"Real success is about who you are and how far you’ve come."
Dr. Travis Bradberry
The month of May marks the Elementary Arts Month at the Center for the Arts which included our big blow out celebration of the District Wide Arts Showhttp://bit.ly/1R2WStO ; the Poetry Jam http://bit.ly/1XBlbH6 ; and the Film Festival http://bit.ly/1W5eMo4. This month also marks the end of an era for our elementary arts program...
I was daydreaming about the last eight years of our program at the last meeting I attended. I was fighting to stay awake through all of the educational jargon when I realized this must be what success feels like... not successful, but very tired.
The past eight years have seen major growth in the elementary fine arts program and middle school bridge program with the seed funding from the Fine Arts Education Act. Next year, our program is adding the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and doubling in size. We have the official launch tomorrow of that 21st CCLC initiative focusing on STE(A)M and after school programs.
Here is the link to the Media Meeting about the District Wide Art Show and 21st CCLC Program Launch:
Here is the link to the 21st CCLC program design: http://prezi.com/ualclzq9q2aw/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share
The Fine Arts and the 21st CCLC projects are a collaborative effort. Collectively, they are also a very large endeavor. We are bringing on very talented new people to the team and developing a substantial layer of leadership from all corners of the district. All the while in the midst of a major system change in education and the world at large. We certainly have much to worry about; and also much to discover about ourselves and how far we can go together.
Broadmoor, Jefferson and Southern Heights Elementary kicked off the Special Program Concert Series for 2016. They certainly brought the rain on Friday. Click on this links below for the full performance:
Special Programs Concert Part 1: http://bit.ly/1RYUo74
Special Programs Concert Part 2: http://bit.ly/1RLDALd
SPUR TV Movie Feature: http://bit.ly/1RLJtbk
Principal's List Movie Feature: http://bit.ly/1RLJV9A
“We have the power to change...
We used to be a nation that was #1 in all categories of innovation.
We are now #10.
But remember those powerful 10 two letter words...
“if it is to be, it is up to me.”
So nothing in the world changes unless we do...
and we are a product of that change.
We have the power to create change.”
- Senator Cory Booker
The Southern Heights Elementary Project started with a seed inventory of three dusty piano keyboards in a portable building a few years ago. This project has grown into a full blown rock band class, ballet folkloric class, piano class, ballroom class, photography/film class and theater class. This massive project has set the bar high for special programming in the district. This 21st Century Fine Arts Project has lead the way for more programming around the district which includes the Principal List (a multimedia class) and Drum Circle Class at Jefferson Elementary and Ukulele Class at Broadmoor Elementary. It takes creativity, respect, humility and grit to build special programs around Principal Hunt’s vision for adults to start asking students “What will you be famous for?”
Performing Arts are a mandate in New Mexico in K-8th Grade. Performing Arts Instruction is supported by a K-5th Grade funded mandate called the Fine Arts Education Act of New Mexico. Learning through the arts is also an integral part of the overall educational experience of an elementary student in the public schools in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Recently, the Wallace Foundation published a report called “Something to Say” about best practices in arts programming. According to the report, the number one factor that determines a successful art program is the professional teachers who teach the classes. The qualified teacher determines the level of excellence their students can achieve. Broadmoor, Jefferson and Southern Heights Elementary are good examples of following this best practice for executing quality arts programs. Our professional teachers partner with the Hobbs Municipal Schools to fulfill these important state mandates with excellence.
There is something to be said for people who walk about eight paces ahead of everyone else - the innovators. Who do not take no for an answer, they just find a better way. They don’t rely on the small library of knowledge we already know, but are driven towards the larger part of the world that is yet to be discovered. They learn to do larger things by collaborating across classrooms, school buildings, even across districts in the state.
This project involves professional musicians like Arnold Cardon who performs guitar professionally but shares his talents with the students at Southern Heights and Heizer Middle School. We have recruited Emily Hayward who took on the Ukulele Project for the district at Broadmoor Elementary. Her husband, Dan Hayward, who is a talented Math Teacher at Houston Middle School, is helping us provide sign language for the Ukulele performance. Amanda Heister, a musician who shares her talents with her students every week created the drum circle at Jefferson Elementary. Marisol Forrister has helped innovate media arts programming with the Principal’s List at Jefferson Elementary. We involved dance teachers like Catherine Brijalba and Shannon Wright who share their love of folkloric dance and ballroom dance respectively with their students. We have also partnered with some talented teachers at Southern Heights including Andrea Brzezinski Zielsdorf, Makayla McCormick and Eric Stevenson who teach the SPUR TV class and Catherine Brijalba and Diane Salinas who teach the Spur Thespian Class.
