Tag: arts in education

NYC School Reentry Questions from Arts Organizations and Artists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 23, 2020
CONTACT: Kimberly Olsen, kolsen@nycaieroundtable.org

Published on September 23, 2020

Inspired by the Council for School Supervisors and Administrators’ 141 questions the NYC Department of Education must answer before reopening schools, NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Advocacy Committee has put together a list of 48 questions our members should consider as they plan and prepare for the delivery of arts in education services in the 2020-2021 school year. We know these are tough questions, but we hope in sharing that they can be used as a resource. In addition, please review the education resources following these questions and share with your networks.


Defining Legalities around pre-recorded materials:

  • What and how will you pay teaching artists for creating pre-recorded videos? How does this rate differ from in-person teaching?
  • How will you charge schools for their use (one time fee or pay per use)?
  • What rights do teaching artists have to use or share the videos?
  • Given the intended purpose, should pre-recorded materials only include royalty free music and photos?
  • Do you have a policy on the use and/or citation of music, photos and videos used in pre-recorded content? 
  • What responsibility do arts organizations have in citing the teaching artist when sharing videos/clips or screencaps in published or publicly-facing materials?
  • What measures can you take to ensure content isn’t downloaded, stolen, or shared without permission?
  • Have you communicated with teaching artists/staff about intellectual property? Have teaching artists been given a platform to discuss this topic with staff? 
  • How is intellectual property/copyright addressed in a teaching artist’s contract, and what are your action steps if a teaching artist would like to negotiate the terms?
  • Can teaching artists share their own content with other organizations or as portfolio pieces?


Safe reentry guidelines: 

  • How do you plan to deliver arts in education programs for the beginning of the school year (synchronous or asynchronous)? Will this be an organization-wide policy or will it vary by program or school? When do you plan to revisit this decision, and who will be involved in the conversation?
  • If offering remote learning, do you plan to use one or both styles of service delivery (synchronous or asynchronous)?  Will teaching artists and staff receive training in this area prior to teaching in the style? 
  • Do you plan to deliver arts in education programs using a hybrid or blended teaching model (online and in-person)? Will teaching artists and staff receive training in this area prior to teaching in the style? 
  • What does “onsite” mean for teaching artists and/or staff who are not comfortable working in-person or who are immunocompromised? Will this impact their employment? 
  • Will your organization provide health insurance or a health insurance stipend if in-person work is the only available option to part-time staff or independent contractors?
  • How are you assessing teaching artist/staff safety and comfort with returning to in-person work? 
  • How are you preparing teaching artists to re-enter the classroom being mindful of the trauma experienced by all parties (including students, teachers, and teaching artists themselves)?
  • How are you addressing social-emotional learning with your teaching artists and staff?
  • What actions are you, your organization, and your teaching artists taking to intentionally support Black, Indigenous, and communities of color in your work?
  • What procedures are in if a teaching artist working in-person is exposed to COVID-19? What procedures are in place if a teaching artist gets COVID-19? How will you communicate this to those who may have been exposed through your programming.
  • Are you requiring teaching artists and/or staff to get tested for COVID-19 at the start of an in-person residency? If yes, how frequently are they being tested? If a fee is incurred, will it be reimbursed by the organization or is it the responsibility of the individual?

 

DOE and School specific on-site guidelines:  

  • Have you read the NYC Department of Education and NYS reopening guidelines as it relates to arts education and visitors? Has this information been shared with your teaching artists and staff?
  • What happens if your visiting teaching artist or staff member witnesses a school not adhering to city/state guidelines? Is there a procedure already in place? Has the procedure been shared with your teaching artists and staff members? 
  • What do teaching artists need in order to be given entry in a school building (i.e. temperature checks, PPE equipment)?
  • Will you provide your teaching artists and/or staff with PPE or other safety equipment (i.e. hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes, face shield)?
  • What are the protocols when staff, teaching artists, in-school teachers, and/or children refuse to abide by the safety rules (i.e. wearing a mask, social distancing)?
  • How will you train teaching artists to properly clean or store materials?
  • How will you adapt your services and programs so that students/participants do not share materials?
  • How can teaching artists creatively maintain 6+ feet between students during low-level activity? How can teaching artists creatively maintain 12+ feet between students during moderate-level activity (such as singing or dancing)?


