S2S e-journal reflection #12
Sisters – Year 5

Coyote Moon”                                                                     photo: Todd Moen
Staff and students of Sisters Elementary School create “Coyote Moon” as a celebration of S2S and the “Alpine to Desert” permanent art installation.

The past year has been a one of sorrow and celebration, challenge and accomplishment, and the Studio to School initiative has been a bright light in it all in Sisters.  Our partnership with the Sisters schools has strengthened despite two new principals entering the District at both Sisters Elementary and Middle Schools.  Our hope is that despite administrative changes, the culture and commitment to arts and music education is enduring, and by all accounts it seems to be sustaining and getting stronger.

Artist Residency “Alpine to Desert”                                   photo: Brad Tisdel
The visual arts teachers have dedicated time and expertise to support one another in creating a scope and sequence for the District. Our ability to hire a teaching artist for the middle school 7/8 elective class has helped tremendously to shore up k-12 arts, as our art teacher Bethany Gunnarson is now full time at the high school.  Additionally, new artist residencies with the Missoula Children’s Theater and a continuation of the community-wide “Alpine to Desert” permanent art integration and installation have created a depth in programming that compliments much of our efforts.

Artist residency (k-8)                                                                 photo provided
The Missoula Children’s Theater, “The Wiz of the West”  was a community-wide theater arts offering through S2S in 2018.

Going into year 5, we are planning to measure student access, learning and performance in visual arts with portfolios, specifically a sampling of 4th graders’ work, and using a rubric developed by teachers and community artists last year.  Community artists looking closely at their work has been a great way to engage professionals and educators in the process.  These 4thgrade students have had arts programming k-4 through S2S, and they will be an important cohort to follow through their academic career.  We will also be looking closely at the 5th and 6th grade students with digital portfolios to see “transfer of ownership” and their development of skills, concepts and engagement. Through interviews with students we will capture their reflections and self-understanding of themselves as learners.   One of the newest endeavors was the creation of the first Sisters Middle School Art Night, which we plan to be an annual event.

SMS Middle School Art Night
Last year we were successful in creating an S2S video to help tell our story, and premiered this video last year at our My Own Two Hands community celebration to great reception. The work of the video helped us to clarify our evaluation work.  As we go into interviews next year with students and teachers, we will be better prepared for “mining” info that will be helpful in our data collection.


Music Education Year 5 / SMS Jazz Combo                      photo: Brad Tisdel
As we delve deeper into the year 5 and establish our sustainability model, music education will become a key component.  We plan to build a k-12 scope and sequence in partnership with all music teachers in the District.

After-School Strings                                                          
   photo: Brad Tisdel
Students grades 3-6 perform in concert at the end of session 2, (March 2018) with both beginner and intermediate classes.

With the addition of a new hire for music education at SES, we will be developing a k-8 (ultimately k-12) scope and sequence for curriculum, and through interviews with teachers will assess the degree of preparation for students entering band and choir in the 6thgrade.  In year 5, we have recently shared the cost with the District to purchase Quaver Music Curriculum, k-8 which will compliment the 5thgrade General Music/Keyboard lab, the after-school strings programs, the 8thgrade and high school Americana Project classes, the after school jazz combo class and the band and choir offerings of the District. Our focus will be to work with the music teachers to develop the continuity of the curriculum to fully establish these programs, to continue and sustain the after-school strings program, and to solidify programming k-12 for music education in the Sisters School District.

As we look to close out year 5, our plan is to have a team of educators, administrators, school board and community members committed to the vision to sustain comprehensive, relevant and systemic high-quality opportunities for students to engage in arts learning. Further, we hope our financial model of the school District taking on salary positions of the arts teachers we have helped establish will build the sustainable model for access to the arts for all students for years to come.

   Guest Artist Visit/Field trip March 2018                           photo: Brad Tisdel
Golden Dragon Acrobats at the Tower Theater