The august rendezvous was fantastic.  I came away from that gathering feeling inspired and encouraged to continue the work we have begun at Ashland Middle School.  Regarding community engagement specifically, I was WOWED by the amount of civic responsibility that the city of Sister’s has for the arts in their school system.  Their focus and determination to offer extraordinary art education to their students was most inspiring.  This has left us feeling like we have a goal and a focus of our own, when it comes to the students and the community of Ashland, Oregon.

As a co-hort team, we saw a very clear path to follow which included identifying the stakeholders in our community.  Gaining their interest in this years community outreach efforts will be critical.  We will be addressing this early in the process as we move into year 2 of the STS project.  We recognized that there are many people that we want at the table moving forward.  One major group is the core class teachers in our school.  Another is the leaders in our city, including councilmen and administrators.  And of course, continuing to invite parents and community residents that have not yet engaged in our outreach program but would be likely candidates to get involved.

Our first step is to attend the stakeholders meeting that is schedule, where we will select individuals that we will work towards including in our arts educatio work at AMS.  The next step is to make a presentation to the teaching staff at AMS, which is an event scheduled for the last week in August.  This meeting includes all the AMS teachers, not just the art teachers.  This will be our first major effort to include curriculum integration into the arts program that we have been building in our first year.  The steps to follow will be meetings with the stakeholders to create a dynamic and much loved second version of our community outreach program name AMS Arts Fest – which we will hold for the second year in the spring of 2016.

One of the benchmarks that we have set forth regarding community engagement is a fundraising number that we have slated in our budget for year two.  We know that more participation in this event will result in higher donations for creating sustainability in the future. Along with that will be higher attendance at the event and greater investement by the community involved.

As project manager, I am already working individually with the teachers as we begin continued efforts in the five arts departments.   Getting the art to the students was our major focus in year one.  NOW, we get to continue building on that success but also bring more people into the picture.  This is an expansion year and an opportunity to get more people involved in our work to ensure arts education at AMS.

Below is the video we created and presented at last years community engagement event.  We look forward to sharing more and more information with our community as we grow the arts offerings to our students.