Creating YOUR Dream Performing Arts & MediaCharter/Private School

On Facebook, I posed a question earlier today:

Teaching Artists,  Teachers, Arts Administrators, Principals/APs: YOU are on the planning committee to open up a Middle School Performing Arts Charter/Private School combo. What are THREE things you’d want your dream school to have/be?

Parents: What three things would you want for your child in the above school? What would you be willing to do to make that happen?

So far, these are the responses I’ve gotten (it’s early yet, but this is on my mind):

Lisa Dennett
  • Improv, in addition to traditional scene study.
  • Access to professional materials and equipment, but NOT Broadway quality.
  • A focus on academics with a connection to why they are important to the performing arts.

Kim Jordan

  • a pedagogy that includes using the theatre and the arts to problem-solve social issues, i.e. bullying, cliques, peer aggression.
  • students would regularly use role-playing and role-reversal to strategize alternative endings to real-life situations. the guidance office and administrators would also be skilled in leading this work.
AmyBeth Fredricksen
  • A safe place to store musical instruments (Cellos are big and fragile) that is convenient to the practice space.
  • Sound proof practice rooms for music, some kind of small practice area for dancers/drama.
  • Sufficient spaces appropriate for choir/instrumental/drama/ classes that a scheduler won’t have to go nuts figuring out which group gets to use the “good” room.

Three arts educators with great ideas, and I hope to get  and add more, or find the postings here on comments.

My Three Thoughts on this:  (I’ve got plenty, but I’ll keep to the same limit):

  • A collaborative, team teaching/cross discipline teacher system, with arts infused curriculum writing & planning (i.e.: ELA, SS & the sciences plan their curriculum to include and  intersect all core curricula into their units lessons for the fullness of the subject matter).
  • Parents  have a vested interest in not just their student (and having a place to send them for the day) but the entire school community, and have their own PDs and seminars to understand what the students are working on and how they can help.
  • Focus on the students growth (and teachers) with a structured, consequence driven (good and bad), risk taking is good (and so can failure as a learning tool), and establish inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving as part of the basis of learning, not how to take a test, and figure out what type of learner each student is (visual, kinetic, etc) instead of the cookie cutter mentality.

Yeah…a lot more than three, but…. you get the idea.

“The world is a dangerous place to live – not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein.

Let’s do something about this.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lindsay
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 17:08:28

    1. Choice for students: tech theatre, comedy/improv, acting for the musical stage, orchestral music, choral music, classical music, popular music, opera, acting for the dramatic stage, playwriting, puppetry, set building and construction, etc. Students can choose a “track,” but they are not obligated to stay with that track all their years. They can do a “create your own major” type of thing if they so choose.

    2. Time within the school day to rehearse and research for SOME productions—tie this in with ALL standards, giving one piece the time and energy it deserves. (ex. Titus Andronicus= history of the time period (history/social studies), how to administer modern medicine to Lavinia’s wounds (science), legal implications of the wrongdoings in the script—historically vs. today (history, law, politics), food analysis of the feasts and foods mentioned (science, math), analysis of the script and language (ELA), staging the performance–even if it is just a scene or two (theatre blueprint standards), tying a scene in the play to a current event (current events, history), reading criticism of the play (ELA), etc.

    3. Team teaching, guest artists, and experts to fill in gaps (ex. if students are interested in the Medieval time period, bringing in a CUNY professor in Medieval studies to give a lecture or workshop)

    4. Mentorships the continue throughout the time the student is in school


  2. Rivka Willick
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 18:44:00

    Rivka Willick

    Three things I’d like to see in a state of the art Performing Arts & Media Center.

    1. Real life art opportunities outside of the school. (i.e. – students could perform or exhibit in the community and learn about professional quality standards).

    2. Extension of community Use new technology to connect students with other students in other cities, states, and countries. In other words, don’t just teach about diversity but actually live it.

    3. Expand Art Horizons Bring in a wide varitey of artists showing both varied art forms and new approaches to those art forms. (i.e. just as photography is could be taught both in blk & white, and color, on canvas or paper, landscapes and portraits, oral word performance can be taught as rap-poetry, storytelling- traditional, personal story, slams, historical, sci-fi fantasy,& transformational, and comedy).


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