2016-2017 Montana Teacher Leader in the Arts now taking applications!

Do you believe in the power of arts learning to make a difference in the lives of students?  Do you want to take a leadership role in expanding arts education opportunities in your school and community?

The Montana Arts Council, in partnership with the Montana Office of Public Instruction, is now recruiting educators across Montana for the second year of Montana Teacher Leaders in the Arts. Through this innovative program, MAC and the OPI seek to develop teacher leaders who can support other teachers statewide in integrating the arts into their classrooms.

The program includes an on-site summer institute on arts learning, June 20-29 at Salish Kootenai College, online professional learning opportunities throughout the school year, and support for a field project in the arts in the teacher leader’s school or region.

All K-12 teacher in Montana’s public schools, arts specialist and classroom teachers, as well as qualified teaching artists, are welcome to apply for the program.

Full program information and an application is available here.

The deadline for application is now Wednesday, March 30, 2016.  Contact Emily Kohring, Director of Arts Education at the Montana Arts Council, ekohring@mt.gov with questions.

Check out this video of our 2015 inaugural Summer Institute, made by Teacher Leader in the Arts Wes Hines:

Kindness, Education and the Arts

Kindness seems in short supply in the world lately.   Turning on the news can be really disheartening, even frightening.  Not only world and national events, but the response to those events-in the media, by politicians and on social media-can leave you wondering if much of the world has forgotten that Golden Rule thing.  Kindness and compassion are in short supply.

I am an arts educator.  I also have a daughter in kindergarten. My two roles combined leave me having a lot of conversations with my close colleagues lately about kindness, education and the arts.

For  (too) many years, No Child Left Behind forced arts educators to put their focus on raising academic achievement using the arts as a tool.  Music in service to math, drama in service to reading and writing.  While there is evidence that the arts can be a great tool for learning in other content areas, arts educators during the NCLB era have too often been asked not to focus on what they know they do best.

Fostering kindness, creating compassion, building community.  This is what arts educators do best.

High-quality arts educators are not just great at teaching their content area. The best ones also create classrooms where competition is minimized, collaboration is required, creativity is rewarded and praise and encouragement are offered not only to the student who gets the right answer, but to the student who takes a risk, offers a helping hand, plays as a team and offers a unique perspective.

The ability to show kindness and compassion are considered “soft skills” that are difficult to assess, and some may even feel these skills are for parents to teach their children and not the job of schools.  But if children are to spend the majority of their waking hours at school, a school must bare some responsibility to create a community of compassion.

If you ask many successful adults who their favorite teacher was in school, it is likely they will tell you it was their art, music, dance or drama teacher. And it’s not just the kindness of the teacher they will recall, it is also the sense of belonging they felt in that teacher’s classroom, too.

Putting a paintbrush, a trombone or a script in a child’s hand, and giving them that feeling they are part of  a community where they feel safe and cared for will reap untold benefits for their future as caring and creative citizens of the world.  It may even stop a lonely and isolated person from putting a gun in their hand.

This morning one of our Artists in Schools and Communities grant recipients, the Holter Museum of Art, sent a photo.  They recently completed a residency with artist and Tibetan Monk, Yeshi Rinpoche.

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Courtesy Holter Museum of Art

 

The caption on the photo read: “Student working on collaborative mandala of great compassion.”

The photo and the caption really struck me, a collaborative mandala of great compassion.  As much as the world needs students who graduate with high reading and math skills, it is critical that these same high-achievers be able to collaborate, and know how to show great compassion.

This quote resonates as I consider the power arts educators have to be change agents in creating a more compassionate world for our children:

“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”     –L. R. Knost

I hope decision-makers and administrators take their responsibility to foster kindness and compassion in their school community into consideration the next time they consider cutting an art or music program.  We could all stand to live in a world that is a little less cruel and heartless.

Join the Artists in Schools and Communities Registry

UPDATE 12/8/15:  The deadline to apply to be listed on the Artists in Schools and Communities Registry has been extended to Monday, February 1, 2016. 

The Montana Arts Council is now taking applications from qualified teaching artists for its revised Artists in School and Communities Registry.  The AISC Registry will launch in early 2016, and will provide a listing of teaching artists, performing groups and organizations that provide arts learning opportunities to Montana schools and community organizations.