Working remotely:

  • Will your school require you to use DOE Zoom and Google Classroom accounts? How will you support teaching artists in gaining access to these systems, specifically an external email address? 
  • What will you do if a school does not allow your teaching artists or organization to use their DOE Google Classroom account because they’re unable or unwilling to create separate email accounts for vendors?
  • Are you tracking external DOE email addresses for your organization? Is there a system to place to support your teaching artist in tracking log-in information for different schools and/or classes?
  • How will you assess student access to technology without drawing attention to specific students?
  • How will you assess student access to technology without drawing attention to specific students?
  • How will you assess teaching artists’ access to technology? If additional technology is needed to support delivery of services (i.e. camera, laptop, tripod, ring light), will you provide those materials?
  • How can your organization support digital access needs (i.e. captions on videos, language access [multilingual educators, translations, co-teaching in different languages], sensory items & objects that could be delivered to someone’s living space to support focus)?
  • If videos are pre-recorded and then posted on a Google Classroom, how are you tracking if the content is used?
  • How are asynchronous videos delivered to students? Are teachers assigning it as “homework” or do teaching artists/organizations have direct contact with the students and their families? 
  • How should teaching artists return materials that they still have from the 2019-2020 school year? How will you retrieve materials left at schools during the 2019-2020 school year?
  • What should your teaching artist or staff member do if they are alone in a virtual room with students?
  • What supplies or materials will teaching artists and staff need to teach from home?
  • If discipline-specific materials are needed to teach a remote class, how will those supplies be distributed to students?
  • What happens if a teaching artist is unable to work (i.e. attend a scheduled class or deliver a video on-time)? Will that work be rescheduled, cancelled, or will you call in a substitute?
  • Are you/your teaching artists prepared with language on how to address student comfort levels with turning on their camera? How are you modifying curriculum to ensure other access points for students to share work and collaborate?

 

Communication:

  • If each school has a standard COVID-19 procedure for staff to follow, how will this be shared with teaching artists in advance to safely enter a school and a classroom?
  • What channels are available for teaching artists and staff to connect with their colleagues, share ideas, and voice concerns? 
  • Have you communicated with your teaching artists since last school year? How frequently and through what methods do teaching artists receive information about their organization of employment (regardless of whether they have work confirmed)?
  • Are teaching artists included in company-wide emails?
  • What methods are you using to get feedback from parents and students that allow teaching artists to be agile and nimble as changes emerge?
  • What methods are you using to get feedback from teaching artists and staff? Are there channels for teaching artists and staff to share information/feedback anonymously?

 


 

Additional Resources

NYC DOE Arts Education Resources:

 

General Education Resources:

  • NYC Principals’ Union lists Questions on School reopening: click here 
  • NYC Safety Guidelines for reopening: click here 
  • Cuomo announces decision on reopening NY State schools: click here 
  • DOE accounts for CBO Partners: click here
  • CDC Strategies for Protecting K-12 School staff from Covid-19: click here

 

Out-of-State Arts Education Guidelines:

  • NJ Arts Education Reentry Guidelines: click here
  • Arizona Arts Education Reopening Guidelines: click here 

 

Legal Resources:

My Full Experience at the International Teaching Artist Conference

By Heleya de Barros

It’s been two weeks since I walked out of Carnegie Hall, after three jam-packed days at the 4th International Teaching Artist Conference (ITAC). I walked out a bit dazed, very tired, invigorated, and incredibly—amazingly—full. I ambled towards the subway with a colleague I’d met, but couldn’t quite bring myself to get on the train and just “go home.” It seemed crazy to follow my typical pattern after an experience like ITAC.

