The A+ Schools Program began in North Carolina in 1995 by the Kenan Institute for the Arts. The program started with 25 public schools that attributed their success to the use of arts in reforming their schools and training their teachers. In 2003, the A+ Program moved to UNCG, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and then to the NC Arts Council, which is an agency of the NC Department of Cultural Resources, on July 1, 2010. At this point, the program had grown to include 40 schools. Now the A+ Program has almost 50 schools involved. A+ Schools commit to 8 basic A+ Essentials, including Arts, Curriculum, Multiple Learning Pathways, Enriched Assessment, Experiential Learning, Collaboration, Climate, and Infrastructure.
Since the origination of the A+ Schools Program, other states have shown interest. In 2000, NC A+ Schools assisted Kirkpatrick Foundation in establishing an A+ Program in Oklahoma. Today, the Oklahoma A+ Program has more than 70 schools. In 2001, the NC A+ Schools Program partnered with Windgate Charitable Foundation to establish the Arkansas A+ Schools. In 2011, in conjunction with the Arkansas THEA Foundation, Louisiana established an A+ Schools network, through the work of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, after visiting Oklahoma A+ Schools. Today, A+ Schools around the country are part of the National A+ Consortium, and in 2012 the National A+ Schools Consortium was presented to the White House for the National Endowment for the Arts, President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities and the U.S. Department of Education.
North Carolina A+ Schools celebrated their 20th Anniversary in August of 2015.
For a detailed timeline of A+ History, visit the National A Plus Schools website history page or click here.