Arts Abounding

Busy week here in central NC for the arts and arts ed …

  1. ARTSNC logo 2010ArtsNC Board meets this Thursday in Greensboro. Planning for Regional Arts Summits prior to Arts Day 2013: April 9-10. Coming to Hickory, Goldsboro, Concord, and the Triangle in February and March. [Oh, and by the way, have you ordered your Arts License Plate yet?]
  2. Scholastic Art Awards at Barton College were just announced, and Northwood students received Gold Keys, Silver Keys, and Honorable Mentions.  The Awards Ceremony is scheduled for Feb 3 and the exhibition runs thru Feb 22 at Barton College Art Gallery.
  3. Traveling back to Greensboro with NHS singers for the NCMEA High School All-State Choir.  This annual event highlights more than 800 of our state’s finest singers and gives them the opportunity to work with outstanding collegiate choral directors to prepare for the Jan. 26 concert at the War Memorial Auditorium. Read more about the three choirs, the clinicians, and this year’s program here.
  4. Meanwhile, NHS will have an instrumentalist taking part in the Central District Bandmasters Association All-District Band Clinic in Raleigh.
  5. And finally, attending a big event commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts to celebrate  the centennial of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring—The premiere weekend of A Rite, a collaborative work by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company & SITI Company.

Changing of the Guard

When I think about “parent involvement,” during my kids’ years in Chatham County Schools, three things come to mind as most influential.

  1. 4th Grade trip to Outer Banks—Three days traveling with 100 students, their parents and teachers! With Mattie Smith’s superb organizational skills, it was a delight to watch a teacher’s fine mix of discipline and fun. And it was the first time I got to know a group of parents I would work closely with for the next 10 years.
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  2. Band Boosters—Participating in a well-developed parent organization whose work was absolutely essential for the success of the program—raising serious money and putting in serious hours. Being welcomed as a team member by the community that is marching band.
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    Byways, Highways & Skyways

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    NHS All-Superior Pit Crew

  3. Establishing and working with NHSAEF—Recognizing that the entire arts education program needed the kind of support Band Boosters provided the instrumental music program. Learning that a group of dedicated parents and community members lending a hand, promoting, and advocating for students, faculty, the program, the school, and the arts could have a tremendous impact on perception, recognition, funding and opportunities.

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    2010 NHSAEF Scholarship Recipients

Why Should You Get Involved?

  1. First and foremost, to support this tremendous faculty. Ten years ago Northwood was the only NC school the Kennedy Center recognized with their Creative Ticket for Excellence for its comprehensive arts education program. Today those junior faculty members have remained, and grown to lead this award-winning program. NHS is one of only about 45% of the US high schools with a theatre arts program and one of only about 12% of US high schools with a dance program.* This faculty was a stable force for our children during an era when other parts of Northwood did not have great continuity from year to year. They have modeled life-long learning—earning advanced degrees, board certification, pursuing professional development activities, developing facility on additional instruments, and auditioning for new dance companies. They and their students have earned statewide and national recognition, received grants to expand opportunities, and built a tradition of excellence to which new students aspire each year.
  2. Your efforts, your presence, your participation validates the importance of arts education studies for all  students.
  3. You maintain and increase funding and program stability by promoting NorthwoodArts to the community, the school board, the county commissioners and our state legislators.
  4. You meet super students and make life-long friendships with families who work alongside you.
  5. Your efforts provide much needed funds for annual college scholarships and teacher grants.

What Kinds of Things Does NHSAEF Do?

  1. Officers direct the business of the organization.
  2. Committee members work on projects in particular areas: Hospitality, Programs, Membership, Publicity, Fundraising.
  3. Program activities have included: Meet the Principal/Superintendent nights, Arts Integration Workshops & Art 21 Video Sessions for National Arts & Humanities Month, a student trip to Raleigh to meet with legislators on Arts Advocacy Day, PASPort Lecture/Demos with Stanley Baird, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Neenna Freelon, and Leslie Burwell.  Residencies with Dr. John Brown from Duke University.
  4. Fundraisers have included: Concerts & Auctions, Fashion shows, Dinner theatre, Zumba classes, yard sales, a holiday bazaar, a recycling collection drive, and the sale of concessions at NHS arts events.

