Voices for Any Given Child Indy: Why It’s Important to Support Any Given Teacher Through Any Given Child Indy
Just as any student in the classroom will thrive and succeed when the environment for learning is safe and supported, any teacher who works with students will also thrive and succeed in the “art of teaching” when the environment is safe and supported. Teachers hone their craft to educate students through supportive, thoughtful, and engaging professional development. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (The Kennedy Center) has this belief and has been committed to creating and sharing high-quality resources and professional development opportunities to teachers for over 25 years. Two of The Kennedy Center’s National Partnerships programs–Partners in Education and Any Given Child–support arts education practice through professional learning, technical support, and resources for its national networks.
Arts & Education
While a young student, I was inspired by my own teachers, and had always desired to become a teacher. As a young person, I participated in dance classes and recitals, sang in school and church choirs, and attended various live performances. So the fact that I landed the opportunity to combine my love of education and love of the Arts as the Arts Education Manger at the Butler Arts Center’s Clowes Memorial Hall, my work has become a natural fit of both of my passions.
I taught at the elementary level for 7 years all the while trying to provide opportunities for my students to discover their world through visual arts and performance, but until I became an arts administrator at Clowes Memorial Hall and attended my first Kennedy Center Partners in Education Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. the winter of 2001, I truly did not understand the definition of “arts integration” as it relates to the general education teacher. Sure, I thought when I was playing classical music in the background when my students worked on math problems or used movement activities to keep students alert or to take a brain break from seatwork, I thought I was using arts integration strategies. I was sharing the Arts with my students, right? Well, yes, I was, but very much at a superficial level. After participating intimately in this four-day conference with teaching artists sharing approaches to learning which allowed us to be active in the creative process through connecting an art form with another content area AND meeting the objectives of both in the process, my mind was blown.
The key to this conference and the many conferences, trainings, and seminars I have attended since, is that as a participant, I actively experience the teaching strategy as if I was the student and the teaching artist as the teacher. Then, because I fully experienced the learning with my mind, body, and imagination, I could take the strategy or method back to my class the next day and feel confident sharing with my students. That is the same approach of all the professional development workshops that are offered at the Butler Arts Center. Integrating movement and math, storytelling and writing, theatre and social studies, photography and plot structure, and rhythmic music and poetry are all examples of arts integration–understanding the art form and the content area equally.
And, the idea and purpose of the Partners in Education program is to provide professional learning in the arts for teachers, and in turn, each teacher trained will have a greater creative effect reaching each and every student he or she teaches.
Joining Any Given Child Indy
In the spring of 2014, I was invited to attend a gathering of arts and education administrators at the Arts Council of Indianapolis. An idea came through the meeting to use United Way of Central Indiana funding designated for the Arts to apply to The Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child initiative. I knew because of my work and connection with The Kennedy Center, Any Given Child was a national program that assisted communities in planning and developing expanded arts education in schools. I quickly realized with the excitement in the room, this program was one of those “right time, right place” opportunities for Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). Any Given Child aims to ensure any and every given child in grades K-8 has full access to strong arts education programs every year they are in these grades. I felt this would provide a deeper way to connect arts and cultural organizations in the city and surrounding counties with IPS schools and city charter schools to provide both professional development opportunities in arts integration strategies for teachers, and ultimately, the IPS students in grades K-8 would be more fully engaged in the arts through active participation with their talented and creative teachers influenced and trained in the Kennedy Center arts integration philosophy.
Assisting on the Any Given Child application team to submit for this 5-year initiative for Indianapolis and IPS only furthered my interest and desire to serve on the Any Given Child Indy team when our community was awarded the honor to roll out this esteemed national program in 2015. Now in the planning year, all my experiences and trainings leading up to this point will hopefully assist what President and CEO of the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Dave Lawrence shares, “…is a perfect opportunity for those of us in the arts community in Indianapolis to affect positive and lasting change in the arts in the Indianapolis Public School system.” I am looking forward to help transform arts education for IPS and support any given teacher through the professional development opportunities that will grow out of the Any Given Child initiative.
About the Author
Donna Rund is the Arts Education Manager at the Butler Arts Center’s Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University, and is an educator and arts administrator, a parent of five children–two of whom are IPS students, a community supporter, and serves on the Any Given Child Indy professional development committee.
Mrs. Rund earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Marian (College) University and her Masters of Effective Teaching and Leadership from the College of Education, Butler University.
Voices for Any Given Child Indy is an initiative that gives leaders in the Indianapolis community the opportunity to focus on issues in arts education and in the community, as well as their personal investment in the success of Any Given Child Indy. Be on the look out for new posts from community leaders on anygivenchildindy.org.