Senior Grant Project was developed when the school first opened as a capstone experience for all students. It has since grown to include a service-learning component. The program, as a whole, empowers young people to address pressing issues in their communities through their work as artists. In their junior year, students choose to pursue proficiency in a Senior Grant Project or in a Service Learning Curriculum that includes 20 hours of community service, in order to graduate from the Boston Arts Academy.
The Service Learning Curriculum includes a minimum of 20 hours of required Community Service by March of senior year. Students demonstrate their learning through community study, readings, and writing assignment, and a community share out in their Senior Year.
The Senior Grant Project has both written and oral presentation components, synthesizing and refining the full range of students’ learned communication skills, and helping students develop into the next generation of creative civic leaders. Students present their proposals to a review panel of outside educators, artists, business and non-profit leaders, and BAA supporters. Finalists develop a full grant proposal for their projects, and present to a second panel. The most feasible projects are allocated small grants for implementation in the students’ senior year.
Intersession is one week devoted to interdisciplinary and project-based learning. The goals of Intersession are to design and carry out student-centered, project-based experiences in which adults are co-learners; honor exploration, the creative process and the importance of play; and experience deep learning while building community. Students choose from a catalogue of Intersession learning experiences, which focus deeply on one subject for the entire week. Over the course of the week, students are involved in classroom-based projects and discussions; visits to museums, businesses, and non-profit organizations; and interactions with guest speakers. Through Intersession, students have had the opportunity to delve into such wide-ranging arts and cultural topics as: creating children’s books, glassblowing, Latin ballroom dancing, theater improvisation, filmmaking, music therapy, cross-cultural understanding, pastry making, and video game design.
Summer Reading/The Literacy Development Initiative
The Literacy Development Initiative targets BAA students who read below the 9th grade level. These students are grouped by reading level in 9th grade Seminar classes. There, they are taught by specially-trained teachers who build their confidence and skills. ELL students without learning disabilities learn together from ELL trained teachers. Students who still read below the 9th grade level in the spring are required to participate in our five-week Summer Reading Program.
The Summer Reading Program is open to BAA students in all grades, and many choose to return two or three times to continue to build their literacy skills. The students’ determination and perseverance is truly inspiring. Students who had learned to hide their poor reading skills feel a great sense of relief and empowerment as they gain confidence in their ability to overcome challenges. They go from feeling shame, frustration, and anger to feeling successful and proud of their accomplishments. For some students, this is the first time they have experienced success in school.
The Summer Reading Program at BAA was a 2017 recipient of the Goldin Foundation’s Exemplary Projects Awards. You can read more about this outstanding honor here: http://goldinfoundation.
Please click here to learn more about our Summer Reading/Literacy Development Initiative.
With the generous support of private funding, in 2014 we opened up the STEAM Lab and hired a Director to establish a maker space/artists’ studio/fabrication laboratory. The STEAM Lab helped teachers and students explore the connections between the arts, science, and math, and incorporate new technology into their projects. Students experienced the parallels of the artistic, scientific, and design processes and delved into 3D modeling and design, electronics, digital media, and fabrication.
For information about all of the exciting activities that had taken place in the STEAM Lab, please visit the STEAM Lab Tumblr.
Alumni Creative Corps (ACC)
The Alumni Creative Corps (ACC) was a teaching artist residency program run by the Center for Arts in Education at Boston Arts Academy. ACC was comprised of emerging professionals in the arts who are graduates of Boston Arts Academy. ACC members received intensive professional development training around teaching and learning, as well as current trends and issues in arts education. ACC members were placed as arts teachers or assistant teachers in K-12 classrooms and after-school programs, increasing access to high-quality arts education with culturally competent teachers. In its five years, the ACC served over 2,500 Boston Public School students who otherwise would not have received regular and sequential arts instruction.
Lang Lang’s Keys of Inspiration
In the generous support of world renowned pianist Lang Lang and his foundation, the Lang Lang International Music Foundation (LLIMF), BAA and the Center created an elementary to high school pathway for classical music instruction. BAA partnered up with Orchard Gardens, a public K-8 school in Boston, that includes piano labs for elementary, middle and high school students. Working together with the LLIMF, we built a successful chamber music program culminating at the high school level. The Keys of Inspiration program served over 200 students at Orchard Gardens in the 3rd to 8th grade, and provided piano instruction and music theory to every music student at BAA.
For more information, go to www.langlangfoundation.org.
National Artist Teacher Fellowship (NATF)
The Center for Arts in Education hosted the National Artist Teacher Fellowship Program that invited arts teachers from public arts high schools and Title 1 middle and high schools to apply for funding for artistic development. Formerly known as the Surdna Arts Teachers Fellowship, the program offered teachers the opportunity to immerse themselves in their own creative work, interact with other professional artists, and stay current with new practices.
For more information, go to www.natf-arts.org.