Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2014

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Visual and Performing Arts

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

Industrial and Product Design | Interior Architecture


Within the Syracuse City School District, students have been struggling to thrive in an educational environment that focuses on standardization. In 2012, only 48% of high school seniors graduated with a high school diploma in the city of Syracuse. Numerous theories have been discussed as to why students have failed to succeed, with a large portion of these centered on the problems created by the No Child Left Behind Act.

This reflective essay constructs and deconstructs the research and conceptual work produced surrounding the topic of creative learning within the Syracuse City School District. Initial research, summarized in this paper, sought to discover the ties between student motivation and a need for an outlet to deal with issues occurring outside the classroom - often in the home environment. Research was conducted from a variety of sources on the issues of family and parental participation in largely African American inner city schools, the teaching of social-emotional intelligence, and the effects of creative arts-based learning on emotional well being and academic performance. Findings reported that creative arts programs – in and out of the school environment – helped inner-city middle and high school students to perform better than their peers on standardized tests and also helped at-risk students to develop a strong sense of self-efficacy despite their unique circumstances.

By exploring the problems and proposed solutions of inner-city middle and high school students throughout the country and in the city of Syracuse, curriculum and design concepts began to develop as a multi-level solution. Completed creative work includes construction documents, presentation drawings, and materials specifications.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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