Although he is a music instructor, rhythms and melodies are not the only topics August "Gus" Carlson teaches at Adeline C. Marston Elementary School. The Hampton, New Hampshire, educator stirs in equal measures of math, reading, science and writing into his well-culled curriculum. He proactively queries teachers to identify those subjects students are struggling with and finds ways to address those weaknesses in his class.
Carlson incorporates songs, mnemonics, holiday productions and two annual plays throughout the year. The plays focus on one major standard in a core subject, such as "Geometry Island" in math and "Table of Elements" and "Plant Cycle" in science. Students also write essays and poems on the holidays, along with engaging in a full suite of other innovative standards-based strategies. Carlson is on the job before and after school, teaching students new musical instruments. Also impressive: A full 90 percent of his kids continue honing their musical abilities in middle school.
Carlson's leadership reaches to the state level, where he is viewed as a New Hampshire leader in arts integration. He presents to the state board and participated in the state "ED"ies School of Excellence selection process. Closer to home, he mentors other district teachers, is his school’s curriculum leader, and serves on the Response-to-Intervention committee, to name a few. For the Veteran's Day play at Marston, Carlson invited some 60 local veterans to watch the show—an applause-worthy example of his community outreach.