We enjoyed reading the first round of Studio to School project reflection posts so much that we’ve decided to summarize them here! We hope that this helps you to further learn from and connect with one another.
Overall, we were particularly pleased to see that some teams were able and willing to include their thoughts about why something worked, or the implications of a lesson learned – truly reflecting on what they’ve accomplished so far. And it was great fun to see that a few teams took learning community convening activities back to use in their projects. For example, the RACC/Hillsboro team had fourth graders illustrate what they are bringing to the new school year through a hand photography project.
Here is a deeper dive into some of the themes that struck us from your first posts. In particular you wrote about early successes in engaging families and students, and about your challenges and accomplishments in bridging two organizational cultures. Lastly, we can’t leave out the many posts that discussed how you’ve geared up for this work – accomplishments related to space, logistics, and equipment.
Engaging families AND STUDENTS
A number of project teams shared some early successes with regard to family and student engagement. Here are a few things that stood out.
Several teams described creative events to engage families and other community members. The Caldera/Peninsula team wrote that they
hosted an Art Night where students and families worked at creative stations in the cafeteria that allowed people to combine art and literacy to create ornaments that will hang from a holiday tree in downtown Kenton.
The AIEG/Hood River team shared what they’ve learned about the power of a more proactive invitation:
To increase participation from bi-lingual families, we hired a Band Together Spanish language liaison. Liaison Rockwell Louke, called every Latino family and personally invited them to attend the event.
A few teams described ways in which they know students are engaging deeply in the work. The Three Rivers/IRVAC team wrote,
We noticed that through this group work students kept offering and volunteering to do more/ extra work. If their play was set in the 1960’s for example, they would volunteer to go home and research the period a bit more to have better ideas for their plays.
Bridging Two Organizational Cultures
But what stood out to us most in this first round of posts was how many teams shared challenges, successes, and surprises related to the bridging of their two organizational cultures. The Shedd/Agnes Stewart team wrote,
the biggest challenge has come in trying to take two different systems, that traditionally function in two very different ‘worlds’ and trying to bring them together.
In figuring out how to do this work together, you’ve already learned about…
Planning intentionally and including the right people in planning.
Many of the posts discussed the development of teams, or gathering of stakeholders well beyond your 4 person Studio to School project team. The Sisters team described how they are developing elementary and middle school learning teams and building engagement one step at a time.
We are going to engage both learning teams in a visioning process to create buy-in and school integration for the Studio to School work. Those team members will be critical in leading each building in our implementation.
The challenge of understanding how best to schedule and coordinate, and the importance of respecting and valuing one another’s time
The Oregon Symphony Association team described the challenge of finding time to meet, the value of early meetings and the development of a team to work on scheduling.
The value of learning about and building on what has happened previously in the community and school
– whether by putting students in vintage uniforms for a Pep Band throwback at the final football game at La Pine (Sunriver/Lapine), or discovering that the community in Elkton is more primed to support musical drama than the team might have guessed (Ethos/Elkton).
Connecting arts programming to the rest of the school day
Julie Putney, the 5th grade teacher at the King K-8 School (Pacific Crest/King), describes in detail how their team is intentionally connecting the work of the new band to other school subjects.
In the area of mathematics, we have been going deep into fractions. We have been working on looking at fractions and how the musical notes relate…. The ability for students to see and understand the relationships between one subject to another in a seamless way, and why these concepts are important, help students understand why learning these things is important…. As students increase their knowledge in fractions, and their knowledge of musical notation, they build a more solid foundation in their basic skills.
And identifying, recruiting, and engaging teachers in creative work
Many reflection posts discuss ways in which project teams are engaging in professional development for teachers. The Lane Arts/Oaklea team’s approach is to think of all teachers as part of the project. They wrote,
We assert that we are all inherently creative. We each have something significant to contribute, in a way that uniquely defines us. When we are present to this and share ourselves fully, we inspire others to be their full, creative selves.
The post from Siletz/Lincoln City touches on a number of these themes. While discussing their successes, they also included quotes from Rilke Klingsporn, the Principal of Oceanlake Elementary about challenges:
“Some of the challenges are balancing existing programs/structures with new the potentials of the project,” Klingsporn said. “Also, needing to move slowly and intentionally is sometimes hard to wait for. There is a lot that we want to do, but we also don’t want to overload the system or our teachers. If we take on a little bit at a time and let the program grow, it is more likely to be successful and sustainable.”
Siletz/Lincoln City is one of several teams that also included a nice summary of lessons learned so far. Their work to date has taught them about partnership and collaboration in decision-making, identifying needs and planning intentionally, and the importance of making quick decisions to keep things moving forward.
Logistics, space, and equipment
And then there are logistics, space, and equipment! A lot of the teams have worked hard to gear up for programming – to find instructors, to get things purchased, to dust off old equipment, or prepare space for art programming. These nuts and bolts are a big deal – an important part of “what it takes” to implement programming. We’ll be sure to continue to explore and capture lessons learned about these fundamental aspects of the project teams’ work.
We weren’t able to include examples from all project teams in this post, but we encourage everyone to read all posts and use the comments to engage in conversation about similarities, differences, and questions. We will try to comment as quickly as we’re able on everyone’s posts to get the conversation started.
What did we miss? Did you read anything in one another’s posts worth drawing everyone’s attention to? Any important solutions or creative approaches to share? Advice to give? Questions to ask?