Performing Arts and KIPP Primary

The Jackson State University kindergarten class performed to R. Kelly's World's Greatest.

The Jackson State University kindergarten class performed to R. Kelly's World's Greatest.

The vision for our new primary school details a robust enrichment program that provides opportunities for students to grow in many different ways, and to dig deeper into interests beyond academic instruction. We launched our school with a commitment to the performing arts, delivered by a highly qualified teacher who is passionate about giving urban students early and consistent involvement with the arts. We are very fortunate to have hired, with your support, Emily Ban, an alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and former education manager at The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts as our founding dance teacher. Midway through the school's first year, the profound impact of providing of daily dance instruction is evident. Students are learning to solve problems creatively through improvisation and to compose their own imaginative choreography. Ms. Ban has significant connections in the local dance community and big dreams for developing a high-quality dance education program.

Over the last several months, Ms. Emily has been working with her students through a collaborative creative process to create an original dance routine. During initial sessions, students spent time thinking about "what are you good at?" Each student contemplated their own unique skills, interests, and abilities and then drew pictures of themselves performing their skills. Some of the things our kindergarten and 1st graders believe they are good at include: fishing, dancing, hugging, reading, making art, swimming, and adding numbers. Next, Ms. Emily shared the skills with each class and students spent time improvising to show with silent body motion how to perform each activity. She then videotaped the students and studied the footage to assemble the motions into a choreographed dance. "Students were happy with the project because they knew they contributed and that the performance was about them. They felt validated not just for co-creating the routine, but appreciated for their many talents," Ms. Emily commented. The result was an impressive, passionate, and joyful performance at the Winter Family Night held last week at the school. Video can be viewed on our Facebook page.

At KIPP, we believe that arts education plays a crucial role in helping students learn creativity, discipline, and teamwork. With your partnership, we are able to provide additional opportunities for all our students to excel, explore, and experience the arts.