Instead, I walked passed the 59th Street subway and into Central Park. I needed to digest. Two weeks later, after more time contemplating, sorting through notes, listening to recordings, and many conversations with colleagues both at the conference and not, it is still hard to put this experience into words. I keep coming back to that fullness I felt as I walked into the park.

Over the 3 day conference I attended 9 break-out sessions representing 7 countries on 5 continents (Australia, Cambodia, Columbia, Guatemala, UK, USA), 3 keynote addresses (by a dancer, photographer, and theatre artist), 1 site-visit, 1 live performance, and 1 live podcast recording. And I met a lot of teaching artists. Sure, the name of the conference might suggest this, but my past conference experiences have taught me to expect to be one of few TAs in a sea of administrators. There was something very special about walking into a room of 300 people who do what you do. These were my people. I immediately felt seen and understood at ITAC. The conference’s final report quoted nearly 300 attendees (whom they call delegates) representing 28 countries.

I spoke with many others who expressed the same feeling of belonging, and the power that can come from that. One visual artist teaching artist (TA) from Vermont, Alexandra Turner, told me it had been empowering for her to claim the title of Teaching Artist, “I’ve been putting together part-time jobs for so many years and I didn’t know there was a name for it, or a community of people doing it. When I owned this title of Teaching Artist it changed my whole perception of myself and my work to someone who belongs to a community of amazing and impactful people.” Others wondered if they were missing out on finding a larger community in their field at home because different titles were used across the field. Is a teaching artist the same as a community artist or a participatory artist? Many were impressed with New York for having a very clear community around the single title of TA.

It isn’t surprising to me that the feeling of belonging was so desired and celebrated. Much of what we do as TAs can be solitary and we can often lose sight of the fact that we do belong to a community of artists who—do what we do. One conference organizer Eric Booth (who jovially refers to himself as the oldest living TA) kept referring to the delegates as leaves on a tree. This analogy was referenced frequently throughout the conference. We leaves sometimes forget (or lose sight) that we are rooted on a branch with other leaves, which is rooted on the trunk of a tree with many other branches. To that end, one of the collaborative projects launched at the conference was the Global History Timeline an online record of the history of teaching artistry. There is power in naming your history as well as your title. This is a living document. You can submit entries here.

I wondered before the conference if my experience as a TA in New York City was comparable to others in the US or around the world; or did we live in our own microcosm here? I almost feel silly for questioning this now. Of course there were similarities, particularly in the approaches to, and the challenges of, the work. The specifics of the settings or social, cultural, and institutional challenges in the 28 countries represented may be different, but our strategies were not. Active listening. How to enter a community as an outsider? How to leave a community? Recognition of the links of systemic oppression and working towards dismantling them through our art. How to fund the work? How to sustain the work? How to tell another’s story? Should you tell another’s story? How to communicate what we do?

In his keynote address photojournalist Aaron Huey spoke of his many years working in the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation in South Dakota, “When you leave a community like Pine Ridge they are left wondering not IF, but HOW you will misrepresent them.” Dancer and choreographer Liz Lerman posed, “I’m curious how we listen. I’m wondering how we listen with our whole artist self,” in her keynote. James Miles, Executive Director of ArtsCorps in Seattle, WA seemed to answer during the live-recorded podcast of Teaching Artistry with Courtney J. Boddie when he said, “Artists must listen to other people’s stories with love.”

Edie Demas, Sobha Kavanakudiyil, Penelope McCourty, James Miles and Courtney Boddie at the live podcast recording of Teaching Artistry with Courtney J. Boddie. Photo credit Christopher Totten.