This collaboration of schools represents the innovative leadership flagship of the district fine arts program that has seen regional and national recognition for its programming with excellence. This team of professionals combined with a group of talented students are always ready to try something new. They have helped our elementary fine arts program develop a template for bridging programs to the middle school and for afterschool programming. This template now includes four main components:
Enrichment in the Arts and Sciences
We are also developing four clear lanes for programming: Middle School Bridge Programs, General Art and Music Classes offered during the school day, Community Partnerships in the Performing Arts and After School Programs. All of those areas are developing new layers of leadership in the district arts program. This is why it is time to take the special programs to the next level from innovative beta projects and scale them into a program structure that will serve the district well in years to come.
Thank you for supporting the arts and your students.
Elementary Fine Arts Coordinator
Hobbs Municipal Schools
*Senator Cory Booker quote from a "StarTalk" episode
“If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”- Isaac Newton
I am staying awake in my room at the Hotel Chicago waiting for my 3:45 am shuttle to the airport for a red-eye flight back to New Mexico. This allows me to reflect on my experience at the 2016 National Art Education Association (NAEA) National Convention in Carl Sandburg's "city of the big shoulders".
Dr. Jean Houston began the convention with her story of an inventive child who thought differently and was ill served by the traditional educational system. Dr. Houston inspired us to look for new out-of-the-box ways to bring out the "possible human" in every student at this time of massive system changes.
William Strickland, the President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, commented this afternoon that, "Every person is born into this world as an asset... it is their environment that determines if they become a liability."
There was also a kind shuttle driver who talked to the group in between wrestling her way through the Chicago traffic from the Hilton to the Convention Center. She beamed about her grand-kids getting straight A's after she put them in a school with high standards. Another reminder that parents and grandparents only have one chance with their students and they want to get it right.
I presented about our current innovative leadership in the media arts in New Mexico. The presentation is at this link: http://prezi.com/88hjlqj7n4el/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share Yet, it was talking to my colleagues with their unique presentations and conversations about leadership that helped open my mind to even more possibilities. Ofcourse, every time I talk to Michelle Lemons, our three-time NAEA Art Teacher Award Winner from New Mexico, I learn something new.
Listening to these people of action inspire me to take our efforts in Hobbs, New Mexico to the next level.
While in Chicago, I had a morning routine of "carbo-loading" on bread, lots of butter, potatoes and eggs covered in Tabasco sauce at the French Restaurant down the street from the hotel. This gave me enough energy for all of the walking (this is a trick I learned in Europe in the old college days). I followed my I-Phone Maps through Grant Park and crossed the bridge from the Maggie Daley to the Millennium Park. I meandered past the Harris Theater over to the Cloud Gate sculpture and then into the Art Institute of Chicago in the heart of this amazing arts district.
Inside the Art Institute of Chicago, I walked through a large portion of my college art history book looking at the originals of Grant Wood's "American Gothic". Edward Hopper's "Night Hawks" and Georges Seurat's gigantic "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte".
On my final day I walked up the steps past the looming abstract bronze sculptures and into the Chicago Field Museum to see the Terra Cotta Warrior Exhibit from the ancient city of Xi'an. I walked into the grand hall past the large Pacific Northwest Totems around the Elephants and over to the T-Rex. Choral music originating from the center of the exhibit area spreading in a cathedral-style surround sound throughout the hall. In the midst of the gathering crowd you could see a school choir. Finally, I could not miss seeing the Tsavo Lion skulls. Those were the lions from the legend adapted into the movie, "The Ghost and The Darkness", about overcoming fear and the focused mission of a bridge builder in Africa.
And while we are on the subject of a focused mission... It is clear that Art Education is on the verge of some great things with education experiencing "a systems change". The arts continue to be on the side of progress. The artist mind is agile enough to paint "Night Hawks", to design and mold a Terra Cotta Warrior Army, or to create a millennium bridge from education's past to the future. The artist and teacher are an asset in an educational system change coupled with the ebb and flow of the oil patch and national economy.
