My kids go to The Neighborhood School, a diverse public elementary school serving NYC’s East Village. It is awesome, with wonderful values and dedicated teachers, but it is not schmancy. So it would be super-excellent if you voted for us to win a humungous “Power a Bright Future” grant from Clorox. One grant is for $50K and three more are for $20K. BIG TASTY MONEY. And all you have to to do to help is click.
As you probably know, arts funding for public schools has been slashed to the bone. But lots of studies have shown that arts education improves problem-solving skills, helps with critical thinking, nurtures creativity, improves attendance and fosters self-directed learning. Kids who study art in K-12 schools do better in other subjects – math, language arts, science and geography.
Our grant proposal:
Our brilliant art teacher Valerie, who works with the Studio in a School program, has proposed incorporating arts museum visits into the curriculum, using them to enrich classroom learning in a multidisciplinary way. We live in one of the most fabulous museum cities in the world, but so many of our students have never set foot in them. So we’d use the grant money for a full-court press of museum visits, art materials, author and studio visits and professional development, allowing all our teachers to work together to incorporate arts education even more fully into their classrooms.
Example! After visiting the Egyptian wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we’d ask: What can hieroglyphics teach us about narrative, literacy and math? What traits does Egyptian portraiture share with comic books and graphic novels? What is memorial art, and how can we create our own art to remember people we have loved and lost? How do modern authors like Rick Riordan adapt and play with mythology? After going to the Folk Art Museum, we would ponder early American quilts: What can they teach us about colonial history, the roles of women, early environmentalism and conservation efforts? Then we’d make our own quilts to see how repetition and pattern involve geometry.
The grant would buy materials, expert assistance and professional development. It would benefit not only our arts curriculum, but the curricula of all our wonderful classroom teachers and our terrific librarian Cheryl…and through their efforts, all the kids in our school.
About our school:
The Neighborhood School doesn’t just pay lip service to multiculturalism. Our students come from many different backgrounds (35% white, 27% Latino, 19% Black and 13% Asian-American, lots of families from other countries) and economic backgrounds (about 45% of our students qualify for free lunch). Many of our students have learning differences. We believe in collaboration; we have mixed-age classrooms and several collaborative team teaching classes in which kids with special educational needs learn side-by-side with their general-ed peers. We value the whole child, not just test scores; anti-bullying education is incorporated into the curriculum. Seriously: Nifty school.
How to help us win!
Our nomination is here.
Choose “vote for this nomination” (under the photo) and it will prompt you to register. (Sorry.) You can vote once a day through November 1, 2010. PLEASE forward the URL widely (or send folks to our school web page) and encourage everyone to vote on the Power a Bright Future site! Please help us disseminate our nomination to the universe!
Unfortunately, the winner is chosen by popular vote, so the only way to win is to spread the word and annoy all our friends and family. Small schools like ours don’t usually win grants like these. We’re not in a charter-school or parochial school network that can drum up votes for us. Many of our parents are not on Facebook. So do a good deed – help us win money we desperately need!
(By the way most of these photos were taken by our students. Nice work, right?)