Notes from Introductory / General Overview and first Working Group session on Friday, April 20th

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 04/21/2007 - 02:28.

 CMSD Introductory / General Overview and first Working Group session on Friday, April 20th

 Session was a well facilitated and engaging introduction to the planning process and the issues we are addressing, and hwy and how. Dawn Ellis engaged the diverse group of participants, who seemed largely arts educators from CMSD, and collected their ideas on large post-its she affixed to the front of the room - she identified themes. The notes below are the themes she identified, and some of the concepts she introduced.


She said this process is to explore how could we (arts education) be strategic

Suggests we refocus on the young person and what we all care about in servicing this young person.

She explained there are thre areas of interest and focus we will explore in working groups:

  1. Arts learning system - developed by the arts educators - from audits and surveys - points of influence so it is not another 1 - 5 years of business as usual

Strengthen what we do and find ways to connect better with the community

  • Arts learning: How can we improve what we currently view as arts learning - ways of teaching arts, concerns of arts educators - meathods

    Education Challenges: very different system and challenges and accountability systems - what drives the school system -

    How can we be strategic in how we strengthen the quality of arts education system overall?

  • Life: Education life systems are often driven by standards and curriculum - what role does art education have to improve the quality of life overall for students, educators, parents

    There are choices and challenges in the life of young people and arts can help children face their challenges - behavioral issues - balance issues

  • What role can the arts and art advocacy have in the future of childrens lives and the community.

    Mobilize new resources - arts can be a leader in changing the life of everyone in the community - self esteem, safety... hasn't been looked at in Cleveland.

    • Enrich participation in the arts
    • Empowerment and good choices - hope
    • Develop better life skills leading to meaningful employment
    • Creative problem solving to get to goals - Making Art Work"
    • What I can do in my life in Cleveland - counter dysfunctional environments
    • Skills they might need to become an illustrator, dancer, cartoonist - arts and arts related
    • Role for art in their lives - emotional..., physical foundation to make life better - who I am in relationship to the arts and others - understand "my arts"
    • Expressive communications skills
    • Afterschool choices in the arts
    • After school programs as a way to an end
    • Appropriate way to express themselves
    • Vote for a school levie - and know colors, shapes and put their names on a piece of paper - know why the have to follow directions and follow procedures - how to be in the world after 15 years of education - isocial skills - be with other people and with yourself

    Three groups brainstorming on three topics:

    1. Being together with people
    2. Make a living - a life
    3. Self dignity and hopr


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    A Correction



    A couple of corrections.  Understanding that this was a LOT of information to absorb, faces to see and get used to, documents to be handed out, etc., in a very short period of time, some things might get a little scrambled up.


    First off - it’s the Cleveland Municipal School District, not Board.  The acronym is CMSD.


    Second  ...

        Not sure if you got one of the smaller sized copies of the three charts on the wall that Dawn brought, but the three vertical categories Ms. Ellis listed were

    - Life

    - Education (meaning education in K-12 in general, education in general)

    - Arts Learning


    These 3 vertical columns were reiterated on the three separate large panels on the walls because each panel represented a particular component to be dealt with in the planning process.  The panels / sheets represented –


    ASSETS (panel / sheet)

    (What do we already have or have in place that is working well to help us address the task of Arts Education, what do we have that might need to be brought on board or just needs some minor tweaking?)

    BARRIERS (panel / sheet)

    (What blocks us, stops us?)

    IDEAS (panel / sheet)

    (What can help us overcome the barriers, move around them, turn some barriers into "allies"?  What could be developed into potential assets?)


    These might have been easier for you to see when you came to the Saturday meeting because we recognized the need to make the words ASSETS, BARRIERS, IDEAS a lot bigger and more noticeable at the top of each of the panels / sheets.


    But getting back to the 3 levels of our concerns, LIFE, EDUCATION, ARTS LEARNING; These 3 were placed as three vertical columns that were, in turn, intersected by the components from the larger, overall Cleveland Municipal School District's area's of focus and concern.  In other words, a grid was created.  The 3 levels of concern were the vertical axis.  The larger CMSD concerns were the horizontal axis.

    Third clarification ... and just as a technical note ... The Friday meeting was, yes your right, an overview introduction, but was organized to create WORKING GROUPS.  Working Groups are charged with contacting who ever is their self-identified colleagues and natural constituents to gather more input, ideas, suggestions, complaints, etc. all based around the same identical grid.

    The Saturday session, was to organize the STEERING COMMITTEE whose charge is to do some of the same, but mostly to synthesize and prioritize what is the "raw data", if you will, gathered by the Friday “created and deputized” WORKING GROUP.


    Particularly in the Saturday session with the STEERING COMMITTEE, (things become clearer over time and the more you interact with stuff), the groups were divided up based on the 3 levels of learns of learning purposes, LIFE, EDUCATION, and ARTS LEARNING.  Another way of saying this was each group because a Vertical Column.  They would then respond to the several CMSD general, overall District-wide elements of that even bigger strategic plan. 

    Their responses would address the ASSETS, BARRIERS and IDEAS as they related to their "columns" intersection with the larger District's focuses.


    Hope that helps.  I do understand that these are your raw, unedited notes; typed rapid fire while also listening to someone explains what, for you, was a brand new discussion.


    And actually they have been strategic plans for arts ed. before, and there have been a whole host of intense and extensive discussions between the Department of Arts Education and a collaborative collection of arts and culture providers in the city - on-going for the last 3 years or so.  What is new is that this is the first request under the new CMSD Administration, and that the Arts were included straight out the gate by the Administration.  And the WAY in which we are seeking as broad an array of input both inside and outside of the district may be new, at least in terms of recent history.  (I've learned the hard way that there is always something that has been done before, and that there is someone always still alive that remembers and can remind us that this has been done before.)


    Just seeking to help and clarify.


    Karen M. Clark-Keys

    Visual Arts, ICARE, Curriculum and Professional Development Director

    Department of Arts Education

    Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD)