JPS Benefits From Partnership With Chautauqua Institution Arts Education Program

Jamestown Public Schools students make music with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra in the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater as part of the Link Up program. Photo by Dave Munch

“Research has shown that the arts prepare students for success in school, work and life by boosting math and literacy achievement, developing creativity and critical thinking skills, strengthening perseverance, facilitating cross-cultural understanding and much more,” said Michelle McDowell, Jamestown Public Schools chief academic officer. “This is why I am so excited and thankful for our continuing partnership with Chautauqua Institution. This collaboration provides our students and teachers with the very best in arts integration through programs such as Young Playwrights, Link Up, The Kennedy Center Partners in Education, and even an Opera Invasion.”

Jamestown Public Schools is excited to have Chautauqua Institution’s Arts Education Programs in its classrooms. Chautauqua Institution provides programming in Jamestown schools including: School Residencies, Opera Invasion, the Young Playwright Project, Link Up, Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet Field Trips, Visual Arts Field Trips, Kennedy Center Partners in Education and the Traveling Stanzas from Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center.

“Chautauqua Institution Arts Education is honored to support the work of the amazing teachers and students in the Jamestown Public Schools by engaging in this valuable partnership that serves hundreds of students in every school in the JPS,” said Suzanne Fassett, director of arts education at Chautauqua Institution. “We are inspired by the work ethic of the teachers, the ingenuity and drive to learn displayed by the students and the strong leadership of the administration who are committed to providing best practices learning opportunities to their students. We greatly look forward to what 2019-2020 will bring.”

School residencies brings ELA and social-emotional learning through music learning into the classrooms. The focus of this program is to enhance learning through the teamwork built from musical engagement to encourage stronger student engagement and the development of important academic and social skills. Last year, Washington Middle School participated and will do so again this year. The program will also expand into Love School. There are two residencies available: Sing Me a Story, which focuses on the integration of vocal and instrumental music and stories, with an end goal of increased musical involvement and reading comprehension; or I Can Drum, which integrates music learning with social emotional skill development through drumming.

“We did the I Can Drum Residency, as well as a mini project on movement in music, to go along with a field trip to Chautauqua Institution for The Ballet Spring Gala,” said Washington Middle School teacher, Sara Joly. “My students absolutely loved the I Can Drum lessons. We focused on beats and rhythms and making connections to them through feelings. I saw my students make many connections across curriculum subjects and in social situations to the lessons and ideas that they learned. I was also astonished at the excitement and enthusiasm for the ballet. My students made amazing connections to the music and movement of the ballet to the feelings lessons we had done in the I Can Drum lessons. The program is amazing and we love it. They were also in awe of Chautauqua Institution when we toured the grounds. They sat with rapt attention to the ballet dancers, with many ooohs, and ahhhs.”

Chautauqua Arts Education and the Chautauqua Opera Company’s “Opera Invasion” brings Chautauqua Opera Company Young Artists into fourth grade classrooms to teach emotional context through the expression of musical elements, and also presents a 45-minute opera to the entire elementary school body. Last year, all JPS elementary schools participated in the Opera Invasion.

“The Opera Invasion provides the students the opportunity to engage in experiences they wouldn’t have otherwise,” said Love Elementary School third grade teacher, Christine Yocum. “We are so grateful to Chautauqua Institution for sharing special opera talents with us and for helping the students develop a love of music.”

The Young Playwrights Project was held at Fletcher and Love Schools last year and Love and Ring Schools this school year. This program integrates the learning art of playwriting with English/Language Arts learning and skills aligned with the NYS Social-Emotional Learning Benchmarks, encouraging students to unleash their imaginations, arrive at resolutions to problems and develop their ideas in writing. Chautauqua Institution Arts Education and Chautauqua Theater Company Teaching Artists visit students in this three-phase project. Once the plays are completed in the classrooms, students visit Chautauqua Institution twice to see their works come to life in readings and performances.

Link Up is a partnership with the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute, who provides a curriculum that music teachers can use to integrate into their classroom throughout the school year. All JPS fourth and string musicians in the fifth grade students participated in Link Up last school year. The culminating activity is a performance in which all students are invited to come to the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater and make music with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.

Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet Field Trip presents an opportunity for area students to see a preview of the CRYB Spring Gala at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater. Last year, Ring, Lincoln and Love Elementary Schools and Persell and Washington Middle Schools took the field trips.

“Our field trip to Chautauqua Institution to watch the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet’s Spring Gala serves a dual purpose,” said Lincoln Elementary School third grade teacher, Cassie Stronz. “First, it exposes our students to an art form with which they are not typically familiar. Second, it gives them an opportunity to walk the Institution’s grounds–often times a first for many of them. I am impressed with our students’ reactions to both the performance and the grounds. They are mesmerized by the dance and awestruck by the beauty and grandeur of the Institution. Our wrap-up discussions have shown me that many students are curious about opportunities previously unknown to them. I have especially loved the repeated comments and reactions to the male roles in the ballet. It is clear the students appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes to be an artist and performer, and that they recognize that they all have an equal opportunity to participate. We are grateful for the Institution and the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet providing this experience to our students.”

Visual Arts Field Trip program welcomes students in fourth grade and up to take a docent-led tour of the Chautauqua Art Galleries to learn about and actively explore the arts. Persell Middle School and Fletcher Elementary School have participated in field trips.

Chautauqua Institution’s partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Jamestown Public Schools and Chautauqua Lake Central School brings national workshop leaders to present new learning strategies in arts integration to area educators where there is professional development and then modeling of the new activities in the classroom. Last year teachers at Bush, Lincoln, Love, Ring, Jefferson, Persell, Washington and JHS participated. This year’s workshops for teachers include Acting Right: Classroom Management Strategies; The Bomani Armah Writing System: Teaching Content Through Songwriting; Play Me a Book!; and Musical Adventures: A Door to Writing.

Jamestown High School students in Barbi Price and Betsy Rowe-Baehr’s English 9 classes have benefited from Chautauqua Institution’s partnership with the Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center. Teaching Artists, David Hassler and Sony Ton-Aime, from the Wick Poetry Center, spent four days in Jamestown High School presenting poetry workshops to students. Students also visited the Traveling Stanza’s interactive Poetry Makerspace at Chautauqua Institution this summer during Education Wednesdays. Students recited their poems and reflected on their experience in video recordings or shared their printed and decorated poems on the gallery wall.

“Watching our students engage at Chautauqua Institution this summer was wonderful,” said Price. “Chautauqua is a tremendous cultural resource that many of them don’t take advantage of; the kids were enthralled by the lectures, the art gallery, and the creative community that lies less than twenty minutes away from their homes. Chautauqua Institution’s community outreach has been exceptional this year. From offering Kennedy Center Workshops to welcoming our students and staff on the free Education Wednesdays, Chautauqua clearly made an effort to be a gateway for our young people.”

Some of Chautauqua Institutions Arts in Education Programs are ready for registration. For more information, go to these links: linkup.chq.org, operainvasion.chq.org, arttours.chq.org and ballettrip.chq.org.


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