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:

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.

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

 

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.

What’s the big deal about arts standards?

Missoula middle school students in The Flagship Program's Photovoice photography project.

Missoula middle school students in The Flagship Program’s Photovoice photography project.

The Montana Arts Council, in partnership with the Montana Office of Public Instruction, will lead an upcoming statewide effort to revise the Montana Standards for Arts for K-12 public schools.

I get really excited when I tell people that Montana is getting ready to revise their state standards for arts education. Sometimes when I tell people they share my excitement, and think it’s a really cool thing. More often, I get a polite “Oh, that’s nice” or a blank, rather puzzled look.

So, what’s the big deal about revising arts standards?

If you go on the website for the Office of Public Instruction and search for a page about arts education, you won’t find one. In the category of “Content Standards and Instruction”, arts standards are not listed along with English Language Arts, Math and Science. If you search, you will come across one document, the Montana Standards for Arts, a brief document listing six standards that cover all the arts disciplines. They are general, not specific to music, or theater or visual art. There are benchmarks under the standards for what students should know and be able to do in the arts by the end of 4th, 8th and 12th grade. The entire document is only twelve pages long. By comparison, the Montana Common Core Standards for English Language Arts is 67 pages long.

This lack of focus on arts education is not a Montana problem, it is a national problem. The arts have received the short end of the stick in nearly every state by many years of federal No Child Left Behind/Race to the Top-era policies. The good news is that the tide is turning. The arts are resurgent, and starting with a revision of our standards it is possible that Montana will be at the forefront of the effort to restore the arts to their place of critical importance in a high-quality education.

Standards in education are a way for educators to measure what their students know and are able to do in a content area. It is often repeated in the education world that what we can measure, we value. Improving our arts standards will increase the value of arts education across Montana.

Our new standards will be discipline-specific, which will be of huge benefit to teachers who teach in these specific content areas, helping them build assessments specific to what their students are learning. Montana will even have new standards in Media Arts!

It is an oft-cited fact that 72% of business leaders say creativity is the number one skill they are seeking when hiring. Teaching the arts, whether it is in a stand-alone music or theatre class, or integrated into a teacher’s science or history curriculum, is teaching “applied creativity.”

We need stronger benchmarks to measure what high-quality teaching and learning in the arts looks like, and revising the Montana arts standards will allow us to help creative the college, career and civic readiness that is the primary goal of a public school education in our state.

The business and education communities are investing in opportunities for students to develop their creative skills in the classroom that leads to future innovation in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and other creative industries. Studying the arts help to develop critical habits of mind—creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking, among others—that can complement STEM learning initiatives in schools. In fact, we arts educators like to call it STEAM! With stronger arts standards that are useful to arts specialists and classroom teachers in other content areas, that “A” for arts in STEAM will help create our next generation of scientists and innovators.

Here is what excites me the most: revising the Montana Standards for the Arts is an excellent opportunity to gather groups of educators, parents, business and civic leaders across the state to engage in an important dialogue about what we would like arts education, or “applied creativity” to look like in our schools. A lot of people are going to be involved in this effort, through focus groups, writing teams and review teams, and a lot of dialogue about arts education is going to happen. Who knows what the result of that could be? Beyond new arts standards, what new relationships, new ideas and new collaborations could happen that benefit Montana students? This is going to be good! If you want to get involved, please contact me at ekohring@mt.gov or (406) 444-6522.

Carolyn Pardini's 4th grade students at Pablo School, creating artwork with teaching artist Jennifer Thompson.

Carolyn Pardini’s 4th grade students at Pablo School, creating artwork with teaching artist Jennifer Thompson.

National Core Arts Standards Launch

NCCAS logo

On June 4th, after collecting input from over 6,000 educators and artists and culling through over one million comments submitted during three different draft reviews, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) published the National Core Arts Standards on a new, interactive website, found at www.nationalartsstandards.org (I personally find the website to be very clunky, but I understand that it is a work in progress).

The National Core Arts Standards now include a total of five artistic disciplines. In addition to music, theatre, dance and visual art, the new standards now include media arts as its own distinct artistic discipline, recognizing the role technology now plays in how every art form is practiced and taught.

Executive Director of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies Jonathan Katz pointed out at a June 4 launch webinar that one strong benefit to having a set of national standards is that it gives arts educators a common language to describe what students should know and be able to do in the arts, and it helps make the case for the importance of artistic literacy as another way that children can learn. Noted arts education researcher Dr. James Catterall also added that arts standards create “an expression of intention and purpose” for arts education advocates, making the arts important alongside other subject matters.

