Area teachers participate in professional development


The Mansfield site of the Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education program offered a two-day Arts Integration Institute on August 5-6 at the Renaissance Theatre.

The professional development workshop, geared to educators and administrators who are interested in using the arts as a teaching tool for common core subjects, featured four highly interactive sessions with Kennedy Center Teaching Artist Karen Erickson: “Laying the Foundation: Defining Arts Integration,” “The Drama of Science,” “Drama: The Missing Link in Teaching Literacy,” and “Getting Started with Drama Integration: The Basics.”

Twenty-two participating teachers from local school districts qualified to receive up to twelve contact hours for professional development credit as well as graduate credit from Wittenberg University.

Teaching artist Karen Erickson remarked on the experience of working with the teachers, “Seeing the growth of the teachers and the release of their creativity, as well as their ability to engage in their inner creative artist has been phenomenal. Given the opportunity to explore the arts under the guidance of a leader, in a safe space to explore and experiment, gives the teachers the opportunity to transform their teaching into a student-centered approach and creative classrooms.”

The participating teachers were enthusiastic about the training they received in this two-day workshop. Deon Taylor, a kindergarten teacher at Richland Academy of Excellence, shared, “It’s fantastic for us to learn these techniques and be able to apply them in our classrooms so the kids feel more confident in themselves. Then, they’re more willing to learn and use what they have learned.”

Danell Allen, an elementary music teacher for Plymouth-Shiloh Schools, noted, “Students struggle to focus and concentrate in the classroom. The skills they learn through drama help now more than ever to help students focus in the 21st century classroom.”

Mansfield’s partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Charles P. Hahn of Cleveland Financial Group. Additional funding for the program was supported through grants from the KeyBank Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. Mansfield was chosen in 2010 to join the Kennedy Center as one of only two partnership sites within Ohio, and is one of approximately 100 sites across the country. For more information on this or other Renaissance Education programs, contact the Education Department at 419-522-2726 ext. 251 or

Staff report

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