Posted in education, Gifted, School, tagged art, dance, education, Gifted, magnet program, MCPS, middle school, music on June 7, 2010 |
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Do you remember commenter Rockzana? I first corresponded with the MCPS middle schooler back in January, when she wrote to alert me to her school’s advocacy page in conjunction with the then looming threats to magnet transportation. [Update: Magnet and special program busing is safe for another year. It's just the Superintendent's failsafe way to rile parents up, and persuade them to lobby on behalf of his budget. Works like a charm.]
Anyway, I got an email from her mom this evening. She wrote:
I know my daughter Rockzana (Roxy) has been emailing you off and on…
I thought I would let you know that she gave her Keynote Speech “Learning in and Through the Arts” at the Cultural Arts for Education Conference last week to a SRO auditorium (they were actually sitting in the aisles). At the end she received a standing O! As part of her speech she created a video and so many of the attendees wanted to have a copy of it that I today I posted it up on YouTube. I thought you might like to see it.
To really appreciate the video you need to know the intro for it (she had graphics to go along with this as well):
“If I had a magic wand and could grant each of you a wish right now that would magically change your life, how many of you would take that wish? What would you change about life? Would you move, change how much you weigh, how tall you are, the color of your hair, change your job, or maybe even your significant other? Ummhmm…
Well as for me, right now, my life is just fine. And yes, you may think it’s that way because I do acting and modeling and get to travel and meet famous people. However, it really is due to the fact that for the past three years I’ve been Learning in and Through the Arts. I’ve been living a smART life. I want you to take a look at this presentation I put together and see what a smART life is like from a student’s point of view.”
And here it is. (Middle aged person warning: you might want to turn down the volume.)
Roxy is lucky that she literally won the lottery and is happy at her school (I’m making the assumption here that she is not an in-boundary student at Loiederman, but rather put her name into the lottery to attend.) C. wasn’t so lucky. Call me a whiner, but on some level I feel like she’s been denied an appropriate education by MCPS. I would love for her to love her school, to be with friends. I guess we’ll just have to hope for high school.
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Posted in Gifted, School, tagged art, education, Jerry Weast, magnet program, maryland, MCPS, middle school, music, verbally gifted on January 10, 2010 |
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Readers of this blog will remember that last year I did a whole series of posts about the proposed — and then enacted — scheduling change at the Eastern Middle School humanities magnet. One of the predictions was that the move from an 8-period block schedule, to 7 periods, and the resulting loss of an elective period, would decimate the school’s music and art programs, because most students would choose to use their elective period for foreign language study (in order to apply to high school IB programs, for example.)
Well that prediction has been born out. There is no Honors Chorus this year. Word on the street is that last year, there were about 20 members of 6th grade orchestra – 7 cellos, 1 bass, 2 violas, about 10 violins. This year only 6 from that group continued: 3 cellos, 1 bass, 1 viola, 1 violin. Overall, there were about 150 band and orchestra students last year. Today there are 35, a drop of 77%.
Meanwhile Proud Principals are urging their school communities to urge the County Council “PLEASE FULLY FUND THE BUDGET!”
In light of the Eastern community’s recent experience with MCPS, is it any wonder that parents (at least many of the small number who are paying attention) are feeling a wee bit used?
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Posted in Interesting, tagged music, teacher on April 26, 2009 |
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A little weekend entertainment, care of students from PS 22 in New York. Enjoy!
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Posted in Gifted, Learning, School, tagged advocacy, art, curriculum, Gifted, Gifted - Montgomery & Fairfax County GROUPS, high school, humanities, IB, MCPS, middle school, music, parent advocacy on March 3, 2009 |
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In discussions about the impact that scheduling changes will have on the middle school humanities magnet program, parents and students have been bewailing the potential impact on the school’s music programs. “What about research that ties music to math achievement?” “Think how this will affect marching bands in high schools!” For every person who suggests trying out for the local Youth Orchestra, someone else points out that not everyone can afford music lessons outside of school hours. There’s talk of modeling the up-county magnet’s afterschool music program.
Largely overlooked — or at least I haven’t heard it discussed — is the impact on the art program. You know… art. Visual art. Stuff like drawing and painting and graphic design and photography. An area of study that I would argue is just as valuable — and maybe more than — music.
Why do I say this? In the past two months I’ve been bemused by the hordes of old people (ahem) fortysomethings flocking to Facebook all of a sudden. People from high school have been coming out of the woodwork (Don’t. Want. To go. There.) Amid all the friend requests from people who never gave me the time of day, back in the day, were requests from two women I actually do remember fondly. They were “the artists” of our class. And both of them are still artists today. And doing very well, thank you very much, from what I can tell from their profiles.
For all those people out there who say that art is a waste of time, I have news for you. It’s not. We need artists and designers. We’re visual creatures and good design creates value in the marketplace (Ask Target and Ikea.). As someone who just helped redesign a website, I can tell you, people with design skills are valuable. We lay people can appreciate good design. We can tell you what we don’t like. But press us to specify what we want…or to realize that idea…or tell you exactly what makes it good? Not so easy.
The county happens to have some very good art programs at the high school level. A high school in the Down County has a well-regarded but little known Visual Art Center program. This fall another school hosted its seventh annual Art School Forum. Visual Art is part of the Arts and Electives Group of the IB “hexagon,” hence the special concern of students who want to–and need to–be prepared in both a foreign language and art. Like music, becoming an accomplished artist takes years of practice. But somehow people have the idea that art is something kids can just do on their own. Maybe some can, but at a certain point it requires mentorship and equipment and space. Yet it strikes me that there are even fewer outside of school opportunities for the visual arts than there are for music.
Bottom line, these kids and parents shouldn’t have to choose–especially at the middle school level. A rich arts education is important for all students. And especially–oh the irony–for highly gifted humanities students.
[If you like the look of this blog, thank a graphic designer ]
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