Tag Archives: Dina’s posts

Innovative Educational Program ‘Hi Art!’ Immerses Little Kids In High Art (PHOTOS)

By Priscilla Frank in Huffington Post 

Most educational programs, even those with solid art programs, portray art as a reprieve from homework and arithmetic. Frivolous and fun, art is a way to decorate the realities of learning, growing up and living. But not this program. “Hi Art!” exposes kids to opera and other forms of high art starting at toddlerdom. A bold mission, it’s true, but a hugely successful one thus far. In its 15 years of running the program has become one of the most talked-about in New York.

Cyndie Bellen-Berthézène, “Hi Art!”s founder and director, said, “Great art transmits something that is essentially human.” It doesn’t just color our lives, it has the power to be at the core of how we live. Although when I think of opera we tend to think of a stodgy, elderly woman with teeny binoculars and white gloves, at its core opera is pure human expression. The words, the costumes, the sets, all take the back seat to an indescribable momentum and feeling. What is more accessible than that?

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The Power of Art

By Paul Klein in Huffington Post 

Dawoud Bey’s career and art exemplify the power of art. While a teenager living in New York, the now Chicago-based artist went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the noise and demonstrations regarding the highly controversial Harlem on My Mind show. But when he got there nothing was going on outdoors, so instead he went to see the show. This was the first time the young Bey, as well as a lot of white folks of northern European heritage, had ever seen black subject matter in a museum. He was particularly moved by the signifcant work of James Van Der Zee (who if it weren’t for this show would probably have been lost to history.)

Dawoud Bey got a camera from a relative and began to shoot. Just eight years later he had a one-person show of his own at the Studio Museum of Harlem — which is now on exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. And at the Renaissance Society, opening Sunday is a survey of Bey’s work since then; most often pictures of youths of color who look directly into the lens, and because of the remarkable man behind the camera who is gentle, powerful, trusting and trusted, reveal themselves.

Vera Klement is an octogenarian kid, with the knowledge, wisdom and talent of her years and the energy, output and enthusiasm of someone a quarter of her age. She is a remarkably gifted painter whose work continues to grow — as is apparent in her show opening tonight at Zolla/Lieberman.Her sectioned paintings are like symphonies of self-contained movements that contribute to a larger whole. The poignant beauty of her work references literature, history and us.

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By George Heymont in Huffington Post 

Harvey Weinstein’s recent battle to secure a PG-13 rating for Bully was a classic example of film industry power brokers attacking the messenger instead of heeding the message. Whatever crude language may have been included in the original edit of the film was language being spewed by kids who feel compelled to attack those they perceive as vulnerable targets….


With today’s youth spending so much time playing violent video games — and action movies aimed at a demographic of teenage boys who like to see things explode and watch people get beaten up — it should be obvious that poor parenting can’t be the only factor contributing to a nation of adolescent thugs.

Whether kids see bullying as a way to prove their superiority, exert their newfound masculinity, or simply as an opportunity for comic relief at someone else’s expense, it’s important to understand that bullying is nothing new. Even after college hazing rituals have resulted in accidental deaths and numerous gay teens have committed suicide, many parents and school administrators cling to the misguided belief that being the victim of bullying “is all part of growing up.”

Herndon Graddick, the new President of GLAAD recalls that:

“It wasn’t until I left Alabama for California that I learned that everything I had been taught was essentially bullshit. I got pissed. Kids across the country are making themselves miserable and, frankly, leading themselves to the brink of suicide because of the bullshit they learn from a bigoted society and it’s the role of GLAAD to fix that. We’re no longer the silent sort of invisible presence in our community. My ambition is for gay people and transgender people to be treated fairly in the media just like anybody else. I think it’s finally time for us to grab our power and really use it to make sure that we’re not sort of treated as second-class citizens anymore. I think it’s time for our community to go on the offensive. We’re not going to be the punching bags anymore.”

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ED Releases New Report on Arts Education in U.S. Public Schools

By Cameron Brenchley in Ed.gov 

 The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the U.S. Department of Education, released the findings of the first nationwide arts survey in a decade that comprehensively documents the state of arts education in U.S. public schools.

At the announcement, Secretary Arne Duncan pointed to the importance of the report because it allows us to compare changes in arts education over time, and it’s the first survey that enables us to get a clear sense of how the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law has affected arts education.

“It’s a good news, bad news story,” according to Secretary Duncan.  On the one hand, there have not been significant national declines in the availability of music and visual arts instruction in elementary and secondary schools. However, for theater and dance in elementary schools, the percentages of schools making these art forms available went from 20 percent 10 years ago to only 4 and 3 percent, respectively, in the 2009-10 school year.  In addition, at more than 40 percent of secondary schools, coursework in arts was not required for graduation in the 2009-10 school year.

