May 9, 2013
In this issue:
Letter from the Editor
How can we stay attuned to the ever evolving needs of our communities and make sure we’re addressing them? As Community Engagement professionals, this is the essential question we all face, and it can be, at times, rather daunting. The good news is that we have a variety of resources at our fingertips to help us figure things out. I hope that this edition of the League Update for Education and Community Engagement will inspire you to reflect on how you may benefit from looking to the broader arts, education, business and research communities for insight and assistance. Whether it’s by developing a community-wide arts education coalition, establishing a new curricular focus, or making strategic decisions about which programs to offer, our colleagues around the country are embracing best practices from all sectors of their communities. This broadening of our sphere is important today and will be even more essential as we work to evolve and best meet the needs of our communities over the next ten to fifteen years. Thanks to all of you who submitted, and I can’t wait to see you at the June Conference in St. Louis where we may envision what our communities will look like in the future and how we may best shape our institutions to align with them!
Vice President, Education & Community Engagement
Meet Us In St. Louis for Conference & the EDCE Meeting: June 17-20, 2013
Spring is here, which means summer is around the corner, which means the League Conference is coming! We hope to see you in St. Louis this June, where we will spend some time “Imagining 2023.” To help you wade through the usual plethora of content offerings, we’ve compiled the sessions that we think Education and Community Engagement folks might be particularly interested in here.
Also, please join us for the special EDCE Meeting – a dedicated half day of professional development on June 17. That’s right, supersizing can be a good thing, and for an additional $25, we’ve assembled an expanded Conference experience designed specifically for EDCE personnel. Remember to select the “Education and Community Engagement Meeting” in the section marked “Other Pre-Conference Sessions” when you register, as this is an additional Pre-Conference meeting. And whether or not you can attend the pre-meeting, all EDCE folks are invited to grab dinner together at Bailey’s Range on June 17, so please select that option if you’d like to come so that we can reserve enough tables. If you have any questions about Conference sessions, the pre-Meeting, or dinner, just email your constituent liaisons, Jessica Balboni or Najean Lee.
Speaking of Conference, a couple of special things to note, and a request for your valuable input – for the third constituency session on the morning of June 20 (8:30-10:30am), we’ll be dividing the time into a few segments, beginning with a conversation about arts education, arts integration, and how orchestras best play a role in making curriculum connections to the arts.
- As part of a full-room conversation on the topic of arts integration, please come prepared with questions and thoughts, as we’ll be following the large-room conversation with facilitated smaller group conversations to debate the finer points.
- Then, we’ll reconvene and break into even smaller groups to switch gears and launch into a time of program sharing. This will be a time for every EDCE person who is coming to Conference to share about a successful education or community engagement program, best practice, or lesson learned. This will be done in table groups so that everyone will have a chance to share in about five minutes or less – by all means, use this opportunity for a mini-presentation to help persuade the powers that be to give you the green light to come to Conference!
- Lastly, we’ll be setting up a display table in the EDCE meeting room throughout the week of Conference so that you can check out each other’s creative Education marketing materials. To that end, please bring a one or two pager or orchestra education brochure that you think your colleagues will find interesting and make sure it’s a copy you don’t mind NOT getting back. We’d love for you to select something that shows good collaboration between your EDCE and marketing departments and be sure these are visuals that can speak for themselves, since it will be a standing display.
Face to Face with NYC Arts in Education Roundtable
by Theodore Wiprud, New York Philharmonic
Orchestras are hardly the only culturals doing great work in schools and community settings. If you’re in New York City and you want to trade ideas and practices with theatre, dance, art, and other creative colleagues – and get the latest on policy, research, and more – you go to Face to Face. It’s the largest annual arts education conference in the area, and it’s put on by the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, a membership service organization (like the League, but local and cross discipline). The Roundtable, twenty years old now, is led by a volunteer board of education directors with a part-time managing director. (I am privileged – sometimes overwhelmed – to serve as co-chair, for the third year now.) It mounts monthly professional development sessions for constituencies from administrators to teaching artists, and maintains a website (www.nycaieroundtable.org) that is becoming a hub of information and social networking for arts education in New York.
But Face to Face is the main event of the year, where more than 500 practitioners gather to exchange ideas and practices. Face to Face ’13 took place March 27-28, with over 30 breakout sessions (led by Roundtable members and selected by peer-review) surrounding a keynote by Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal; and a plenary panel, “What We Know Now,” with researchers James Catterall, Ellen Winner, and Sarah Cunningham. The League’s Najean Lee joined a panel discussion on advocacy!
Face to Face and the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable may be models for other cities and orchestras to examine. After all, many orchestras have expertise to share. And the shape of things in 2023 will depend increasingly on understanding the bigger picture of the arts and education.
Strategic Decision Making from a Dual Bottom Line Perspective
by Pam Blaine, Pacific Symphony
In today’s times, it is vital for us all to be able to articulate the value of our programs, both internally and externally. Many of us are growing in our abilities to assess for and demonstrate the degree to which our programs serve our organization’s mission. It is usually only in the context of the budgeting process, however, when we look at our programs through the lens of financial sustainability. In a recent strategic planning process, a non-profit executive and former CEO from the for-profit world, suggested that we look at our programs from a dual bottom-line perspective – evaluating them based on how they both align with our mission and impact the institution on a financial basis. He suggested utilizing this visual grid (see here) to help us do so.