Professional teaching artists in all disciplines, including visual and media arts, dance, theatre, music and creative writing, are welcome to submit an application to be listed on the AISC Registry.  The deadline for application is Monday, February 1, 2016.  A second round of applications will be accepted in May, 2016. Please click here for full information and the application.

Direct all questions to Emily Kohring, Director of Arts Education, at (406) 444-6522 or ekohring@mt.gov

What We Did This Summer

I am slightly embarrassed by how long it has been since I’ve posted anything on this blog.  I’ve been kind of busy.  Lame excuse, right?  But, no, really, it has been an extraordinary summer for arts education in Montana.  Big things are happening.  Let me get you up to speed.

The last time I posted I was recruiting writers and reviewers for the Montana Standards for Arts Revision Team.  It seems like ages ago that I was concerned we wouldn’t have enough interest to put a solid team together, everybody would be on summer vacation, it was too much time for people to commit, I wouldn’t be able to find a place for the teams to meet . . . all needless worries.  Montana’s arts educators stepped up in a huge way.  They certainly did not seem to mind working over summer break!

Arts Standards Writing Team Photo 8.5.15

The Montana Arts Standards Revision Team at the end of their Great Falls writing session on August 5–still smiling!

From August 3-5, a group of 20 of them gathered at the Great Falls Public School District Office Building (and we are ever so grateful to our host, Dusty Molyneaux, Fine Arts Coordinator for the GFPS), to begin the work of writing updated, discipline-specific standards in Music, Visual Arts, Media Arts, Theatre and Dance.  Nearly all of the team members are working classroom teachers, along with a few teaching artists and representatives from Montana arts organizations.

In just 2.5 days, each team generated a first draft of the new standards in Music, Theatre, Visual Arts and Media Arts, which were promptly sent off to review team members for feedback.  The team members are extraordinary educators, it was a thrill to sit in and listen to the thoughtful dialogue about what arts learning should look like in Montana’s public schools in the 21st century, and inspiring to be around people so passionately committed to arts education for all learners.  The Dance writing team will meet on August 25 in Missoula to write Montana’s first-ever dance standards, and new Media Arts standards are also being produced, putting Montana on the leading edge of arts education nationally.

The arts standards will soon be in final draft, and will then go to the Office of Public Instruction’s Negotiated Rulemaking Committee in late October. This group, which also includes some of our state’s outstanding arts educators, will govern the process, and offer feedback on the final drafts before they are introduced to the Board of Public Education.  There will be lots of opportunity for public comment from arts educators, teaching artists, administrators, parents and all interested parties before the BPE moves to adopt the new standards sometime in 2016.

AND THEN we will have new, more rigorous arts standards for specific disciplines that reflect what students should know and be able to do in the arts in order to be college and career ready.  But that is not the end of the story.  Chapter Two begins the morning after the Board of Public Education adopts the new standards, where we begin the work of providing the resources and professional learning support to teachers and schools to implement the new standards.  New standards that sit in a dusty binder on a teacher’s shelf are of no use at all, we need to provide training and support for teachers to use the standards to build an excellent and equitable arts curriculum for their students.

In fact, this will be the fun part.  And it has already begun.  This past June, the inaugural cohort of the Montana Teacher Leaders in the Arts program met for a 9-day arts learning institute at Salish Kootenai College.  Sixteen teachers were selected from all corners of Montana, from Poplar to Victor to Lame Deer, to participate in a blended learning model of on-site and online training to become coaches, mentors and advocates for arts learning in schools across Montana.  As we add a new cohort each year, we plan to grow a strong network of arts educators across the state who can themselves provide regional professional learning opportunities to their peers, mentor teachers on effective arts-based teaching strategies, and encourage stronger arts education policies in Montana’s schools and districts.

One of our Montana Teacher Leaders in the Arts candidates, Wes Hines of Kalispell, made a short video to document the learning (and fun) of our nine days at Salish Kootenai College.  Stay tuned, we’ll recruit a new cohort this spring.

Montana Teacher Leaders in the Arts Application Deadline Extended

OPI AND MAC LOGO

 

The application deadline for the Montana Teacher Leaders in the Arts program has been extended to 5:00 pm, Monday, March 2. 

The Montana Arts Council and the Office of Public Instruction are teaming up to offer Montana Teacher Leaders in the Arts, a professional development initiative for K-12 educators across the state. Through this exciting new program, MAC and OPI seek to develop teacher leaders who can support other teachers statewide in integrating the arts into their classrooms.

