Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Susan R. Katz

Second Advisor

Emma Fuentes

Third Advisor

Roberto Varea


During the 2011-12 school year, a fifth grade class in a diverse San Francisco public elementary school collaborated with the Arts Resources In Action (ARIA) program of the San Francisco Opera's Education Department to create a teacher-guided opera. The students wrote the story, music and lyrics as well as designed and built the sets, props and costumes based on the American Revolution. The classroom teacher chose the topic of the American Revolution, and the students researched this historic event using literary, historical, visual, musical and theatrical methods of exploration and data gathering. Through the medium of opera, the program connected the teacher's chosen curricula to the California State Standards. This dissertation studied the SFO ARIA program by observing the entire process for six months and conducting interviews with a focus group of 14 students, the classroom teacher, and two ARIA teaching artists.

Significant to this study was the inclusion of student voice, an integral variable in implementation of the ARIA program. Few research studies of performing arts programs in schools lead with the voices and experiences of elementary school students. Data collected for this qualitative study included interviews with students and teachers, surveys, and six months of weekly classroom observations. This investigation aims to add to arts-education research that can deepen our understanding of student learning.

Included in

Art Education Commons