Supplies arrived today!

B&H Photo may have just relocated their warehouse in my office because I am overloaded with LTP supplies for this year! We just received boxes and boxes of printers, photo paper, memory cards, cameras and ink cartridges. The best part is….there is more to come!


Article: Positive impact of arts on education, behavior and career success

“Arts education has positive impact on student behavior, career success, expert says”

by David N. Dunkle, The Patriot-News

Published: Sunday, October 16, 2011, 1:59 PM

Jonathan Katz doesn’t back down when people question claims that arts education in schools has a beneficial impact on such crucial issues as student behavior, standardized test scores and career success.

The proof for those claims is overwhelming and long-standing, the nationally known arts funding expert told a group of educators and artists gathered in Harrisburg on Thursday for a daylong symposium.

For example, he said, comprehensive studies show that children who have music education do better in math, and economically disadvantaged students who have arts classes are far less likely to drop out.

At a time when American schools are battling to meet new basic education standards, the value of arts education has never been more clear, Katz said. Yet across the country, many financially challenged schools are choosing to cut arts programs aimed at developing the creative talents of children.

“Arts learning should be a core component of schools’ turnaround strategies,” the CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies said in his keynote address at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. “We have increasing evidence over a long period of time that the arts help children to learn more and better.” Thursday’s symposium, organized by the Harrisburg-based Education Policy and Leadership Center, was aimed at finding ways to get that message across to lawmakers, policy makers and school officials as they make decisions about budgets and funding for schools and the arts.

The culmination will be an EPLC Arts and Education Initiative report scheduled to be issued in February. The document will lay out the evidence for the value of arts education as well as recommend programs, strategies and policies that will more strongly incorporate it into school curriculums.

The report is being developed by a study group made of arts and school leaders from across the state. Among the 32 members is Harrisburg actor Anne Alsedek, one of the founders of the Capital Area School for the Arts, former Pennsylvania Department of Education arts adviser Clyde McGeary and Harrisburg schools superintendent Sybil Knight-Burney.

Participants at Thursday’s symposium were able to choose among nine panel discussions offered during the day, including conversations about the role of new technology and social media in arts education, ways to measure and report the effectiveness of arts education, and how to effectively advocate for the arts.

Panels featured well-known experts in arts education, such as Sandra Ruppert, a scholarly author (“Critical Links”) who directs the Arts Education Partnership in Washington, D.C.

Ruppert said that too few states are making serious efforts to study the impact of arts education on overall school performance.

“That’s the sad story in all but a handful of states,” she said during a discussion about setting academic standards for arts education that would mirror similar standards in reading, math and science. “Unless you assess it down to the district level, you have no way of knowing how effective arts education is.”

The event was co-sponsored by Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and Historical Organizations, Pennsylvania Art Education Association and Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.

First Person Festival virtual brochure is up!

Photographs and writing by last year’s students from Nueva Esperanza Academy High School will be on view in a few weeks during  First Person Festival, November 10 – 20 on the 4th Floor of Christ Church Neighborhood House located at 2nd Street just North of Market. Check out the Virtual Brochure for more details on page 23 of 25!

It’s Day Two!

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For the workshop today we are in the middle of a fabulous presentation by Kim Gavin, Dan Fitzsimmons, and Jaime Rowlyk of William Cramp Elementary School. They are discussing lessons learned, strategies used, and classroom tips gathered during their first year of LTP. For our new teachers involved in the program this year, information and resources like these are invaluable.

The tips and work they shared with the group will be available under the “Teaching Tools” section of this blog by the end of the week.

LTP Workshop – Day One

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While our new teachers in the 2011-12 Class of LTP (soon to be officially announced!) are out and about taking photographs as part of the first activity of the workshop, I thought I would share with you what we’ve been working on all morning.

The day began with everyone in the room introducing themselves and telling the group one word they associate with WRITING and one word they associate with PHOTOGRAPHY.

Some of the responses for Writing included: Passion, Challenging, I don’t like it, Love, Infinite possibilities, Creative, Heart, Ideas, Truth, Storytelling, Documentation.

For Photography some said: Not my favorite, Fun, Truth, Taking, Capture, Diversity, Small moment, Love and Documentation.

This was done to not only take attendance, but to get a sense of where everyone stood in their feelings towards, and association with writing and photography. This is an easy way to assess your classroom before introducing them to LTP to find out what they think now about photography and writing, and how those feelings and perceptions might change over the course of working with the LTP.

We spent the morning learning basic steps for investigating images and language by reading photographs, talking about concrete details (exact objects, people and things you can see) to what those concrete details inferred about the content and intentions of the image. We looked at photographs by Helen Levitt and Vivian Meier, two wonderful photographers to use as reference when introducing students to photography. We then asked our teachers to share their point of view in the image by telling first person stories drawn from the details and inferences we had just discussed.

Following that exercise, we turned the tables, listening to poetry and learning how to identify the words and phrases that help to unravel meaning in poetry, discussing as a group how to turn language into image.

Now to the task at hand, our teachers are creating self-potraits by working in groups to find or construct a photograph describing who they are based on a free write exercise. I am anxious to see what they come back with!