Moving Up SmART in Everett!

AEMDD funds an exciting new partnership between SmART Schools and Everett (MA) Public Schools

SmART Schools is excited to announce a new partnership with the Everett (MA) Public Schools! Through a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program (AEMDD), the partnership plans to develop a grades 5-8 model—Moving Up SmART. The partnership will design, develop, implement and evaluate the program in 3 of Everett’s K-8 schools. It is expected that over 1000 students and 70 teachers will be participating in Moving Up SmART.

Moving Up SmART has four interrelated goals: (1) integrate standards-based arts education into the core curriculum; (2) strengthen standards-based arts instruction across grades 5-8; (3) improve students’ academic performance including their skills in creating, performing, and responding in and through the arts utilizing all four arts disciplines; and (4) develop an effective Grades 5-8 transition model built upon a meaningful partnership between the three target schools. This last goal represents a new component that will be developed and tested in Moving Up SmART.

The program also seeks to create a pathway for the elementary grade students (K-4) who will be moving into grades 5-8 over the duration of the project. The district’s decision to create a link among the 3 Everett schools holds great promise for demonstrating the efficacy of the arts in improving academic achievement and increasing the social success of participating students.

The Moving Up SmART model includes seven specific objectives: (1) daily standards-based instruction in the arts; (2) daily integration of the arts (music, dance, theatre, and visual arts) across all core academic subject areas; (3) culturally responsive classroom practices; (4) arts-centered Professional Learning Communities supported by Collaborative Leadership Teams and ongoing professional development; (5) safe, personalized, inclusive school culture; (6) partnerships with parents, community, arts and cultural organizations, and higher education; and (7) an effective grades K-4 to middle school transition model that creates a true pathway for academic and social success.

As in the past, intensive professional development for participating Everett teachers will be provided by SmART Schools’ staff and its nationally renowned core of distinguished master teaching artists such as Magdalena Gomez, Kurt Wootton, Robert Allwarden, and Cathy Davis Hayes.  The SmART Schools administrative and development team includes Eileen Mackin, Project Founder and Co-Director; Robert Mackin, Co-Director and Director of Secondary Schools; and Taylor Amaio Fletcher, Training & Development Assistant & Arts-in-Education Specialist.

A powerful quasi-experimental evaluation will be undertaken by UCLA Center X, and strong efforts to model and disseminate the outcomes of this effort will occur.

Moving Up SmART will enhance and expand SmART Schools highly successful, evidence-based arts-in-education model. SmART Schools has been implemented in 20 schools across the country over the past fourteen years.

Rhode Island Foundation Supports the Start-up of a New Secondary Initiative

Moving Up SmART: Meeting High Standards at the Secondary Level!

Given the dramatic data emerging from many secondary schools —high dropout rates, dismal performance in math and literacy, the lack of readiness for careers and college—particularly for those poor and minority students living in urban areas, SmART Schools seeks to expand and intensify its work at the secondary level. With the emergence of Common Core State Standards, the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), along with recent Rhode Island policy initiatives (across the six academic subjects, including the arts) there is a significant need for a program that will provide support to schools and teachers in meeting these new standards and expectations.

In that spirit, with special thanks to a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation, SmART Schools will launch this exciting new secondary initiative with a five day Summer Institute – Moving Up SmART: Meeting High Standards at the Secondary Level, to be held in Providence, Rhode Island, August 15-19.  Registration fees for 125 educators from qualifying urban secondary schools will be covered in full by the grant.

This project will begin with a focus on secondary teachers who work with low-performing urban students. At the same time the SmART Schools model has proven to be successful with schools, teachers and students from all demographic areas.  It can effectively build upon and reflect the diversity found throughout the state and ultimately should be considered as a vehicle to improve student performance on a larger scale, for any secondary school.

Following the August 2011 institute, SmART Schools will be seeking additional funding for ongoing academic year follow-up support including mini-institutes, on-site professional development and technical support for this first round of secondary schools.

Click here for registration details!

SmART Schools Summer Institute 2011 Flyer

Santa Monica Festival

Dates: Saturday, May 8, 2010
Location: Clover Park, 2600 Ocean Park Blvd. Santa Monica

The Santa Monica Festival, staged  each May, is filled with eclectic music, dance, visual arts, food, and information with an environmental and community focus. SmART Schools West participated for a second year with a booth and gallery of student work. Also this year, two of our teaching artists performed on the festival's Youth Stage.

Surrounding our booth was a gallery of visual and written work showcasing integration of science, literature and art. Visitors were invited to respond to the works, presented as a cordel where they coudl leave comments for the creators on their individual pieces. Festival goers also had an opportunity to view natural objects using several 100mm magnifiers. We presented a diatom design project with an opportunity to create art works using multiple images of beautiful, geometric phytoplankton.

On the Youth Stage Ana Maria Alvarez presented "Movement and Life Cycles". Together with students from Will Rogers Learning Community, Maria Alvarez showcased movement as a means to express the life cycle of the butterfly. The expressive gestures of the students demonstrated how creative choreography can bring concepts of science and nature to life.

