Occasionally, you will find that a cultural partner or an artist wants to partner with your school or you may want to partner with a local arts organization. Naturally, you want to take advantage of the opportunity but you might not know exactly where to start. The following plan can help point you in the right direction. While each partner and school has their own specific needs, you can use this plan as a starting point.
- Contact the prospective partner/ artist personally and follow up with a survey to collect information about what they have to offer, and how they would like to collaborate with you and your school.
Here are some sample surveys:
- Host a preliminary meeting with the cultural partner/artist and review the survey. Discuss your vision of collaboration. Ask for their feedback, and try to be as specific as possible. They may not have an education background. Listen with an open mind to determine where there are authentic connections between what they have to offer and the needs of your students. Don't forget to invite your administrators to the meeting. They will have valuable information to share with you. Make the guests feel welcome by providing refreshments.
- Decide if it will be a single class or school-wide partnership. If you decide it will be a school-wide partnership, you will want to identify a team of teachers to guide the partnership.
- In that case, it might be time to give faculty members more information about arts integration. This is best done by sharing your personal experience and any relevant research. For instance, if you are targeting a teacher with a large ELL population, you may want to cite some research about the benefits of integrating the arts for your ELL students. ArtsEdSearch.org has helpful information.
- Be prepared to answer questions and address concerns with data and research. Hopefully most cultural organizations will be aware of research studies that show a relationship between their art form and improved academic success. But they may not have the most recent information and will appreciate knowing that you cared enough to do the research. If you can, provide them with written copies or direct them to the Resources page on this site.
- Ask the cultural partner/artist what they want students to learn about their art form or site. You and your team will need to discuss how to connect that with curriculum expectations. Remember this can be done through many avenues: Math, Science, Reading/Language Arts, Music, Dance, Physical Education, Health, Social Sciences, and/or Visual Arts.
- In addition, be clear about what the team at the school site hopes to accomplish with the partnership. Let them know what you want the students to learn from their experience both academically and personally. If they are aware of your goals they will be better prepared to gear their presentations to match them.
In addition to being clear about each others’ goals, a cultural organization will need to know how your school works. Try to be proactive and supply them with as much information as you can.
Make them aware of the logistics of participating in field experiences.
- Let them know if there is a moratorium on field experiences (for example, a month before FCAT).
- Give them a copy of the testing schedule and explain how it affects the whole school environment.
- Explain that buses generally must leave by a specific time to make other routes.
There is also limited flexibility at the school site for in-school visits.
- Visits may be limited the week before testing and during testing. Again, provide the cultural agency with a testing schedule and explain the procedure.
- Lunch schedules can be a problem when trying to schedule in-school activities. Explain that lunch schedules can be modified for a day or short periods of time for presentations as long as those time adjustments are made in advance.
- When a cultural organization is coming to visit your school, determine their physical needs. Let them know ahead of time how their needs will be met and have available to guide them when they arrive.
Some questions to ask before they arrive:
- What kind of presentation will they be making?
- Will they need a stage or will a classroom do? Can they present outdoors?
- Will they need a piano, PA system or other special accommodation?
- How many cars will be coming? Will they need space for a large vehicle or bus?
Here are a few other materials that contain information regarding curriculum and educational requirements. These may also be helpful when cultural organizations and artists/performers plan their presentations.
- M-DCPS Pacing guides -
These pacing guides detail where in the curriculum teachers should be teaching at a given date.
- Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS) - This is a resource for Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, Access Points, and Common Core information. You can browse through all subjects and grade levels, including Visual Arts, Music, Dance, and Theater Arts.
- Common Core - The Common Core website contains Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts.
MDCPS, Division of Social Sciences and Life Skills,1500 Biscayne Blvd., Annex, Suite 316 Miami, Fl. 33132