In 1991, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and the Anchorage School District were chosen to participate in the first Partners in Education Institute at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Since then, Anchorage-area teachers from all grade levels have been attending performances, lectures and participatory workshops as part of our Partners In Education Program.
Many of the artists teach in the program through collaborative relationships with the Anchorage Museum, Alaska State Council on the Arts, Alaska Native Arts Foundation, resident company bookings, and the Kennedy Center Presenter's Network. These artists create a series of 5 to 6 in-depth, multi-sectioned workshops for which teachers receive continuing education credit from the University of Alaska Anchorage. (Teachers in ASD's Gifted and Talented Program may also use these workshops for credit in their specialized field.)
Participatory workshops provide teachers with hands-on experience in two ways: by exploring the concepts and processes of a particular art form; and/or examining the interrelationship between an art form and other curriculum areas. Workshops that explore an art form provide teachers with classroom tools to encourage students in creative expression through activities such as movement and role-playing. Teachers learn to assess their works and that of their fellow teachers. Workshops that examine the relationship between an art form and other curriculum areas bridge the connection between the art form and specific curriculum areas such as science, history, math and language arts.
Performance Lectures are 30-minute introductions given to teachers prior to some performances. Lectures are presented by an expert on the art form and often times the composers and choreographers make guest appearances and make brief statements about the motivational aspects leading to the creation. The art form is described and history is provided.
Course study is designed by the partnership team consisting of Julie Millington, Vice President of the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, and Elizabeth Hunt, Music teacher at Huffman with an M.S in Arts Integration. The team participates in annual meetings at the Kennedy Center which provides models and planning strategies to expand professional development in the Arts.
This PIE workshop was yet another inspiring experience. It gave me new ideas about how to nurture creativity in students and provided practical tools to help students with their artistic expression. I discovered simple and fun activities that develop healthy habits for mind and body and stimulate students' smartness and success. I am going to share this wealth with other teachers in many schools.