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Remodeling Education: It Takes a Community

By Nicolas Donohue in Huffigton Post

Every Friday, a group of students from Deering High School in Portland, Maine volunteers through their local Habitat for Humanity affiliate for credit toward graduation. While helping to build houses for people in need, these students are learning important math and geometry skills. They are also learning valuable skills outside of the traditional classroom setting, like how to be professional on a job-site and work collaboratively with adults. Furthermore, should any student take more than a passing interest in this work, they can explore what opportunities are available to them beyond high school to pursue a career in a related field.

This robust learning experience is one of many examples of how students can benefit from a multi-dimensional approach to education called student-centered approaches to learning that not only arms them with basic knowledge, but better equips them for college, work, and life.

Much has changed in the last 100 years, but not the way we look at K-12 education. Our system is outdated and the “one-size-fits-all” approach is no longer working and in need of remodeling. Global competition has really elevated the standards for schooling, and if we expect to continue to meet the economic and civic demands of the new 21st century economy, we need more learners achieving at higher levels. As Tom Friedman notes in his book That Used to Be Us, we are no longer competing with other states or cities in the U.S.; we are competing with China and India and Brazil. A fundamental rethinking of our educational system is in order to ensure that all learners achieve the skills and knowledge necessary for our nation and region to prosper.

The good news is that we don’t have to start from scratch — we can strengthen what’s working and fix what’s not. One solution is to focus more on high-quality, student-centered approaches to learning that acknowledge all the ways young people acquire skills and digest information, and incorporate them into educational opportunities that benefit all students — especially those in underserved communities. This model puts students at the center of the educational design, where the act of learning becomes the constant; and the where, when and how learning is delivered become the variables (rather than students conforming to one specific time, location and method). Of course, a critical component to this approach is to assess the level of impact it has on a student’s ability to learn the right skills, and use that information to continually improve and be more creative in terms of how our goals are accomplished.

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How Fundraising Techniques Paid Off in 2011

A new survey finds that seven in 10 groups expect giving to rise in 2012, largely because of the improving economy, but small groups continue to struggle.

Some solicitation approaches proved more successful than others last year. Here’s a look at what worked and what didn’t.

Majority of Nonprofits Reached Fundraising Goals in 2011, Survey Finds

Seven in 10 nonprofits expect their donations to increase this year, after 2011 became the first year since the recession started that a majority of nonprofits reported an increase in the amount they raised.

Still, the recovery is uneven, according a report of 1,600 nonprofit released today. Thirty-one percent, mostly small organizations, said contributions dropped in 2011, and 41 percent said they did not meet their fundraising goals.

A big burst in donations during the last three months of 2011, propelled by a recovering economy, enabled 53 percent of groups to surpass the amount raised in 2010.

The study was conducted by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, a coalition of nonprofits and fundraisers that report on the state of giving twice a year.

“With some caution, I think [charities] should be taking it as a turning around,” says Chuck Longfield, chief scientist at Blackbaud, the fundraising-software company that is one of the sponsors of the survey. “They have a reason to be optimistic.”

Boosts to Online Giving

Most nonprofits attributed their success to taking advantage of online fundraising tools, relying on diverse sources of money, and encouraging their board members to take their role as fundraisers more seriously. Of all the techniques used, online giving was the strongest, with 59 percent of organizations that raise money online saying they achieved an increase. That was followed by special fundraising events, with 52 percent of groups saying their walkathons, galas, and other such efforts were more lucrative in 2011 than in 2010. The lowest percentages of increases were for groups that seek foundation grants and ask board members to give their own money; just 42 percent of groups that rely on those approaches reported gains.

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How Breakdancing Teens Can Inspire Innovation in Education

By Steve Larosilier in Huffington Post 

A few dozen New York City high school students have an after school hustle on the Brooklyn bound Q train. When I leave work everyday, I see a small group of teenagers practicing dance moves on the subway platform at Union Square. They are doing spins, bantering about the school day, and some are counting money.

As soon as the train comes, they survey the size of the crowd on the train, jump in, and then the subway doors close.

Three kids move towards the middle of the crowded subway car. 

“It’s showtime everybody!”

“What time is it?” 

The other members respond, “It’s showtime!”

One kid gets the boom box ready while the others assume their positions.

Some hip hop music mix comes through the speakers. The group starts clapping. The show begins. 

There’s a 2-3 minute choreographed routine of breakdance, unique tricks with hats, and swinging on poles. Senior citizens, mothers with children, young professionals, hipsters, fashionistas all stop and stare at the performance.

They perform these dance moves while the train is moving. It’s incredible. Claps are initiated by the youth which prompts claps from subway passengers. 

Click here to watch a video and read the full article…