This was definitely a new concept for our Board members and me, and at first, it seemed a bit callous. As we engaged in the process, however, we found that this new approach really helped us weigh the relative merit of our various program offerings. It readily identified those most mission-aligned that required more substantial investment, and correspondingly, the programs from which we weren’t getting enough “bang for our buck.” Though this process required a great deal of time, effort and debate, it enabled us to achieve the Board buy-in necessary to discontinue programs that until then, had been institutional “sacred cows.” As I’m sure you encounter at your orchestra, there is no shortage of “good” ideas for education/community engagement projects at the Pacific Symphony. This dual bottom line approach has proven to be invaluable to us in sorting through these ideas, making key strategic decisions about our programming and articulating why our various program offerings are valuable from both a mission and financial perspective.
Connecting to Kids and Concepts
by Terry Wolkowicz, New Bedford Symphony
The field of education is currently experiencing a significant shift in defining educational goals and methods that best serve the needs of our children. There is a growing realization that, in the 21st century, it is no longer effective to simply teach and test for an accumulation of facts. This 21st century view is embodied in the new Common Core Curriculum in Mathematics and Language Arts which established a set of standards that are now consistent across 45 states, geared towards the demands of college and career, integrated with a global representation of standards, and written with a renewed focus not on the acquisition of countless isolated facts, but on the development of higher order thinking skills. With this focus on depth and flexibility of knowledge, schools are setting their sights on ways to deeply develop students’ knowledge within a smaller range of topics in ways that can promote transfer to future contexts.
The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra has incorporated these learning principles into its educational curriculum (see here) to ensure that it is serving the real needs of our 21st century students. Each year, the NBSO’s educational programs are linked by a fundamental concept that is shared between classical music and other subject areas across the curriculum. This connection among specific educational content allows our students to explore a concept of study in a deeper and more meaningful way. This program design helps to create opportunities for students to see how and when a concept can be applied beyond the example in which it was originally presented. Exploring concepts using diverse, yet authentic, examples deepens students’ understanding and promotes transfer of knowledge to other new and highly contrasting examples, while at the same time creating experiences that serve to develop a child’s closer, and more enduring, connection to classical music.
News & Resources You Can Use
Newly Updated - Arts Education: Creating Student Success in School, Work, and Life
For many years, arts education advocates at the national level have been utilizing a unified statement titled Arts Education: Creating Student Success in School, Work, and Life. The statement, endorsed by national education associations as well as the arts community, asks for better arts education opportunities in our nation's schools. The League spearheaded the processes for the statement's update in 2011 and a recently-completed “refresh” to incorporate new research to undergird the messages to policymakers about the benefits of arts education. As the statement demonstrates, there is strength in numbers and great value in partnering with common stakeholders. Orchestra advocates are encouraged to mine the unified statement for talking points you can use immediately in local advocacy that supports music education in your schools. Also, review the list of national signatories and consider their local members as potential partners in your education advocacy efforts.
Primer on Collaboration and Sustainability in Arts Education by Thomas Wolf and Gigi Antoni
Written by two seasoned practitioners---Thomas Wolf and Gigi Antoni---this new book, More Than the Sum of Its Parts: Collaboration and Sustainability in Arts Education is a primer on how organizations that offer arts education and creative learning programs can initiate, enter into, and support long-lasting partnerships. Vibrantly illustrated and presented in an easy-to-read format, it describes the theory and practice underlying various levels of collaboration—from organizational partnerships to mergers to community-wide systems. The book also offers inspiring, real-life examples of thriving arts education partnerships from communities large and small throughout the United States. A free PDF is also available in addition to paperback copies for purchase.
Common Core and the Arts
The Common Core State Standards are a state-led initiative focused on making sure students are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to succeed in college and in their careers. For many educators – including arts instructors – the changes in expectations can be confusing. The Arts Education Partnership maintains a growing selection of resources to help provide a better understanding of the Common Core State Standards Initiative and ways in which the arts can intersect.
Getty Education and Community Investment Grantees
In case you missed it, 22 innovative orchestra educational and community partnership programs from across the country were selected in November by the League of American Orchestras to receive first-year Getty Education and Community Investment Grants. You can learn more about the program and find a snapshot of the awardees here.
Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art
In the book, Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art, artistic leaders, via a series of interviews, engage in a conversation about audience, community, and the value of art. In addition to thoughtful essays, the book includes Understanding the Intrinsic Impact of Live Theatre, the results of a two-year study composed of patterns of audience feedback in eighteen theaters and 58 productions. This study was commissioned by Clayton Lord of Theatre Bay Area and was completed by Alan Brown and Rebecca Ratzkin of WolfBrown. Go online to learn more about Counting New Beans, read excerpts, and purchase the book.
Resource Center: Creating Quality
Find and share ideas and resources for improving the quality of education in your school or community at Creating Quality, an online participatory website that offers a venue for teachers, community educators, artists, principals, researchers, nonprofit and civic leaders, policymakers, and anyone who wishes to learn how to strengthen their educational system.
The Diversity & Inclusion Resource Center
If you haven’t yet bookmarked it, we encourage you to visit the League’s Diversity & Inclusion Resource Center, which contains hundreds of free resources that will aid you and your orchestra to deepen your connections with and learn how to be more inclusive of the diverse populations in your community.
Food for Thought
Talks and presentations you might find inspiring or provoking: