PARENTS LEARN ABOUT MIDDLE SCHOOL ARTS PROGRAMS
North Shore Arts Angels Sponsors Arts Education Forum
Ask almost any North Shore Middle School parent what advice they’d give to parents of incoming sixth graders and they’d likely say “Ask what students do during the half of the day when they’re not in English, math, social studies or science.” Parents concerned about how the arts fit into the Middle School schedule had a chance recently to meet with arts faculty to learn about the district’s arts programs in grades 6 to 8.
In an effort to make a smoother transition from elementary school to sixth grades for students and their families, the April 5 meeting was set up by North Shore Arts Angels, the district’s arts booster club, working in partnership with the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. Earlier in the year, Arts Angels hosted a forum for parents of incoming High School students to discuss arts options as students transition from eighth to ninth grade.
“The middle school years are when children begin seriously exploring all the possibilities for their future interests. We are fortunate here in North Shore that the middle school provides a wide range of challenging music and art classes to help our students express their creativity and find their passions,” says Dalia Rodriguez, Director of Fine & Performing Arts. “It is important for parents to have an opportunity to ask questions about the arts offerings at the middle school and to understand what choices their children have in order to help them better enjoy their artistic experiences.”
Parents from Sea Cliff, Glen Head and Glenwood Landing schools convened in the cafetorium where they were introduced by Ms. Rodriguez to North Shore High School senior Nicoletta Royal, president of the district’s newly-formed Student Arts Council. Ms. Royal described how her experiences in orchestra and visual arts in the Middle School had prepared her to be highly successful in both visual and performing arts in the High School.
“The only thing I wish I did differently was to be involved in the Middle School Chorus,” she said. “I love being in the High School Chorus, but would have been better prepared had I studied both orchestra and chorus in Middle School. And kids can do this is if they make the time,” she added.
Visual art teachers Pam Shea and Ben Benfield presented samples of student work to illustrate how student understanding of basic skills and concepts expands and deepens over three years (two years of required arts curriculum followed by arts electives in eighth grade) helping students discover their creativity and preparing them to make choices about visual arts electives when they move onto high school.
Follow this link to view the visual art presentation
Orchestra teacher Rachel Resnick, general music teacher Bryce Larson and chorus teacher Brian Messemer explained the music options offered at the Middle School, how student choices impact their musical journey at the high school, and how students can best select a musical path that matches their interests and passions.
The music teachers screened a video showing students engaged in instrumental lessons, choral rehearsals, and general music classes. They explained the process for students to select their major music course of study and how students can participate in extracurricular and lunchtime experiences that broaden and deepen their musical understanding.
Follow this link to view the music presentation
Parents had an opportunity to ask clarifying questions and were encouraged to contact arts faculty directly with specific questions regarding their children.
“The transition to Middle School is a big deal, especially for first-time parents,” said Gina Martone Brown, vice president of Arts Angels, who has a son in eighth grade. “We decided to host this meeting out of concern that important information about the arts might get lost under the avalanche of materials that comes from the district. We were thrilled to have such a strong turnout and look forward to hosting this meeting again next year.”
North Shore Arts Angels is a non-profit organization devoted to enhancing arts opportunities for North Shore students and deepening community connections through the arts. Learn more at northshoreartsangels.org