A New Year Begins

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Welcome to the 2012-2013 school year!

It’s official! The school year has begun.
As we embark on a new year at IAA, we bring with us three years of integrated arts learning, a variety of experiences, a terrific and dedicated staff, a devoted community of families, and palpable enthusiasm for learning through the arts.

We are a truly inspiring school, and our goal is to be a leader of educating through the arts within the state of Vermont. This year should prove to be no exception. We are fortunate to have valuable community partners who help us fulfill and expand our mission. Thanks to the financial support of Burlington City Arts, VSA, and the Vermont Arts Council, we will have a few artists in residence here at school this year. Over the past two years we focused on music, drumming, and dance in our residency program. This year we cast our gaze in a different direction and will be bringing in a number of visual artists to work with classroom teachers and students, grades K-5. Clay artist George Gonzalez, Photographer and arts educator Michelle Saffran, visual artist Melinda White-Bronson, and visual artist Jean Cherouney will all be working with our students throughout the year. We are thrilled to have a visual arts focus in our residency program this year. You can be sure that our students will be working hard at expressing their understanding through the arts in a visual way. Additionally, we have our annual Jon Gailmor residency in the Spring. This is a joyful, community event which we are deeply proud of.

We also have an assortment of performances that our students will be attending at The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. Students attending the IAA are fortunate to attend three matinees each year. Some of this years highlights are: A Brown Bear, A Caterpillar, If You Give A Mouse a Cookie, The Ugly Duckly, Momix: Botanica, Professor Kubinek Meets VYO, Walk On: Story of Rosa Parks, Mayhem Posts, and Zuma, Zuma. You will hear more details pertaining to these performances through your child’s classroom teacher.

This year we are absolutely thrilled to have Joan Robinson, the Flynn’s Assistant Director of Education join our staff. Joan will be working with us three days a week and is truly “the expert” in Vermont on integrating drama into the classroom. Joan will be working with all of our classes throughout the year, helping student to express themselves through the use of drama.

Our teachers have been busy this summer, taking courses, planning together in small teams and have returned to their classrooms with renewed passion. This year in grades three through five we are trying something new. As a way to ensure depth within the arts and to further deepen our understanding of arts integration, each specialist will be co-teaching with these classroom teachers on a rotating basis. The specialists (Ms. Chaffee-visual arts, Mr. Myregaard- music, Mrs. Vierling- movement, and Joan Robinson- drama) will be in each classroom daily for weeks at a time. This provides our students with a deeper, longer arts experience in addition to their regular arts classes. We believe this will enhance our students success as well as build even stronger collaborative relationships among our teachers.

This year our staff will be learning how to use Visual Thinking Strategies, or VTS. VTS is an elegant, but extremely rigorous pedagogical approach to teaching critical thinking, improving English language arts skills, raising aesthetic development stage, and learning important social skills in a challenging, motivating, child-centered environment. We will be working with trained facilitator, Marlene Roeder throughout the year. VTS is a powerful tool for engaging children in relevant conversation and deep thinking. Stay tuned for a future post on this, as I will be elaborating about Visual Thinking Strategies at another time.

These are just a few of the highlights for the upcoming school year. May you be just as excited about the learning and the community as we are. And to quote beloved children’s author, Maurice Sendak,
“Let the wild rumpus begin!”

About arts coach

I am the arts integration coach for the Integrated Arts Academy, Vermont's one and only magnet school dedicated to the arts. I work closely with classroom teachers, local artists, art organizations, and other community members to provide a network of opportunities in the arts for our students.

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