Student Learning Success
Our La Pine/Sunriver Studio goal is to provide students with positive learning experiences in performing arts settings by restoring a band course option and offering other school and club activities. Levels of involvement range from simple exposure to skill building to actual performances before audiences. We hope that our students will develop personal connections to the arts and that they will express a desire to continue to participate in performing arts classes, clubs and experiences.
Measures of success will include positive attendance at school and at performing arts activities, sustained and increased numbers of student participation over time, and positive responses to end-of-year student survey questions.
Tracking Learning and Collecting Evidence
Within school coursework, such as band, choir and art, learning will be quantified by coursework grades and by school attendance.
Within co-curricular activities and clubs, learning will be tracked by student participation and by performances at school morning meetings and at public events such as our annual Evening of the Arts.
Analysis of this data will be completed in the summer.
At a mid-year Mentor Appreciation meeting, each of our music and performing arts activity leaders reported successes and challenges they faced working with students. All noted positive and moving interpersonal connections developed through working with their students.
Every student at La Pine Middle School has had at least some exposure to Studio activities, if only minimally as an audience participant at morning meetings. This year we are surveying all LPMS students to gather information about levels of student involvement, student reactions to their experiences, and how these experiences may or may not have influenced students to take part in future performing arts activities.
We also are administering mentor and an elementary student surveys to gather additional insight about the scope and success of our work.
All survey data will be compiled at the end of the school year and used by the Studio team to plan next year’s work. (Copies of these surveys are included at the end of this reflection.)
Finally, again this year we are producing a Studio to Schools year-end video of student and mentor activities in progress, performances, and individual testimony from students, mentors, project organizers and community supporters. This video will provide glimpses of activities and anecdotes from individuals about how their project involvement affected their lives.
This week we will finish the filming of our video. On our schedule is a planned interview with one of our guitar students. He and two others performed at the April Evening of the Arts. According to reports, all three students were apprehensive about performing before this audience of school and community leaders. Afterwards all were thrilled by the experience but this particular student was so moved by the experience, he asked his teacher to help him find additional places at which he could continue to perform publicly over the summer!
Learning About Tracking Student Learning in the Arts
As we attempt to track and measure student learning in this Studio to Arts Project, we agree that the task and measurable anticipated results are elusive. Grades and attendance can measure part of what we hope to accomplish. Anecdotes from mentors and students and video clips of students learning and performing provide another part of the picture.
It has been very gratifying for all of us to watch the commitment students make to be present at activities. The students’ connection to the task and their responsibilities, to their personal skill growth, and to new relationships with each other are evident. They appreciate being part of something they create together that is bigger than anything one individual can do alone. They are learning the strength and the power of creating and performing for a meaningful community event. They are taking ownership of their roles, feeling pride in being in a position to contribute, and they are building stronger personal self-confidence as they develop performance skills.
Although our committee believed from the beginning that deeper involvement in arts activities would have a positive effect on students’ lives, the degree to which we observe in so many of our students this pride of accomplishment and involvement was unexpected. At the Evening of the Arts the students were all business. They gave their all. There was no goofing off or taking this event lightly. Each one was there to perform and to give his/her best to their community! The audience sensed this tone and responded in kind.
What has been most challenging is managing a schedule in a small school that can provide continuity of experience in both school courses and access to all required coursework. The need for required credits that can sometimes be offered only the same time as band or choir or art means that some students cannot stay in a performance class all year, impacting that student and all the others who depend upon their presence. We make the adjustments and make do.
Similarly, offering experiences in after school clubs means that sometimes two clubs appealing to students must be offered on the same day(s,) forcing students to choose, not only among arts offerings but also sometimes between arts and sports involvement. We know time management and prioritizing are a fact of life, but we are working to minimize overlap as much as we can through creative scheduling and planning prior to the beginning of the school year.
Also challenging, with limited staffing, is providing differentiation of instruction in musical coursework. Ideally we wish we could offer separate beginning and advanced bands and choir, but we cannot afford to staff these electives separately. Instead, we have continued to group students together and to seek other creative ways to differentiate.
