Date of Award

Fall 12-11-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Elaine M. Walker, Ph.D

Committee Member

Daniel Gutmore, Ph.D

Committee Member

Trina L. Yearwood, Ed.D


Arts integration, Social constructivism, Neuro-science, Narrative Inquiry, Sustainability


To improve the overall quality of education within under-performing schools across the United States and, in particular, to improve outcomes for diverse learners, it is imperative to find ways to increase the adoption of evidence-based practices.

This study aims to illuminate the barriers and facilitators that confront teachers in the sustained implementation of arts integration using a scientifically research-based Constructivist methodology. Arts Integration (AI) has been proven to increase students’ literacy, mathematics, and critical thinking skills. For decades, the U.S. Department of Education has funded research studies revealing the efficacy of arts integration. Data, however, indicate a lack of sustained implementation of arts integration, most notably in schools where interventions targeting student literacy development are sorely needed. As observed in many schools hosting government-funded arts integration programs, AI curricula and strategies are often not sustained beyond the exit of the teaching artists and the depletion of grant-based funding.

This qualitative study utilizes an educational ecosystem as the theoretical framework. The levels of the ecosystem are the microsystem (the individual teacher), the mesosystem (school culture), the exosystem (accountability structures), and the macrosystem (American public schools). The study, designed as a narrative inquiry, draws narrative accounts from participating teachers and teaching artists through semi-structured interviews. Interview questions elicit data to address the five research questions.