Live Blogging RT7.5 - Young Audiences

Young Audiences has been established for around 50 years to help bring arts into classrooms and schools in New Orleans. Started running after school programs after Katrina. Employ 280 artists in all disciplines, doing work in Jefferson, Orleans, and St Bernard Parish.

In some schools, teaching artist is the one of the most constant individuals at school over several years, with so much teacher and administrator turnover.

Funded by the state for after school programs. Out of 75 organizations that hold the grant, Young Audiences is one of the "exemplary" ones, and is one of the only organizations focusing on the arts.

Interesting relationships with school reform going on. Educational philosophy touted as success locally isn't the same as what most individuals consider scholastic achievement. YA addresses skill development for foundational education types. Uses arts as a vehicle to help develop critical thinking, problem solving, curiosity, and study practices that help students in music and academically.

YA has been granted a charter in Jefferson Parish to scale up educational model. Charter model allows school to hire artist professionals to teach in the school. Will make educational planning between teaching artists and academic educators. Will be a full academic program.

Will there be a focus on teaching creationism as science? No. Same laws that allow some charters in Louisiana to teach creationism allow YA to designate science - centric curriculum for science classes.

State budget funding has affected YA, as a grant receiving organization. Has had to work harder to find external sources of funding to make up shortfalls and provide same level of service to students in after school programs. Have diligently worked to build a cash reserve so teaching artists are not affected by funding changes.

Is school being chartered by Jefferson Parish as a type 1 school, authorized by school district. Only recruiting in Jefferson Parish. Won't be official until March 5, because contract has not been signed.

Special education services? Legal requirements, but also intending to spirit of the law. Will open up to every student, total transportation, planning and budgeted for full commitment for every child attending. Start up funds come from the state. YA has committed funding. Has applied for grant funding for external services.

Board has been convened. Board members and YA board members will not be the same.

Have experienced significant success with at risk students who participate in arts in after school programs. Those students are able to participate more fully in academic settings in the classroom because the artistic expressions are involved.

 Will not be shutting down any YA programs to focus on the charter school. These are separate entities. Hoping charter will be able to strengthen case for bringing arts into schools. Unique thing.


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