Who can apply for the program?

  •  Certified arts specialists in K-12 schools in any discipline.
  •  Classroom teachers with significant background and a high comfort level in the arts.
  •  Principals and other school administrators.
  •  Retired teachers who were certified arts specialists.
  •  Professional teaching artists who demonstrate a significant level of experience in and knowledge of K-12 public education.

 

Click here for more information.  Click here for a downloadable pdf with applicant information and instructions on how to apply.

Want to learn more about the National Core Arts Standards? Join us for a free online course!

The Montana Arts Council is offering a free online course for educators on the Montana Digital Professional Learning Network:

Exploring the Arts Standards

with Emily Kohring and Barb Good

NCCAS logo

The National Core Arts Standards were launched in June, 2014 in a continuing effort among a broad coalition of national organizations to create a sequential, standards-based approach to arts education across grades and levels.  In addition to Music, Theatre, Dance and Visual Art, the standards also include a new discipline, Media Arts.

This 3-session online course will offer an introduction to the National Core Arts Standards, and facilitate discussion among participating educators about how the discipline-specific National Core Arts Standards may or may not be useful to teaching and learning in the arts in Montana schools. The second session will be a live webinar hosted by Emily Kohring, Director of Arts Education at the Montana Arts Council, and Barb Good, member of the music writing team for the National Core Arts Standards.

Session objectives:

  • Understand the philosophy and intended outcomes that shaped the creation of the National Core Arts Standards.
  • Understand the structure and components of the new standards.
  • Identify the intersections between the National Core Arts Standards and the Montana Common Core, and how arts learning supports MCCS learning goals.
  • Identify the intersections between the National Core Arts Standards and the current Montana Standards for Arts, scheduled to be revised beginning in 2015.
  • Analyze the potential for using the new National Core Arts Standards in your classroom, and how Model Cornerstone Assessments (MCAs) are being implemented to gauge student learning related to the new standards.

Target Group: PK-12 Teachers & Administrators, especially Arts Specialists; Post-Secondary Arts Education Instructors

Delivery Method: Online via MDPLN; course opens January 16; live, 1-hr. webinar February 10 from 4:00-5:00 pm (webinar will also be archived for later viewing)

Renewal Units/Credit: 5 OPI renewal units are available for completion of this course.

Cost: No cost

Click here to register for the course or go to http://www.mdpln.org

Contact: Emily Kohring, Montana Arts Council, ekohring@mt.gov 406-444-6522

 

Artists in Schools and Communities FY16 Grant Cycle Opens

Visual arts residency with artist Jan Lord at Creston School.

Visual arts residency with artist Jan Lord at Creston School.

Happy New Year!  2016 is going to be a fantastic year to bring a professional teaching artist to your community to benefit learners of all ages through a rich and meaningful arts learning experience.

Guidelines for the FY16 Artists in Schools and Communities program are now available on the Montana Arts Council website for projects beginning July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

The Montana Arts Council strives to provide access to quality arts learning to develop the creative potential of Montanans of all ages. Towards that end, the Artists in Schools and Communities program provides matching funds that support a wide range of arts learning experiences and artist residencies for participants of all ages with professional working artists, as well as other special projects that support arts learning in schools and community settings.

Click here to see a list of Artists in Schools and Communities grants awarded in FY15.

Circus arts residency in Hot Springs, August 2014.

Circus arts residency in Hot Springs, August 2014.

The FY16 grant cycle features a notable change over previous years. Rather than a rolling deadline for grant applicants, there will be one deadline for all grant requests $1500 and over in the Arts Learning Experience, Artist Residency, and Special Projects categories. This deadline will be April 6, 2015. Grant requests over $1500 submitted after the April 6 deadline will not be considered.

The deadline for all organizations in the Arts Learning Partner category will be April 13, 2015. Arts Learning Partners are select Montana arts organizations that have a proven record of providing high-quality arts learning experiences to participants both regionally and across the state of Montana. Arts Learning Partner organizations must meet specific criteria for consideration in this category.

Grants up to $10,000 are available and must be matched 1:1 with other funds (MAC will provide a 2:1 match for first-time applicants, Class C schools, or small rural schools supervised by a county superintendent). For complete guidelines, please see our website.

