2008-02-22 / Community

Three Local Schools Receive PAAP Grants

By Kizzy Thompson

The Center for Arts Education (CAE), the leading voice in stimulating and sustaining quality arts education in New York City public schools, awarded Parents As Arts Partners (PAAP) grants, of up to $3,000 each, to 150 New York City public schools for the spring 2008 semester. The grants will be used by each school to implement original art programs for families, designed to suit the individual schools' needs. Far Rockaway High School, PS/MS 114 and The Scholars' Academy are recipients of the PAAP grant.

Through these grants, parents can participate in hands-on activities that connect to their children's school-day arts learning, while taking advantage of the arts and cultural resources.

Far Rockaway High School's PAAP program targets students performing below average in math, through an interdisciplinary rap video project combining math, music, videography and spoken word poetry. Through six video production workshops facilitated by Creative Education Systems, Inc., participants write and film a rap song about a math process, complete with choreography, set and costumes.

Students in grades 9 and 10 collaborate with their parents to plan and shoot the video; parents follow up with a post-production editing process to, together, edit the final video. A fourminute video will be created and distributed on the Internet and to other schools. The PAAP program supplements the school's Math curriculum, and also provides support for the school's idea to create a school-wide 'recording-label' and studio for students and parents to create their own multipurpose recording studio.

PS/MS 114's Core Knowledge Curriculum is a new interdisciplinary program integrating humanities and the arts. In order to enrich Core Knowledge learning among first and second grade students, and to familiarize parents with Core Knowledge philosophy, PS/ MS 114 presents a PAAP program, in conjunction with Rockaway Artist Alliance (RAA), that includes two 2-session visual arts series in acrylic painting and clay sculpture. Sessions introduce pictures of architectural examples from the cultures that students study through Core Knowledge Curriculum, emphasizing the structures' aesthetic and practical purposes. The RAA's teaching artist guides participants in choosing a structure to create their own visual representations, using acrylic paint or clay sculpture. Participants also visit the RAA's sTudio 6 Gallery to view work by visual artists that is similar in form and content to the project completed in the PAAP workshops.

First time CAE grantee, The Scholars' Academy presents an intergenerational PAAP Oral History Video Project for seventh grade students and parents. The program provides hands-on digital film experience for participants, while celebrating the families' diverse histories through their creation of short film oral history vignettes. In four filmmaking workshops facilitated by Magic Box Productions, participants choose a family member to document and interview on film. Research visits to the National Archives Regional Office allow families to engage in genealogical research in support of their film work. A final celebration allows participants to screen their finished films and share their research with The Scholars' Academy community. These activities supplement seventh grade Social Studies and Film Studies curriculum units.

Since its inception of the PAAP grant program in 1998, the CAE has awarded more than 1100 grants to over 500 schools. The grants have funded innovative programs for New York City Public Schools, allowing them to work in partnership with both nationally renowned and locally focused cultural organizations to engage parents and families in school arts activities.

All programs address New York State's Learning Standards in both the arts and career development. Schools have used PAAPfunding to develop arts programs specific to the needs of their school community. Individual programs have focused on improving literacy and math skills, engaging parents of ELL students and special needs populations, and connecting to the cultural heritages of participating families.

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