Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities integrates with all Promise Neighborhood initiatives to provide arts programming to students in school as well as to offer professional development training to educators. More than 5,000 students participated in arts programs in 2013 and the work has earned the support of skeptical school administrators. Teaching artists work with classroom teachers to integrate the arts across the curriculum so students can experience art with English, with math, with physical activities, etc. The Arts and Humanities staff collaborates with all of the Promise Neighborhood initiatives to achieve their results and to assist schools with program review.
This fall our teaching artists are working with students throughout the neighborhood to explore various art forms while also learning skills that apply to mathematics, writing, character development and so much more. These photos are from Alfredo Escobar’s residency at Sand Gap Elementary School. He helped each student creates a canvas board painting that connects to that of another student to form a class mural.
Middle school writers inspire elementary readers
Sometimes a well-designed class project is so meaningful that it is difficult for the participating students and their committed teacher to file it away at the end of a school year. This is exactly what Tammy Marcum’s seventh-grade English Language Arts students at Jackson County Middle School (JCMS) experienced this year as they worked together to write and illustrate allegorical stories about friendship. The students put a tremendous amount of effort into the stories and the project turned out so well that Marcum approached staff members from the Berea College Promise Neighborhood about documenting and celebrating her students’ hard work.
Many of the seventh graders created their friendship stories with a young audience in mind. That made it appropriate for elementary students to have access to the books. Promise Neighborhood staff worked with Berea College Printing Services to print and bind durable, color copies of the books for each of the elementary school libraries in Jackson County. Additionally, Promise Neighborhood worked with Jackson County school administrators to arrange for Marcum’s seventh-grade students to read their stories to primary students at Sand Gap and McKee Elementary Schools.
When the JCMS students shared their friendship stories at the elementary schools, it was difficult to distinguish which group of students enjoyed the project more. The primary students were visibly enthralled with the stories, closely examining the illustrations and easily conversing with their middle school peers. The older students engaged the younger ones with a tenderness and animation that exuded self-confidence.
Berea College Promise Neighborhood recognizes the importance of peer mentorship in student success and is proud to support relationship-building opportunities for students and quality academic experiences like the friendship story project at Jackson County Middle School.