The new standards are organized by a set of four overarching anchor standards, followed by discipline-specific performance standards, broken down by grade band.   The four anchor standards describe artistic processes that apply to all the disciplines: creating, performing (referred to as presenting in visual arts and producing in media arts), responding and connecting. In addition to allowing users to organize the standards in different ways, the website also hosts instructional support resources, including Model Cornerstone Assessments for each discipline, enduring understandings and essential questions for each standard, and glossaries and additional resources teachers can utilize in their classrooms.

Adoption of the National Core Arts Standards by each state is completely voluntary. Some states are already in the process of adopting or adapting the standards, and some states will keep the standards they have. Montana educators have been involved in the draft review process for the National Core Arts Standards since spring of 2013 and have offered both individual and collective feedback to the NCCAS. When the time comes to revise Montana’s Standards for Arts, a broad coalition of Montana citizens invested in education will likely take a look at the National Core Arts Standards in the review process.

Crispy Chicken Wings and Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Dancing Classrooms 2

This past Saturday, a group of fourteen slightly sleepy Helena School District teachers gathered in an elementary school gym on a cold, snowy morning looking a little apprehensive.  The teachers had voluntarily signed up for a professional development workshop with Rodney Lopez, National Program Director for Dancing Classrooms, a New York City-based organization that provides ballrooms dancing residencies to classrooms.   As somebody who has been on both sides of arts-based professional development, as a provider and as a classroom teacher, I recognized some of the body language:

“Why did I sign up for this?  It’s Saturday. I could be sleeping in.”

“I’m about to completely embarrass myself.”

“If I duck out now, will anybody notice?”

Dancing Classrooms began in New York City, but the organization now works in classrooms all over the country and even internationally.  Dancing Classrooms teaches ballroom dancing to students, but, as their website states, it is not about teaching ballroom dancing:  “The dance is a tool for getting the children to break down social barriers, learn about honor and respect, treat others carefully, improve self-confidence, communicate and cooperate, and accept others even if they are different.” The work of Dancing Classrooms was featured in the hit documentary Mad Hot Ballroom, which was screened for parents and students in Helena on Friday evening as part of Dancing Classroom’s Helena School District residency.  Lopez also worked with students at both Helena Middle School and C. R. Anderson Middle School on Friday as part of the project that was the brainchild of district gifted and talented teacher Julie Mitchell and was funded by the Helena Education Foundation through their Great Ideas grant program.

After gathering the teachers for a brief overview of the day and an icebreaker activity in their seats, Lopez wasted no time getting the group up and immersed in Dancing Classrooms’ method of teaching ballroom dance to young people. He taught the group as if he was working with a group of 5th graders and it was their very first session (a Dancing Classrooms residency is normally a 10-week residency, with two sessions per week).  “Respect.  Elegance.  Teamwork.  That’s our goal,”  Lopez told the group.  He also immediately made them comfortable by telling them, “If you can count to eight, you can do ballroom dancing.”  The first dance they learned was the merengue.  Students always start by learning the parts of the dance without touching, and without worrying who their partner is going to be, something that can cause a lot of anxiety for students.  Gradually, the students are assigned partners, but first they are in “pancake” position–meaning they dance with one partner’s hands on top of the other’s, rather than in full “dance frame.”

Part of the brilliance of the Dancing Classrooms method is the way they use language and metaphor to demystify the idea of dancing and make children who are not dancers comfortable with the idea of dancing.  Lopez used terms like “crispy chicken wings” and “peanut butter sandwiches” to describe how participants should hold their arms in dance frame once they got to that point.  The humorous terms make the participants laugh, rather than making them think about the awkwardness of being so close to another person.

Dancing Classrooms 3

Lopez also gradually insists on eye contact between the dancers as a sign of respect for each other.  Every dance ends with a bow and a thank you to the partner.  At the beginning and end of every session, the dancers also escort each other in and out of the dancing classroom, because the dancing classroom is a place of honor, and the students are the kings and queens of the ballroom.  Respect for each other, for the instructor, and for the space is constantly reinforced throughout the lesson.

Watching the group learn the merengue, then the tango, and then a swing dance, it was remarkable not only how quickly they learned the steps, but also how fully engaged and comfortable each teacher became in the process.  The room very quickly went from a nervous discomfort to a joyful energy that made time go very quickly.

During the session, Lopez shared with the teachers the Dulaine Method that is the philosophy of how Dancing Classrooms approaches their classroom residencies.  The method is named for Pierre Dulaine, the founder of Dancing Classrooms.

1.  Respect and compassion.  Every student and teacher in the room is honored for where they are at in their journey.  If they are not ready to dance, that is ok.

2.  Being present.  Focus on what is happening right now.

3.  Creating a safe space.  Nobody feels wrong.  Everybody feels a sense of belonging.

4.  Command and control.  The teacher is in charge of the learning in the classroom, and the students are simultaneously learning command and control of themselves.