In my last session, facilitated by Santiago Gonzalez from Corporacion Otra Escuela in Colombia, we were handed a handful of coffee beans. After each exercise exploring conflict Santiago had us take out the coffee beans, smell them, and bring ourselves back into the room and into our own bodies through the smell. He ended the session by saying, “You don’t HAVE a body, you ARE a body.”

I am a body. I am an artist. And we are a body of teaching artists in NYC, in the Northeast, in the US, and around the world. Although, I was left wondering if the question was not that we forget we are leaves that make up a tree, but that many of us don’t know we are part of a tree to begin with. While we seem to have the nomenclature of teaching artist settled in NYC (if you disagree, let me know), we still struggle to see, and actively engage, the entire tree of our teaching artist community.

While at the conference a NYC TA colleague mentioned she’d just come from a training for an arts education organization and was surprised when very few TAs in the room were aware of the Roundtable or the Teaching Artist Affairs Committee. TAs were discussing the complications of signing up for healthcare through the Affordable Care Act as a freelancer and my colleague mentioned our bi-annual workshop on this very topic. No one knew what she was talking about. (Open enrollment starts Nov. 1st you can watch the video of our tutorial with The Actor’s Fund from last year here, or go to an in person workshop here).

I had a similar conversation on this struggle with the staff from the National Arts Council Singapore. They are looking at creating a Teaching Artist Handbook for their artists with opportunities for professional development, healthcare and legal aid, resources for artists, and work and funding opportunities. I thought that was an interesting idea, so I brought it back to TA Affairs.

If you come to our “Sip & Create” TA Meet-Up on November 2nd 5pm-7pm we’ll have a plethora of TA resources. Our committee is compiling them now. Do you have an idea of something that should be on the list? Do you have an idea of how to reach more NYC TAs? Hit us up.

I also had questions about how to sustain global connectivity after this conference and between the next one in 2020. ITAC answered this for me on the first day when they launched the ITAC Collaborative. I’ve already submitted the Roundtable’s TA Affairs Committee as an ITAC Collaborative Catalyst to help disseminate global information to our NYC TA community. ITAC Collaborative will also have small funding opportunities for projects between nations. Do you have an idea for a project? Hit me up.  

So, what was ITAC like? It felt like home. It felt like recognition. It felt like being full. The theme of the conference was “Artist as Instigator.” I’m instigated to create this feeling for the NYC TA community. Wanna help me?

 

Heleya de Barros is an actor and teaching artist in New York City. She is a Board Member of the Roundtable and Co-Chair of the Teaching Artist Affairs Committee. @Heleya_deBarros

*(TopPhoto credit DreamYard Media Interns.

 

Cultural Data Project – Friend or Foe?

When the Cultural Data Project (CDP) reporting process was rolled out some years ago, it seemed a great idea – arts organizations could complete one comprehensive online report that would work for a slew of grant makers. It didn’t take long for reality to set in. We would in fact be digging really deeply into all aspects of our organization to conduct a comprehensive survey AND the rest of the reporting work didn’t seem to go away. Then there were the scary e-mails from CDP outlining all the errors in our reports and worse than that were phone calls from extremely perky and helpful CDP staffers asking about the intricacies of long-forgotten calculations.

But CDP has been working diligently to turn what was perceived as a burden into a valuable resource. Becoming an independent organization a year ago, CDP is reinforcing its goal to be a “powerful online management tool designed to strengthen arts and cultural organizations.”

New tools have made the online system easier to use and expanded educational offerings help the field use data more effectively to tell the organization’s story.  In addition, CDP is now the holder of a vast collection of original data from the field, which is available for cultural research projects (by application).

CDP is promising more great things ahead, while “building critical information resources and skills that will advance the sector in the future.”  The field will eventually find that what was once a burdensome drain will actually help us tell our stories to funders, audiences, and stake-holders, and will enrich the field. And in any case, those of us who are in New York State now have Grants Gateway to deal with. One day, perhaps, we will appreciate having all our documents in an online vault and realize that it’s good for the sector.

Cultural Data Project