ArtsLiteracy focuses on using theater methods to build community and get students out of their desks to engage with text on a physical and emotional level. It is an instructional strategy to engage students in a process of deep understanding by building a classroom community of learners that centers on a text. Students respond to the text and demonstrate their knowledge through exercises that take them through the Performance Cycle. This cycle links arts-learning and academic performance in school and after-school settings. Students establish personal bonds between their lives and interests and core texts. With guidance from teachers and/or professional artists, students craft a final performance. Through these performances, students solidify and demonstrate the deep understanding they have gained by creating and performing to text. Reflection is embedded in all aspects of the performance cycle.
ArtsLiteracy does not just referring to language arts and it does not infuse and “arts activity” without relevancy to another content or standards. ArtsLiteracy uses multiple literacies. When appropriate, it asks students to comprehend and produce “texts” that include oral language, print texts, visual, musical, kinesthetic and numerical.
Central Touring Theatre (CTT) was founded 30 years ago as a safe space for youth to explore artistic expression as a powerful and meaningful force in the world.Theater company members are from a variety of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. They engage in vigorous theater training that helps them to learn about each other and to transform their communities.
CTT produces outstanding youth-oriented original works that delve into globally relevant issues that challenge celebrate life in contemporary urban culture. The groundbreaking work of students as writers, actors and producers,director Jan Mandell and a host of dedicated professional local actors as mentors, have proved to the district that the arts are a solution to the achievement gap and engaging students the power of learning.
CTT has performed for more than 10,000 of people this year and was honored for its work when “Seeds Of Change” earned the 2008 AARP Ethel Percy Legacy Award for Innovation, which recognizes public high school programs that have either fostered greater intergenerational understanding or enhanced civic engagement between the school and its community.
For more information on the Central Touring Theater or the performances, please contact Jan Mandell at (651) 210-9635 of by e-mail email@example.com
Achieving Within the Gap
The mission of the Achieving Within the Gap presentation is to make visible an invisible resource: Our STUDENTS
Achieving Within the Gap is an hour long, arts based, student led, interactive workshop that features short video clips of African American high school students talking about what they want and need from teachers – respect, help, and a welcoming attitude.
Between the clips, students perform and involve audience members in hands-on activities designed to explore how these issues play out in our schools and classrooms.
This academic year, students in collaboration with adult supporters, have presented these workshops to over 700 educators including teachers, principals and other administrators and students throughout the Metro area. This student lead experience ignites authentic dialogue and reflection. Participants involved have commented:
"Our staff found the presentation by student alumni to be powerful, engaging and thought provoking. It is a must see for all staff who are serious about increasing student achievement for students of color."
Jill Knudsen, Ed.S., Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports Coach
"An amazing and powerful interactive presentation! To hear directly from students how they feel and how they need to be treated is crucial to overcoming racial barriers in our schools."
Winston Tucker, Principal, Highland Senior High School
"Thank you very sincerely for coming to our school. Our staff was richly rewarded by the presentation. Hearing it out of the mouths of students was powerful! They send their appreciation and look forward to more meaningful professional development activities such as this one!"
Dr. Fatima T. Lawson, Ph.D. Principal, L'Etoile du Nord French Immersion School
“I have been teaching in the district over 30 years and this is the best professional development I’ve attended, finally we are listening to our students.”
Teacher, Farnsworth Areospace Pre-K-8
Why is Achieving Within The Gap significant?
It lays the groundwork for more systemic, long-term change that can happen when student voices are heard.
Topics within the presentation include: Creating and sustaining respectful classroom environments, teacher-student relationships, teacher expectations, finding oneself in the curriculum and stories of what helps students achieve students and why.
Why is it important to see Achieving Within The Gap in its entirety with student facilitators?
Student facilitators bring the authenticity of what is being said and reflected on in the DVD. They guide participants through activities that help them discover meaning and relevancy in their work with African American youth. The facilitators exemplify the voices of our SPPS African American students in their educational experiences and navigation through school.
This is a project of Saint Paul Public Schools Office of Academics, Seeds Of Change, ArtsLiteracy, Central Touring Theater, AVID and Concordia University. It is funded by an ICap grant from the Minnesota State Department of Education and Saint Paul Public Schools
For more information about these programs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Saint Paul Public Schools, District 625 | 360 Colborne Street, Saint Paul, MN, 55102 | 651-767-8100 | email@example.com
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