The Micheltorena Arts Plan is a school-wide, sequential, standards-based arts curriculum, created in partnership with Bluepalm, a local non-profit arts organization, that incorporates experiential arts-based instruction into Micheltorena’s existing math, science, language and garden arts curriculum. The curriculum is sustainable (budget and teacher migration proof) and is built on its teachings from grade to grade. Not only does Micheltorena benefit from this integrated curriculum, but the plan will serve as a model for other LAUSD schools looking to build a sustainable and sequential arts program into their curriculum.
About Bluepalm and the Micheltorena Arts Plan (MAP): Over the past few years, Jackie Planeix and Tom Crocker of Blue Palm, both professional dancers and Silver Lake residents, have conducted professional development for teachers and an arts-based needs assessment at Micheltorena. Their goal has always been: “Equity of access to arts education for all children.” Bluepalm is also on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/Bluepalm?sk=wall
What makes the Micheltorena Arts Plan unique and exciting is it’s focus on sequential instruction, i.e., that the arts education builds from year to year, and that children build on the arts concepts learned in their previous grades. This takes coordination and focus, and Bluepalm has been working with the teachers, training and educating them on this idea. In the process, a schedule of “sequential field trips” has been created for the upcoming year, with programs and ideas from the field trips integrated into existing math, science and language programs.
The field trip program includes artists to accompany the teachers (i.e. a dancer to accompany the kindergarteners on their ballet field trip), as well as elicits parent volunteers to participate. The goal is that when a child graduates from Micheltorena, he/she will have attended a world-class theatre and dance performance, and will have visited at least three major Los Angeles art museums, among other field trips scheduled.
Bluepalm is also creating a “arts-based grade level standards” guide for parents, so they know what their child will be learning in each arts curriculum for the year. For instance, 4th graders will be taught perspective as part of their grade-level visual arts curriculum. For 2012 at Micheltorena, every child at Micheltorena will have teaching in visual arts. The lower grades will receive teaching in theatre, and the upper grades will receive training in dance. This is in addition to our chorus classes for younger grades, and orchestra classes for upper grades.
A recent report from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities writes: “…too often advocates focus on the method of delivery of arts instruction, rather than the quality of that instruction and the flexibility to adapt to the needs of the community. We recommend efforts that demonstrate how teams of classroom teachers, arts specialists and teaching artists can work together on building curricula, delivering instruction, and learning from each other.” For the full report click here:
From Jackie Planeix and Tom Crocker of Bluepalm: “We are honored to partner with Micheltorena and area schools in developing innovative ways to ensure equity of access for all students as well as rigorous, relevant preparation for the 21st century work place.”
Micheltorena’s recent partnership with the Silver Lake Conservatory of Music is also a key ingredient to the Arts Plan, with the Conservatory providing instruction in voice and music, as well as using our auditorium for it’s chorus and ensemble classes on the weekends.
Our after-school programs is also be integrated with the Micheltorena Arts Plan. For the Fall of 2011, our cooking class and Halloween crafts class (where they are building the haunted house and creating decorations for the Great Pumpkin Festival) are taught by local cooks and artists. Starting in November, the MAP will host a dance and fitness class, as well as an art and science class with a focus on the school garden. In the spring, MAP will host a Young Authors Class, where children will write and publish their own stories, and present them in the school library.
And last but not least, the Micheltorena Arts Plan will use our brand-new library to host a storytelling and music series in the library, in multiple languages, hosted by and for teachers, students, parents and community members.
Get involved! Sign up to participate in the Arts Plan at the school office.