Date of Award

Fall 11-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Michelle Brenner

Third Advisor

Dr. Kim Fitzpatrick


Student engagement is a prominent indicator of a student’s academic success (Harbour, Evanovich, Sweigart, & Hughes, 2015). Leavy (2015) continued the engagement dialogue by stating the arts can be highly engaging and a high-yield strategy leading to academic success. Research has been conducted on arts integration, but little research specifically aligns arts integration with student engagement (Mason, Thormann, & Steedly, 2004). Further, there is a lack of depth within arts-integration research on all of the “arts” (including music, visual arts, drama, and dance) (Mason et al., 2004). In this qualitative study, student engagement was viewed from teachers’ perspectives within one urban elementary school which focuses on arts integration. Seven teachers were interviewed and 10 observations were conducted in various classrooms at the same arts integrated elementary school. Commonalities among teacher perceptions from those interviewed were identified from the analysis of data. Participants agreed arts integration was a teaching strategy students appreciated and preferred. Additionally, participants reported they enjoyed teaching in an arts-integrated setting; however, interview data revealed teachers at the school site did not have collaborative planning. Teachers in an arts-integrated school must collaborate on lesson planning to effectively create an integrated, collaborative plan (Riley, 2012). The findings from this study may help teachers and school leaders identify the components of student engagement in an arts integrated classroom within the elementary setting.


Copyright 2016