To discuss an idea for a potential arts learning project for your school or community, contact Emily Kohring, Director of Arts Education, at (406) 444-6522 or ekohring@mt.gov.

Photovoice residency with Missoula Flagship Program students, June 2014.

Photovoice residency with Missoula Flagship Program students, June 2014.

Announcing Montana Teacher Leaders in the Arts

OPI AND MAC LOGO

The Montana Arts Council and the Office of Public Instruction are teaming up to offer Montana Teacher Leaders in the Arts, a professional development initiative for K-12 educators across the state. Through this exciting new program, MAC and OPI seek to develop teacher leaders who can support other teachers statewide in integrating the arts into their classrooms. According to the most recent data gathered by the Montana Arts Council, less than half of public schools in the state clearly articulate the arts in their school improvement plans.  In Montana elementary schools, 86% of schools offer music instruction, while only 61% offer arts instruction, less than 5% offer any kind of theatre or dance, and 11% of schools offer no high-quality arts experiences at all (http://goo.gl/rPU2ZR).

In addition, over half of Montana’s schools have fewer than 100 students, and with a small student body, few of them can afford to bring in a full or even part-time arts specialist.   The arts are then left to be taught by elementary classroom teachers, who while endorsed to teach the arts in their curriculum, often lack the skill or confidence to offer high-quality experiences to their students. After years of struggle with cutbacks in budget and programs nationally, there is renewed interest in the impact the arts can have on learning.   And with current research that shows 72% of business leaders say creativity is the number one skill they are seeking when hiring (http://goo.gl/vNxBNp), and a wealth of research to support the myriad benefits of arts education, MAC and OPI see an opportunity to give arts education a much-needed boost in Montana’s public schools by training a cohort of educators to serve as coaches, mentors and advocates in their schools and local communities for an arts-integrated approach to teaching and learning.

“The Montana Teacher Leaders project will add an exciting new professional learning opportunity for all teachers across our great state to integrate the arts into their classrooms and spark creative, engaged and joyful teaching and learning for all learners” says Jael Prezeau, Division Administrator for Content Standards and Instruction at OPI.

In the creation of the Teacher Leaders in the Arts Initiative, MAC Director of Arts Education Emily Kohring researched arts-based professional development initiatives happening in other states to seek out models that could possibly be replicated in Montana. After internet research, phone interviews with colleagues, and a site visit to the Alaska Basic Arts Institute this past summer, Kohring brought back some ideas to share with OPI staff. Integrating her ideas with OPI’s strategic plan for professional learning for educators, a plan was developed jointly to help overcome one of the unique challenges of our state: geography. In a state as large as Montana, how do you ensure an opportunity available to a teacher in Missoula is also available to a teacher in Wolf Point?

In its first year, Teacher Leaders in the Arts will recruit up to 18 teachers evenly distributed across OPI’s nine professional learning regions statewide. Teachers Leader candidates will come to a 10-day summer institute at Salish Kootenai College, where they will be deeply immersed in multi-disciplinary arts integration tools and strategies, brain theory, ideas for building creative classrooms, STEAM learning, and cultural arts led by master teaching artists and educators. Teacher Leader candidates will return to their regions, where they will receive a stipend to support a field project in arts learning during the school year. Technology then becomes the source of connectivity for the Teacher Leader candidates spread across the state, as they gather monthly as an online professional learning community to share how they are implementing what they are learning. They will also receive bimonthly webinars on selected topics in arts learning, led by leaders in the field.

At the end of the school year, the first year cohort will be identified as a Teacher Leader in the Arts in their region. A Teacher Leader in the Arts will be ready to serve as a resource to other educators to help them implement arts-based learning in the classroom, Teacher Leaders will also serve as champions for arts learning in their regions, advocating for greater access to arts learning opportunities for all of Montana’s K-12 students. The first-year cohort of Teacher Leaders in the Arts will also help plan and execute the second year of activities for the Initiative.

In year two, the Teacher Leaders in the Arts program will place a special focus on teachers in schools with less than 100 students, as well as schools with a majority American Indian population.

For the first-year cohort, the program seeks Montana K-12 arts specialists in visual art, music, or theatre; professional teaching artists with significant K-12 public school experience; school principals or administrators; and retired arts specialists. Classroom teachers with a strong background and comfort in the arts will also be considered.

CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE 2015-2016 TEACHER LEADERS IN THE ARTS INITIATIVE.

Questions? Contact Emily Kohring, Director of Arts Education at MAC, (406) 444-6522 or ekohring@mt.gov

A Day in the Life–Montana Shakespeare in the Schools

Patrick solo

I invited a new colleague to write a guest entry on the Big Sky Arts Ed blog, Barbara (Bobbi) McKean.  Below she writes about her experience with one of MAC’s Artists in Schools and Communities Arts Learning Partners, Montana Shakespeare in the Schools, a program of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.  Bobbi has had a long relationship with the company, and recently took some time on her sabbatical from the University of Arizona to help the company train their actor-teachers to work with students in the many schools where they tour.

Starting in 2004, I have had the opportunity to work as educational consultant with the Montana Shakespeare in the Schools program The statewide tour of Montana Shakespeare in the Schools is now in its 22nd year. The program is the recipient of the Montana Arts Council’s Artists in Schools and Communities grant program and the Shakespeare for a New Generation grant program from the National Endowment for the Arts. It reaches one middle or high school each day with an 80-minute performance of a Shakespearean play, a post performance talk back, and related workshops for smaller groups held in students’ classrooms. This year, thanks to a sabbatical from my University, I spent three full weeks working with the actor-teachers in preparation for their current tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

As a teaching artist and an associate professor of theatre education, working with MSIP exemplifies what I believe is critical to arts organizations in the schools: We consider each day as both an artistic and an educational day. From the time the van arrives, the company members are actor-teachers. The entire day is viewed as our opportunity to excite students and teachers to the world of theatre and Shakespeare.

It isn’t about doing a performance for students and teachers. It is about creating opportunities for the company to interact with students and teachers. It is about playing and investigating together what actors do and what Shakespeare has to tell us about life, about theatre and about our current situations. In our current production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the characters sit in the audience at times; the music is modern, sometimes silly and global; the text is clear; and the action is intense and non-stop. At the end of the play when Bottom asks Theseus: “Would it please you to see epilogue?” often the audience will shout “Yes! Epilogue! Epilogue!” (Shakespeare however has Theseus decline). As one of the actor-teachers put it “this has been one of the greatest interactions…we’ve taken them from ‘we have to watch this play’ to ‘we want to see MORE of this play!’Montana Shakeapeare in the Schools 2014 tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream

During the post-performance talk back, the actor-teachers take questions, often discussing the play and the process of putting the performance together. One student noted that the play within the play reminded him of Romeo and Juliet (one of the plays MSIP performed this past summer). The actor-teachers were then able to talk about how Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream right after Romeo and Juliet and perhaps he wanted to poke some fun at his own tragedy.

At lunchtime, the actor-teachers spend time talking with the students. Some ask them about the life of an actor and where they learned their craft. This provides an opportunity to talk about college (all of our actor-teachers have college degrees). Students are genuinely comforted and thrilled the actor-teachers take time to listen to their stories. A student sitting alone allowed a couple of actor-teachers to sit with him. “At first few words were exchanged but as soon as we started asking him questions he perked right up telling us all about things he was interested in and things he was learning about. We got a crash course in astronomy and the medieval chivalry code. You could tell this student is bright and just wanted someone to fan the flame and listen.”

A key component of the day is the workshops. Each workshop is structured around the play and is designed to encourage students to actively engage with some aspect of Shakespeare’s text. The language workshop asks students to explore Shakespeare’s metaphors in the text. As one actor-teacher wrote: “I was thrilled with the ideas they were coming up with for why the weather was happening and the characters they were creating.” In the production workshop, students create their own version of the play within the play. This year the actor-teachers are trying to involve the classroom teachers either as partner teachers or as participants. In one workshop, the teacher jumped in and the students really were enthusiastic about him being a part of the workshop. New this year is a music workshop where students are asked to create sounds and Shakespeare’s rhythms using their voices and bodies to see what happens. While the workshop is exciting, many students find it difficult at first. “Making a collective challenge to the group about making strong vocal / percussive choices at the beginning, and establishing a safe space where no choice will be deemed “stupid” I’ve found is the MOST important step in the workshop.” The stage combat workshop is a regular option for students. “The nature of the work requires students to be fully in or just out altogether. And the payoff is huge when it clicks. They take ownership of the moves and gain a respect for the discipline.”