In the end, there will always be people who bet against a student, a school or a city; and there will always be people who double down on their community. One of them will always be right. Only time will tell... and like Dr. Houston said, it is in the hands of the "possible human". One who stands on big shoulders and who will someday find a way to provide big shoulders for the next wave of leaders.
Now it is back to New Mexico where there is a lot of work yet to be done...
“The creative individual is no longer viewed as an iconoclast.
He—or she—is the new mainstream.”
― Richard Florida
The Rise of the Creative Class--Revisited: 10th Anniversary Edition--Revised and Expanded
The Middle School Musical on Friday at Tydings Auditorium was quite a success! For their fans, they can view the full
Full Performance Part 1: http://bit.ly/1nZ5sU6
Full Performance Part 2 and Director Interviews: http://bit.ly/1WXzDHa
We would like to thank all of the teachers and students who created this performance seen by over 800 students, parents and community people on Friday. We would also like to thank the participating principals for shepherding this project every year towards excellence.
"Adventures of a Comic Book Hero," was choreographed and directed by Hobbs High School Studio Theater students. This project is part of the fine arts bridge program from the elementary schools to the high school for Theatre Arts. As always, you can keep up with all of the upcoming fine arts events like the Middle School Musical on our Fine Arts Homepage: http://www.hobbsschools.net/department/FineArts
It sounded like a great idea to have a 6th-grade musical in the middle of winter in 2012. That was before we saw the forecast reminding us of La Niña and a snowstorm worthy of Anchorage hit Hobbs. The audition was postponed twice. Parents called school offices to see if school was cancelled and if auditions were cancelled - but not necessarily in that order.
This first-ever sixth-grade play had a challenging start. However, it taught the students a valuable lesson about an old saying of the theatre world “the show must go on”. We are not promised a warm summer every day of our life. We will wake up some days and have plenty of snow and ice to choreograph our way through. This is what the arts teach students. The show must go on.
After the snow and ice melt away, you still have to show up. You still have to do your best. You still have to attempt excellence and leave it all on the stage. We followed that flagship group of 6th graders through middle school and a few are actually directing this year as high school theater students. The 6th Grade Musical became a full Middle School Play for 6th-8th grade students. The project also created a new term used around the state called “Bridge Programming.” The entire project is archived at this link:
The classroom teachers have been very impressed by the maturity and poise of the Theatre Studio Class who cast and directed the play. We thank the elementary classroom teachers and the high school drama teacher, Summer Rickman, who helped structure the rehearsals to set the middle school actors up for success. We thank the elementary school principals that coordinated the bussing of their 5th grade students over to Tydings Auditorium for the afternoon performance. And most importantly we thank the middle school students for showing up and doing their best every day. We hope you enjoyed “The Adventures of a Comic Book Artist.” It represents the first major bridge between the elementary and secondary fine arts departments.
This year, Summer Rickman and her High School Studio Theatre Class have added a component with “Studio Sessions” on a couple of Saturdays in the fall. This weekend theatre camp help prepare both directors and middle school theatre arts students for a big production like the Middle School Musical.
It is easy in the middle of winter, to focus on the lesser angels of being at school. The lagging economy, the bitter cold where Summer Break seems so far away. This is the time of year for the Middle School Musical. This year, I find myself having to do a double take as some of the actors and directors go out the door after rehearsal. Many of these directors and actors have grown up before our eyes on the stage. They might have started as a floppy petal flower in the “Wizard of Oz” and now have more grown up roles in “Adventures of a Comic Book Artist”. This year, we also have some Studio Theatre Class students who were part of the inaugural Middle School Musical group in 6th Grade many years ago.
This bridge between the elementary, middle school and high school has been a long process to get to where it is now. It has become a model for other districts around the state and has grown organically here in the Hobbs Municipal Schools. We now have bridge programs at Southern Heights Elementary and Heizer Middle School in Ballet and Rock Band. This year, we also have a new middle school theatre arts class which was a welcome addition as an elective to Houston Middle School. There are also other programs already having conversations about their place in future bridge projects.
This bridge is a familiar path for many young theatre arts students who belong to this new generation of young artists (comic book or otherwise). Their mission is to innovate, to build bridges, and to be a part of the fastest growing economic sector of the 21st Century - the Creative Economy.
Thank you for supporting the arts and your students.
Elementary Fine Arts Coordinator
Hobbs Municipal Schools