5.  Body and verbal language.  Change the language so it’s relavant to the experience of the child.

6.  Humor and joy.  Laughter helps take away the discomfort associated with learning something new and different.

I marvel at how easily translatable this philosophy is to every classroom, in every school, in every subject.  What if these six tenets were posted on the wall of every classroom our students walked into every day?  Observing this group of teachers working with Rodney Lopez, quickly learning three dances in three hours and building a safe space of laughter and joy, I was reminded again of the power the arts have to create a learning environment where everybody can succeed.  And, given that proven power, I marvel at how often children are denied access to arts learning experiences like this in their schools.  But, on this Saturday morning, there was a lot to celebrate:  a teacher with the vision to bring Dancing Classrooms to Montana, a local foundation that would support it, a master teaching artist, and a willing group of teachers who will take what they learned back to their classrooms to the benefit of their students.

Dancing Classrooms 1

Dancing and Doing Math Like No One is Watching

Yesterday’s Bozeman Daily Chronicle featured an article about how Hawthorne Elementary School in Bozeman, Montana is helping students succeed under the new Common Core standards by embracing an arts-integrated approach to learning. Hawthorne has been using the arts to teach for 22 years now. The principal, Casey Bertram, believes “robust 21st century teaching cannot happen without the arts.”  Amen to that!  Hawthorne is not the only school in Montana embracing a school-wide approach to the arts:  Jefferson Elementary in Helena has also adopted this approach under the leadership of their principal, Lona Carter-Scanlon, a passionate arts education advocate.

Examples of how arts learning is working to help students find greater success in school are all over Montana.  This week I was lucky to witness robust 21st century teaching in action when I visited Rattlesnake Elementary in Missoula to see the CoMotion Dance Project work with a classroom of second graders.  CoMotion Dance Project is led by University of Montana dance professor Karen Kaufmann and places teaching artists in schools to help teachers meet learning goals using dance and creative movement.  The Montana Arts Council funds CoMotion through its Artists in Schools and Communities grant program.  The day’s lesson was on place value.  The idea of place value had already been introduced by the classroom teacher in their regular math lessons, and teaching artist Jordan Dehline led a dance-based lesson that helped cement the concept, particularly for those students who were struggling with understanding.

comotion dance at Rattlesnake

Jordan began by leading the students in a high-energy warm-up called the Brain Dance, and then gave students time to explore two dance concepts:  shape and level.  She challenged the students to make more creative and interesting choices with their bodies as they moved across the classroom floor.  She then passed out cards to the students that had the place value on them of either 100, 10 or 1.  The 100s moved at a high level, the 10s at a medium and the 1s at a low level.  She then asked them to sort themselves into groups according to their place value by dancing to a specified spot, and then freezing in a shape that showed their place value.  Once they had all frozen, she asked them to tell her what number they were creating by adding up the 100s, the 10s and then the 1s.

At one point, the students became chatty and unfocused, as second graders sometimes do.  Jordan stopped the lesson and reminded them of the 1 to 4 scale they used to assess their dance work.  If they ranked themselves a 4 that meant that they danced the whole time the music was playing with their best focus.  Conversely, a 1 ranking meant they were not dancing when the music was playing, and they were not paying attention to their work.  After asking them to hold up their fingers to self-assess their own work, she started the music again.  The unfocused students jumped up from a 1 or 2 to a 4 immediately.  At no point did Jordan scold them or tell them they were doing the activity wrong–she simply asked them to reflect on their work as dancers and challenged them to improve.  Critics of arts integration often cite a lack of rigor in teaching the art form, believing that the art takes a backseat to the curriculum content.  Not so in this lesson, which was carefully and elegantly designed to challenge students with learning targets in both dance and math.

It was remarkable to see all the students, girls and boys, fully engaged in dance for an entire 45-minute class.  When asked afterwards if she felt the dance lesson helped reinforce place value for her students struggling with math, the classroom teacher, a 37-year veteran of the district, gave an emphatic yes.  This model lesson on place value created by Karen Kaufmann and Jordan Dehline is slated to be published in a 2014 book by Human Kinetics Publishers, the Art of Dance Integration:  Mathematics and Science. 

On my way out of Missoula I stopped at the Zootown Community Arts Center to visit the exhibit In this Light, featuring the photography and words of middle and high school students from Two Eagle River School in Pablo.  Photographer David Spear has been working with students there for many years in an artist residency called A VOICE, also supported by the Montana Arts Council.  The mostly black and white photography, paired with writing from many of the students, is a moving testimony and a peek into the lives of these students living on the Flathead Reservation.  It’s also another strong example of the power of art to give voice to young people who sometimes feel that nobody is listening.  The exhibit will be on display through November at ZACC, and was recently featured in the Missoulian.

Watching second grade boys dance like no one is watching; witnessing powerful images of teenagers expressing both the struggle and hope in their young lives–two reasons to keep advocating for the arts in schools.

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