WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Foundation for Educational Administration recently awarded a group of James Caldwell High School (JCHS) teachers with a “Young Audiences” scholarship, which will cover the expenses of an Artist-in-Residence program at JCHS during the 2016-17 school year.
The grant project grew out of the school’s participation in the Educational Leaders as Scholars summer program at Princeton University, which district staff have attended since 2013.
“A major focus for James Caldwell High School over the past four years has been to integrate the arts in correlation with the works of Shakespeare,” said Sue Callaghan, a participating teacher in July 2016. “In 2013, we instituted a Shakespeare Festival, which has been held annually every April since then. It’s been a truly collaborative effort, and students have responded very positively to the opportunity to engage in this important work at the Festival and in their classes as well.”
As a result of participating in the institute in 2015, Callaghan collaborated with art teacher Mea Amacher to develop projects that synthesized graphic art objectives with language arts objectives. Other participating teachers in 2016 included Robin Keil, Mea Amacher, and Frank Lincoln, and administrators Jim Devlin, John Bertollo and Jessica Valentine.
Using digital photographs, art students created collages of symbols from the various Shakespeare plays. Using art masterpieces, musical works and digital images, English students also created movies that captured the essence of Shakespearean characters.
This year, the teachers have also created a Professional Learning Community, which focuses on arts infusion across the curriculum. According to JCHS, their plan for the year is to try and build upon the base that they have created integrating arts and humanities and then move beyond the language arts classes into other disciplines.
The Dodge Foundation/FEA Grant will allow the teachers to expand their work into music and dance, an area of the arts that tends to be under-represented in most curricula, according to JCHS.
The artist-in-residence program will share different methods of incorporating more movement into curriculum and instruction, including strategies such as tableaux and dance. The teachers believe that greater movement will allow students to develop their understanding of key concepts through the employment of their kinesthetic intelligence.