Over the past 3 years the SCA has been working with the Saugatuck Schools on a very real problem facing our young people: being adequately prepared for jobs in today's innovation economy.

Traditional school models prepare students for the knowledge economy (learn a lot of information then spit it back) -- but we've moved from the knowledge economy into an innovation driven economy. That means we need workers who are problem solvers, strong communicators, self-directed, can work in teams, etc.

The SCA built our arts|in model to implement project based learning (PBL) in Saugatuck High School.  Through arts|in, students work on real world social justice problems with regional businesses. They research, analyze, trouble shoot, create, evaluate, and problem solve. Students also give public presentations at the SCA and create deliverables for businesses.

The results: strong outcomes proving the deep learning, crucial soft skills development, and long-term value of this arts-infused program.

Now we're working to catalyze deeper, faster implementation of arts|in across all subjects and grades at Saugatuck High School. The end game: to prepare all SHS students for our 21st century innovation economy and today's jobs.

This past summer, 6 SHS teachers received training in the arts|in program. These teachers retooled their classroom curricula and this fall all SHS seniors are taking a redesigned “senior seminar” with a new arts|in focus. Throughout the coming school year, arts|in programs will roll out across other subjects and grades, impacting hundreds of students and preparing them for innovation economy jobs.