Brendan Smith

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

DeAnna M. Laverick

Second Advisor

Susan M. Sibert

Third Advisor

Meghan Twiest


The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions, roles, practices, and characteristics of a high-performing suburban school district’s implementation of a kindergarten through grade 12 visual arts program. Additionally, this study intended to understand how the school district implemented a kindergarten through grade 12 visual arts program in an era of summative assessments and accountability. The research questions aimed to identify the perceptions of the school district’s educators relating to the value of the visual arts in increasing the quality of teaching and learning as well as student achievement in a standards-based environment. In addition, educators’ roles and practices as well as characteristics involving the implementation of a kindergarten through grade 12 visual arts program were explored. The conceptual framework used for this study was Pink’s (2005) development of right-brain thinking to thrive in the Conceptual Age.

The researcher conducted in-depth interviews with school district personnel to obtain the findings for this qualitative study. The participants (N = 13) included the school district’s superintendent, assistant superintendent, curriculum director, as well as building principals and a visual arts teacher from each of the school district’s respective school buildings.

The findings of the research suggested the study of the visual arts is a cognitive process that fosters creativity and collaboration; thus, aids in the development of children as holistic learners. Participants viewed the establishing of positive rapport with students, exposure to relevant and multiple forms of media, integration of technology in conjunction with entrepreneurship opportunities to create functional art, and budgetary support and program development as well as the display of student art work as essential programmatic components. The results of this study provide insights to the roles, practices, and characteristics for school district’s seeking to implement a comprehensive and vertically articulated visual arts program.