When each day is finished, the actor-teachers know they have given their all. But they also come away “knowing at least a tiny bit more about more than I did before” and that they are “paying it forward” by instilling in others their love for theatre and Shakespeare that will continue long after the van leaves the parking lot.

Bobbi McKean is an associate professor in the School of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of Arizona. She first saw Montana Shakespeare in the Parks perform in 1984. In 1985, she was an actor in the summer company. And every summer since then, she makes sure she spends at least some time under the big Montana skies!

Bright Spots

Why is it so hard?  Seriously. 

This is a question that was asked in a recent blog post by arts education leader and advocate Matt D’Arrigo, his response to being surrounded by a preponderance of evidence about the benefits of arts education, and the seemingly overwhelming support  for arts education by average Americans (93% of Americans believe it’s important, according to Americans for the Arts), and still feeling he was rolling a boulder up a hill.

“Yet here we still stand; hands out begging for change–both literally and figuratively.”

His question is one that rattles around in my brain almost daily. as I hear the same story over and over:  lack of money, lack of supplies, lack of qualified instructors, lack of time, lack, lack, lack from teachers, administrators, parents, and colleagues across the country.

All of us are rolling that boulder up a hill.  Our Artists in Schools and Communities program ran out of funding two months into the fiscal year, for the second year in a row, due to budget cuts.  The worst part of my job is telling a teacher or artist who calls me I have no money to fund their program this school year that isn’t half over yet. Sometimes it is too hard, especially when I have to tell it to a school with no arts specialists, with a population of kids who don’t have the resources to take after school arts classes either because they are expensive or they live too far away from any.

And then, as has happened so many times before, a teacher inspires me to keep going.  Jennifer Magiera teaches in the Chicago Public Schools, and gave this talk at a Tedx event.  It’s long, but it’s worth it if you have 18 minutes:

Magiera talks about a lot of good things related to arts education, like the power of purposeful play, and how we can’t just expect kids to know how to use their creative skills if we don’t give them any opportunity to practice them in the classroom.  She talks about how opportunities to use creative thinking in the classroom gives kids the skills they need to “outwit obstacles” in life.  I love that!  She also talks about how she wanted to transform her teaching to give her students more opportunities to be creative, and how overwhelming it felt to her because she waited too long and the change was very hard to make, but she managed the change by focusing on the “bright spots.”  She defined bright spots as small things that are working, and these small things help not to let the big things overwhelm you.

Change is hard, and slow, and daunting.  But, Magiera is right, it is not hard to find bright spots.  In arts education in Montana, we have so many!  Here are a few that I have encountered, just in recent memory:

  • UM Dance Professor Karen Kaufmann and Missoula-based dance educator Jordan Dehline just published an incredible resource for teachers called Dance Integration: 36 Dance Lesson Plans for Science and Mathematics (available at www.HumanKinetics.com).  These lessons have been field tested in Montana classrooms by the CoMotion Dance Project with Montana classroom teachers.  They work!  I’ve seen them in action.
  • In October the Montana Music Educator’s Association (MMEA) held their annual conference at Hellgate High School in Missoula.  I spoke briefly at their general session, which opened with bandmasters from all over the state playing a newly-commissioned piece in honor of our great state.  And have you ever heard an auditorium packed with music teachers sing the national anthem together?  I highly recommend the spine-tingling experience. The energy in the room was through the roof.  We have remarkable music educators in the Big Sky–they love music, and they love young people.
  • The VSA Montana Choir sang during the MEA-MFT conference across town that same day.  The choir is made up of some 40 adults with disabilities–but their choir director doesn’t treat them like they have disabilities.  We watched their rehearsal, where they warmed up, he gave them notes, he corrected them and made them do it again–just like any choir.  And they sang with a sense of joy that lifted the spirits of every person in the room.
  • This past summer, Montana Quarterly published an article about Bynum School, one of 61 one-room schoolhouses in Montana.  At Bynum school, they have an 80-year-old tradition of beginning each and every day by dancing.  One of the most beautiful articles I’ve every come across about arts education, and Montana, I have not stopped thinking about it.  I hope someday soon to meet their remarkable teacher, Susan Luinstra.

I’d love to hear about your bright spot in arts education.  Every bright spot helps add some light, and makes the hard part, the non-stop struggle to keep arts education accessible to every student, a little less daunting.