Planning for Next Year
Planning – We look forward to learning useful information from student and mentor surveys to help create a third year schedule of activities that will be as accessible and high quality as possible for our students, school staff and mentors.
Student Recruitment – This year we provided baseline elementary outreach experiences to generate and stimulate interest in the performing arts among younger students who will be attending LPMS in the future. At student LPMS orientation and registration LPMS staff and Studio committee members will be actively describing and promoting opportunities for involvement in the arts to inform students and their parents about these options and their value.
Strength of team – Many of the successes of the La Pine/Sunriver Studio to Schools Project are a result of strong teamwork, consistent membership, and diverse skills and perspectives of the Studio Committee Planning Team members
There has been only one change in our steering committee group membership – the addition of Robi Phinney. Robi replaced Jim Boen as LPMS Principal. Jim, however, remains part of our group. He participates in committee planning and activities whenever he can. For the second year, he and Pam Beezley, Sunriver Music Festival Director, worked together to emcee the Evening of the Arts. As Assistant Superintendent of South County Schools and as part of the Bend-La Pine District Leadership Team, Jim guides two-way communication and direction with school district officials to support project growth and to plan for future sustainability.
Robi, as LPMS Principal, has made Studio activities and planning a priority in her schedule, incorporating performing arts goals into her overall school planning for the future. She is “hands-on,” managing many of the technical details of effective school implementation.
Michael Chavarin, LPMS music teacher, continues to build connections, understanding and support for the project with other staff members as they create new ways to involve themselves and other teachers in connecting their students with the arts. Next year a high school language arts teacher, with a strong drama background, will to work with Michael and others to produce a grade 6-12 student musical.
Pam Beezley, Project Lead, guides all aspects of the project. She works closely with Gayle Vidal, Evaluation Liason and Project Director, and Stefanie Bright, Parent and Community Coordinator, to attend to all details, large and small, to move our project forward.
Ongoing work at present – Studio Committee members are working with school staff and mentors, planning summer work to prepare for the 2016-2017 school year. Musical instruments and supplies are being ordered and readied for the coming year. In September Spring, 2016 survey results will be shared with school staff and mentors and the third year activity schedule will be finalized.
Studio to Schools
Sunriver Music Festival/ La Pine Schools
Middle School Student Survey
1. Check the Studio Project activities listed below in which you participated this 2015-16 school year.
_____ Band Class_____Guitar Club_____ Jazz Band _____ Drama Club _____ Choir _____ Digital Photography Club_____ Music Lab _____ Aaron Meyer/Tim Ellis Songwriting/Performing _____Art Class and/or Lab ______ Plan to attend SRMF August Concert _____ PE Jump Rope/Dance Unit
2. From your participation in these activities did you gain new knowledge, skills and opportunities?
3. Was being part of the activities you chose a positive or negative social experience?
4. Do you plan to continue to take part in arts activities next year?
5. Which activities were your favorites? What would you like to add?
Elementary Student Survey
1. Which Studio Project activities listed below did you take part in this 2015-16 school year?
______ Ukulele Class ______ Keyboarding
______ Recorders ______ Art Projects
2. From your participation in these activities did you gain new knowledge, skills and opportunities?
3. Was being part of these activities a positive or negative social experience?
4. Do you want to continue to take part in arts activities next year?
5. Which activities were your favorites?
Mentors: As a team our Studio Committee has been asked to respond to the following questions in a Reflection Journal entry focusing on project evaluation.
We know these are difficult questions and we are eager to gather your thoughts to combine with our own in our response due May 31st. Simple responses or saying you don’t know is fine. We are all feeling our way here!
1. How did you define success with regards to student learning? What evidence did you expect to have per your plan?
2. How did you track or measure student learning this year? Share any tools used (e.g. rubrics)
3. Have you seen (or perhaps heard) and collected evidence of student learning? Share a summary or examples of evidence of student learning.
4. What did you learn about tracking or measuring student learning this year (either about the process or the results)? Did you discover anything unexpected? Was anything particularly challenging?
5. How will you use what you learned to inform your efforts next year?