Rhode Island Foundation Supports the Start-up of a New Secondary Initiative
Moving Up SmART: Meeting High Standards at the Secondary Level!
Given the dramatic data emerging from many secondary schools —high dropout rates, dismal performance in math and literacy, the lack of readiness for careers and college—particularly for those poor and minority students living in urban areas, SmART Schools seeks to expand and intensify its work at the secondary level. With the emergence of Common Core State Standards, the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), along with recent Rhode Island policy initiatives (across the six academic subjects, including the arts) there is a significant need for a program that will provide support to schools and teachers in meeting these new standards and expectations.
In that spirit, with special thanks to a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation, SmART Schools will launch this exciting new secondary initiative with a five day Summer Institute – Moving Up SmART: Meeting High Standards at the Secondary Level, to be held in Providence, Rhode Island, August 15-19. Registration fees for 125 educators from qualifying urban secondary schools will be covered in full by the grant.
This project will begin with a focus on secondary teachers who work with low-performing urban students. At the same time the SmART Schools model has proven to be successful with schools, teachers and students from all demographic areas. It can effectively build upon and reflect the diversity found throughout the state and ultimately should be considered as a vehicle to improve student performance on a larger scale, for any secondary school.
Following the August 2011 institute, SmART Schools will be seeking additional funding for ongoing academic year follow-up support including mini-institutes, on-site professional development and technical support for this first round of secondary schools.
Santa Monica Festival
Dates: Saturday, May 8, 2010
The Santa Monica Festival, staged each May, is filled with eclectic music, dance, visual arts, food, and information with an environmental and community focus. SmART Schools West participated for a second year with a booth and gallery of student work. Also this year, two of our teaching artists performed on the festival's Youth Stage.
Surrounding our booth was a gallery of visual and written work showcasing integration of science, literature and art. Visitors were invited to respond to the works, presented as a cordel where they coudl leave comments for the creators on their individual pieces. Festival goers also had an opportunity to view natural objects using several 100mm magnifiers. We presented a diatom design project with an opportunity to create art works using multiple images of beautiful, geometric phytoplankton.
On the Youth Stage Ana Maria Alvarez presented "Movement and Life Cycles". Together with students from Will Rogers Learning Community, Maria Alvarez showcased movement as a means to express the life cycle of the butterfly. The expressive gestures of the students demonstrated how creative choreography can bring concepts of science and nature to life.
Following Ana Maria was Master Teaching Artist in Music, John Zeretzke with "Sound, Vibration and Music". John guided the audience and a set of student performers through an exploration of the properties of sound and vibration. Several students and John created music with a variety of percussion and wind instruments: some various cultures, some made from found objects, and others constructed on stage. Their performance demonstrated how scientific knowledge can be understood through music making.
Santa Monica Festival
Dates: Saturday, May 9, 2009
Share in the SmART Schools West Project:
SmART Schools West participating schools are invited to share in an experience at the Santa Monica Festival by staging a Green Cordel. The Green Cordel will celebrate and showcase environment themed work created by students from four SmART Schools sites in Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District: Edison Language Academy, John Muir Elementary, McKinley Elementary and Will Rogers Learning Community. In addition it will offer festival visitors thier own opportunity to reflect upon and respond to a variety of thought provoking green themed images, literature and facts and place their creative work on display. The Green Cordel will allow the public to add comments to all of the displayed works, bringing one more level of interactivity to the project.
The Green Cordel will consist of four parts:
Join us for this exciting event!
Habla: The Center for Culture and Language
SmART Schools has launched a bold and innovative pilot program as part of an exciting international partnership with Habla: The Center for Culture and Language, a lab school and an international center based in Merida, Mexico. A group of individuals in the US, Mexico, and Brazil joined together to begin to create an international network of artists, educators, and organizational leaders with the idea that policy, research, and best teaching practices in the field of arts education need to be shared across borders. This international partnership has resulted in Habla, the lab school and an international center based in Merida. The architects of Habla—including arts leaders such as Richard Deasy, Nick Rabkin, Arnie Aprill, and Doris Sommer believe that cultural immersion is one of the most powerful possibilities for transforming both educators and youth.
Merida, the capital city of the state of Yucatan serves as the ideal lens for teachers and artists to experience the complex mix of cultures that exists in many Latin American countries and communities. The fusion of ancient, colonial, and modern culture is evident in the architecture and works of art present both in and around the city. Ancient Mayan ruins—including the famous Chichin Itza and Uxmal—are a short drive from the city and Mayan towns surround the city of Merida. Haciendas, churches, and state buildings located both in the center of the city are examples of the Spanish colonial influence. The people of the Yucatan are a unique mix with influences from the Mayan, Spanish, and more recent international cultures from around the globe. Merida is the perfect place to introduce visitors to the complexity of Mexican and Hispanic culture and to challenge the often homogenizing use of these terms. In the Mexico-based institute, teachers/artists leaders will experience, the complexity of the arts and culture in the Yucatan, and have conversations about how students from all cultural backgrounds bring a vast set of cultural and artistic resources to the classroom. The institute will challenge educators' cultural assumptions and supportively help them to reflect on their own cultures as well as the cultures they are experiencing.
The SmART Schools and Habla partnership will conduct ongoing professional development, designed and facilitated by Habla's co-founders and co-directors Kurt Wootton and Maria del Mar Patron-Vazquez, and SmART Schools founder and director, Eileen Mackin. This professional development will be offered to participating SmART Schools arts educators, classroom teachers, administrators, and program master teaching artists, from both the East and West Coasts of the United States.