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Arts for Learning at Summer Advantage

IPS #103 

Grades K-3

June 13 - July 15, 2016 

Program Summary 

Arts for Learning teaching artists were in eight different classrooms of Summer Advantage held at IPS #103 from June 13 – July 15. Every morning, students in the program studied math and English taught by Summer Advantage teachers and teaching assistants. The afternoons were dedicated to enrichment subjects, which is where Arts for Learning teaching artists came in. Each week, teaching artists rotated classrooms so that the students, grades K-3, experienced four different art lessons throughout the program. With the help of the Summer Advantage teaching assistants, teaching artists implemented their original art lessons, ranging from dance to poetry and calligraphy to collage.

Program Objectives 

  • To provide a variety of enrichment lessons to Summer Advantage scholars

  • To continue professional development for both experienced and new Arts for Learning teaching artists

Program Design

Teaching artists taught their enrichment lessons every Monday thru Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. On Mondays, scholars began their afternoon with a 30-minute performance in the gym. These performances included Griot Drum Ensemble, Adzooks Puppets, and Sphie's Pop Music Collaboration.


On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, scholars began their afternoons with fifteen minute large group dance sessions to ensure every student had the opportunity to be active. These large group sessions split the scholars up by grade: grades K-1 were in the cafeteria, and grades 2-3 were in the gym. Each week, different teaching artists lead the two large groups.  


Every Thursday afternoon, scholars participated in Perform & Inform from 2-2:30 p.m. During this time, each classroom was paired with another. Students were then able to showcase and share what they learned during the week to their peers, and they were also given the opportunity to ask questions about the other class’ art form.

Our Partnerships

Arts for Learning partnered with Summer Advantage to help prevent summer learning-loss in over 160 scholars. Summer Advantage's mission is to harness the power of summer learning to raise the educational achievement of all students.

The Creative Team

Arts for Learning had a team of fourteen teaching artists who taught at Summer Advantage at one point or another throughout the four-week program. These teaching artists attended Summer Advantage's day-long orientation before the program began, and they also created their own lesson plans. Teaching artists included: Ronne Stone (African dance), Justin Sears-Watson (dance and choreography), Beverly Roche (mime), Garret Uyeno (Japanese calligraphy), Shawn Whistler (Latin ballroom dance), Tony Styxx (poetry), Lawrence Clark (Drumming), Laurie Young Cutsinger (decades of dance), Carol Tharp-Perrin (creative movement and collage), Usha Sirimalle (Bollywood dance), Jaclyn Virgin (dance and choreography), Bob Sander (storytelling), Kionna Walker (architecture), and Lauren Curry (modern dance).

The Creative & Learning Process

Throughout the four-week program, students in each class experienced the following types of art:

Kindergarten A – African dance, creative movement, Japanese calligraphy, drumming

Kindergarten B – dance and choreography, mime and tableaux, Latin ballroom dance, Japanese calligraphy

Class 1A – mime and tableaux, modern dance, creative movement, dance and choreography

Class 1B – Japanese calligraphy, African dance, dance and choreography, mime and tableaux

Class 2A – Latin ballroom dance, dance and choreography, drumming, Bollywood dance

Class 2B – Poetry, Japanese calligraphy, storytelling, decades of dance

Class 3A – drumming, poetry, Bollywood dance, architecture, Latin ballroom dance

Class 3B – decades of dance, drumming, mime and tableaux, collage


Kindergarten and 1st grade students experience large group warm-up sessions led by Ronne Stone and Carol Tharp-Perring, and grades 2-3 had warm-up sessions led by Laurie Young Cutsinger, Carol Tharp-Perrin, Beverly Roche, and Shawn Whistler.


Arts for Learning and Summer Advantage together affected 167 students through this partnership. Each student was able to experience a minimum of four different types of art. This program helped engage scholars' minds even during the summer, and it also provided them with opportunities to try new types of art they might not otherwise get the chance to experience. At the same time, all of the Arts for Learning teaching artists worked with a different age group each week. This allowed them to learn about and become even more comfortable with teaching children in grades K – 3. Each classroom brought with it new challenges and benefits, so artists had to think on their feet and adapt to the children they were teaching each week. 

Meaningful Student Learning

From Summer Advantage Teaching Assistant: “My class had Justin the first week of the program. His lesson plans were amazing and kept the interest of the scholars. They were still saying terms they learned from him on week 4!” 

From Summer Advantage Teaching Assistant: “Mr. Garrett’s calligraphy lesson was very engaging and educational. The children loved painting in a new form, and they learned a lot about a different culture. They also loved Mr. Garrett! The children thought he was very funny! They loved learning from him.” 

From Summer Advantage Teaching Assistant: “Laurie had a lot of patience with the children, and she also let the students know her expectations at the beginning of each day. She was able to adapt her lesson on the days the kids had too much energy.” 

From Arts for Learning Teaching Artist: "I am learning so much about the support of teachers, and I am also seeing that these students are on the front lines of our future and deserve so much more praise than what they are given." 


Summer Advantage students at IPS #103 will reap the benefits and lasting impact made by Arts for Learning teaching artists this summer during the next school year and beyond. Not only did these scholars get extra instruction with core subjects such as math and reading, they also engaged their creative skills for four weeks this summer. They challenged themselves and put their brains to work during their break, while most other students their age probably played with toys or watched TV. Compared to students who didn't work to prevent learning-loss this summer, Summer Advantage scholars will truly be at an advantage when the school year begins again. 

This experience was also just as beneficial for our teaching artists who participated. The atmosphere and design of this program encouraged our teaching artists to be creative with their lesson plans, strengthen their classroom management skills, become more adaptable when the situation called for it, and presented numerous opportunities for them to collaborate with teaching assistants and other teaching artists. 

Written By:

Leesa Jing

Summer Program Assistant, 2016

Butler University, Class of 2017

     B.S. Arts Administration

     B.S. Mathematics