and putting it into meaningful practice.”(1)
Portland is a creative hub, rapidly attracting businesses to our area that will demand a workforce ready for innovation. The Act for Art- Creative Action Plan for the Portland Metropolitan Region begins with the strong statement “In this region, creativity is a part of everything we do, everything we are…helping position the region as one of the country’s leading centers of creativity…We know that the arts feed our souls, whatever the economic environment. We know our children must continue to learn creative skills. We know that innovation is critical to the success of our businesses. For these reasons and many more, government bodies throughout Portland metropolitan region have a vested interest in the success of our local arts community.”(2)
REAL Prep Charter Academy is a school design that meets the changing needs of both our city and our society by inspiring students to approach all aspects of life with creative thinking and problem solving.
How will we accomplish this? We will use the guidance of the MacArthur Foundation, one of the foremost benefactors of artists, researchers and educators, which has consistently advocated for original thinkers throughout our country. The MacArthur Foundation defines creativity as follows:
- Generosity of spirit and love of humanity
- Openness to sensation and experience
- Aesthetic appreciation
- Empathy with other people and things
- Ability to work and play simultaneously
- Affinity for metaphor and how things may be connected
- Sense of wonder/keenness of memory
- Acceptance of emotions
- Intuitive style
- Appreciation of and the ability to articulate the nature of freedom as the ultimate human struggle
- Personal integrity and strength that can withstand and overcome pressures of conformity, arbitrary power, material success and apathy.
- Sense of quality based on confidence and creativity.(3)
This theme of promoting the healthy development of the growing adolescent through enriched artistic activities and pursuits is the foundation upon which the REAL Prep Curriculum has been built.
- Conference Board, Inc. artsusa.org/pdf/.../research/policy_roundtable/ready_to_innovate.pdf
- Act for Art Creative Action Plan www.creativecapacity.org/media/uploads/RACC_Act.pdf
- Shekerjian, Denise. Uncommon Genius: how great ideas are born. New York: Penguin Books, 1990.