If you’re lucky, you learn as much while your kids are in high school as they do—different lessons, but equally important. So that when graduation comes, you too will miss students, families, teachers, the rhythm of the school calendar, and truly understand that word we hear so often this time of year—bittersweet.

NHS and the Arts Ed Foundation need you. Contact arts department chair Leslie Burwell or NHSAEF Faculty Liaison Lori Major Carlin to volunteer for the coming year.

* Parsad, B., & Spiegelman, M. (9012). Arts education in public elementary and secondary schools: 1999-2000 and 2009-10 (NCES 2012-014). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U. S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.

“A Dream is a Wish …”

Today, Northwood High School, a part of the Chatham County, NC School System, dedicated a $4.5 million renovation/expansion. The year-long project includes new classrooms for Theatre Arts, Instrumental Music, Choral Music, Dance, Visual Arts, Wrestling, and Exceptional Children. Also included are a new lobby for the gym and an extensive upgrade to both the house and the stage of the Benjamin J. Lee Auditorium. The ceremony included Superintendent Robert Logan, Chair of the School Board Kathie Russell, Chair of the County Commissioners George Lucier, Architect Grimsley Hobbs, Principal Chris Blice, and representatives of the NHS Student Body. Attending were  commissioners, school board members, representatives from Resolute Construction, CCS administration, city government, law enforcement, ChathamArts, faculty, students and community members.

To the Chatham County Commissioners, School Board, and Administration | On the Occasion of the Northwood High School Arts Wing Dedication | The 16th of October, 2009:

I am a strong proponent of a concept called Schools as Centers of Community. Across the country, school systems have begun to maximize the use of school campuses for myriad educational, recreational, and entertainment activities. These may  include child care, elder care, clinics, libraries, night school, conference/professional development facilities and YMCA operations.

There are two really great reasons why this makes sense. First, for many communities like ours, school facilities are their biggest investment and one of their greatest potential resources. So utilizing these physical plants for more than 35 hours a week provides a greater return on the investment.

And secondly, we know that one of the most effective ways to improve schools is to increase family and community involvement. Eric Booth, a member of the faculty at the  Juilliard School and nationally recognized consultant for the arts, calls the arts a “catalyst for engagement.” No other activity is as effective for bringing families and community into a school as the arts.

So today I am thrilled because of course, we must provide the very best facilities we can for the important work of students and educators. But I am equally excited because your efforts and dedication and vision offer an amazing opportunity for our entire community, now and in a future we have yet to see—but can dream and hope and work for.

I salute you all!

Bravo!

Looking Back on the Way Ahead

As an addendum to the NorthwoodArts Annual Report, here’s a short retrospective slide show of highlights from 2008–2009. Marching band season, the fall drama Up the Down Staircase, dance & choral concerts, parades, art exhibitis, Into the Woods, Tri-M music honor society, graduation, drama camp.

Another year at Northwood has begun. Students, teachers, parents, and alumni helped move into our new Arts Wing this week. The first football game is Friday nite and there will be a preview of this year’s marching band competition program, Escape. School starts August 25.  NHS Open House is Tuesday, Sept 15 and our first NHS Arts Ed Foundation general meeting immediately following at 7:30.

NorthwoodArts Report Online

I’ve completed the NHS Arts Ed. Department’s annual report and posted it online at last!  The back page includes a tentative calendar of events for the coming year, so of course it will need updating, but otherwise I think it’s complete.

NorthwoodArts: Annual Report 2008–2009

NorthwoodArts: Annual Report 2008–2009

There’s information about Northwood instrumental music, choral music, dance (NHS has the oldest public school dance program in NC), theatre arts, and visual arts.  You can also see marching band awards, members of the new chapter of Tri-M Music Honor Society, links to dance performances online, faculty activities, as well as a listing of our generous patrons and sponsors.

I’m trying out an online service called Issuu to post the document. I really like the interface and would love to know what viewers think.

Enjoy!