This year we held a focus group with parents and another focus group for teaching artists on Long Island.
On April 28, 2012, ASEC held its first-ever Arts In Special Education Think Tank. The event – graciously hosted by the Brooklyn Academy of Music – was attended by 34 invited stakeholders and/or practitioners in the field – including school principals, art organization administrators, teaching artists, classroom teachers, arts teachers, related service providers and parents.
Prior to the Think Tank discussants were asked to respond to the following question: What are the three most important obstacles or needs facing you and/or the field in providing quality arts education to students on the special education spectrum – in inclusion and/or self-contained settings?
Reviewing all answers, four primary areas of focus emerged –
- Understanding and Communicating Values
- Building Capacity, Knowledge and Understanding – Professional Development
- Deepening and Expanding Partnerships and Collaboration
These became the starting point of the Think Tank. In the morning participants worked in small randomly assigned groups examining this quartet of issues. In the afternoon they self-selected areas of interest and began exploring possible solutions. Asked to move to Next Steps four, mixed-constituency Working Groups were formed at the end of the day – Arts Values, Parent Outreach, Arts/Common Core Standards, Assessment/Evaluation.
Stay tuned for further developments.
If you are interested in joining any of these Working Groups, please contact Stephen Yaffe at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is some of the feedback we received – unsolicited emails – in the days after the Think Tank.
“What a rich morning! I am buzzing from all the intense, enlightening conversation. Cannot wait to get going on our working group. Thank you for including me!” (NYC DOE Drama teacher)
“I was delighted to take part in this important event. I am grateful to [ASEC] … for coordinating this vital and beautifully organized Think Tank - and for facilitating viable, positive change and growth for the field.” (PhD, Psychologist, TA)
“Thank you!! … It was so amazing and I loved it! … I am so excited to be on one of the working groups ….” (Teaching artist)
“What an informative and inspiring day …. I left the event with concrete ideas for adapting our programs to better serve students with special needs (and the schools which support them). Looking forward to future opportunities. Thanks for including me.” (Arts administrator)
“Thanks so much for including me. I really enjoyed the day, met some wonderful people … and learned a huge amount!” (Parent, Professor and MacArthur Fellow)