Following Ana Maria was Master Teaching Artist in Music, John Zeretzke with "Sound, Vibration and Music". John guided the audience and a set of student performers through an exploration of the properties of sound and vibration. Several students and John created music with a variety of percussion and wind instruments: some various cultures, some made from found objects, and others constructed on stage. Their performance demonstrated how scientific knowledge can be understood through music making.

Santa Monica Festival

Dates: Saturday, May 9, 2009
Location: Clover Park, 2600 Ocean Park Blvd. Santa Monica

Share in the SmART Schools West Project:

SmART Schools West participating schools are invited to share in an experience at the Santa Monica Festival by staging a Green Cordel. The Green Cordel will celebrate and showcase environment themed work created by students from four SmART Schools sites in Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District: Edison Language Academy, John Muir Elementary, McKinley Elementary and Will Rogers Learning Community. In addition it will offer festival visitors thier own opportunity to reflect upon and respond to a variety of thought provoking green themed images, literature and facts and place their creative work on display. The Green Cordel will allow the public to add comments to all of the displayed works, bringing one more level of interactivity to the project.

“Literatura de cordel” (string literature) has been a part of Brazilian culture for over a hundred years, descended from a Portuguese practice that began in the 17th century. Cordel literature are pamphlets that hang from a piece of string (cordel) in the public places where they are sold. Typically, they are narrative poems with woodcut illustrations on the cover, often done by the poet himself. The work frequently expresses a powerful personal or political message. Acquired through SmART Schools professional development and Inspired by the its history and potential, Santa Monica teachers are using the cordel in their classrooms to create and showcase meaningful student work. It is a powerful tool that employs easy, inexpensive materials (paper, pencils, string and clips). Students can make their work public at their own pace – the process is open ended: work can be taken down, edited, and replaced. This democratic means of publication symbolizes how creative work can be a social, community process. It vividly embodies SmART Schools core principle of learning in and through the arts.

The Green Cordel will consist of four parts:

  1. One cord, Student Cordel, will a display a selection of finished student work created around green themes. Students, whose work is on display, will be available to answer questions, talk about their work and discuss the process. Works will be both literary and visual. Throughout the day the public will not only experience the creative work, but they are allowed and encouraged to interact with it by posting comments (reflections, compliments, questions) on the student work with post-it notes.

  2. Cordel work is often created as a response to specific images, literature or events. A second cord will contain a selection of green themed images, poetry, literature and facts - appropriate to multiple age levels - provided for inspiration.

  3. A set of work tables, manned by student docents, myself and adult volunteers, will make simple materials available for festival visitors to create their own written or visual works. Each ‘seating’ of festival attendees will have the purpose and methods of the “Green Cordel” explained. Students will guide visitors in the making and display of their work. Individuals will explore the cordel containing thought provoking items and create their pieces in response.

  4. A third, Open Cordel, cord will be strung as a gallery for works created by visitors. Individuals will be welcome to post comments on these works as well. Student docents will manage dispensing of post-its for both cordels. Visitors who have created work are welcome to return any time and edit or revise their piece as inspired to do so or in response to remarks attached to their work.

Join us for this exciting event!


Lynn Robb
Site Coordinator, SmART Schools West

SmART Schools SMFestival.pdf

Fact Sheet 2009.pdf

Habla: The Center for Culture and Language

SmART Schools has launched a bold and innovative pilot program as part of an exciting international partnership with Habla: The Center for Culture and Language, a lab school and an international center based in Merida, Mexico. A group of individuals in the US, Mexico, and Brazil joined together to begin to create an international network of artists, educators, and organizational leaders with the idea that policy, research, and best teaching practices in the field of arts education need to be shared across borders. This international partnership has resulted in Habla, the lab school and an international center based in Merida. The architects of Habla—including arts leaders such as Richard Deasy, Nick Rabkin, Arnie Aprill, and Doris Sommer believe that cultural immersion is one of the most powerful possibilities for transforming both educators and youth.

Merida, the capital city of the state of Yucatan serves as the ideal lens for teachers and artists to experience the complex mix of cultures that exists in many Latin American countries and communities. The fusion of ancient, colonial, and modern culture is evident in the architecture and works of art present both in and around the city. Ancient Mayan ruins—including the famous Chichin Itza and Uxmal—are a short drive from the city and Mayan towns surround the city of Merida. Haciendas, churches, and state buildings located both in the center of the city are examples of the Spanish colonial influence. The people of the Yucatan are a unique mix with influences from the Mayan, Spanish, and more recent international cultures from around the globe. Merida is the perfect place to introduce visitors to the complexity of Mexican and Hispanic culture and to challenge the often homogenizing use of these terms. In the Mexico-based institute, teachers/artists leaders will experience, the complexity of the arts and culture in the Yucatan, and have conversations about how students from all cultural backgrounds bring a vast set of cultural and artistic resources to the classroom. The institute will challenge educators' cultural assumptions and supportively help them to reflect on their own cultures as well as the cultures they are experiencing.

The SmART Schools and Habla partnership will conduct ongoing professional development, designed and facilitated by Habla's co-founders and co-directors Kurt Wootton and Maria del Mar Patron-Vazquez, and SmART Schools founder and director, Eileen Mackin. This professional development will be offered to participating SmART Schools arts educators, classroom teachers, administrators, and program master teaching artists, from both the East and West Coasts of the United States.

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