A REFRESHER COURSE I want to share with you former Rooftop Principal, Nancy Mayeda discussing the History of the Schools Focus on the Arts. She speaks eloquently on the how and the why of this vision in this interview (below)
THE VISION : THE ARTS AT ROOFTOP
we were a school of choice ... one of twelve and the district said to me that we had to h
ave a focus that differentiated us from all the other schools and lo and behold there was Aiko and she said we should be a creative arts magnet school and i'm saying um...well... not an arts science? or math focus?
if anybody was responsible for us being a creative arts school I have to say I owe all of my growth and learning to AIKO because she was the one that taught me the importance of creative arts in ALL the subject areas...that THE ARTS IS THE primary subject area as opposed to the LAST subject area because it covers all the subject areas in making abstract concepts concrete.
The Performing Arts-- number one--gives the student the opportunity to say " THIS IS MY SPACE .... I OWN IT "and that gives them confidence. so as a result of the performing arts we have leaders in middle school... in high school . I'm so impressed when ..my colleagues tell me , "you know so and so was the President of this , so and so's taken the leadership.. and started this"....and I'm saying, "how did that come about?" It's because of the performing arts.
The Visual arts teaches you ---it clarifies--number one--- things that are abstract, but more importantly it teaches you that you have to organize.you have to manage, that there is more than one way to be right , that there was no one way. It offers the child an opportunity to say " I CAN. I'LL TRY. I'LL DO MY BEST."
and ''i can't '' --it's not in the vocabulary. And who teaches you how to fail? "nobody..." but how as adults do we deal with failure? "We Don't!" because we feel so badly...so hopefully through this process we're teaching youngsters TO FEEL it's okay to make mistakes...you can't rush yourself... but that's different from making a wrong decision ---so we are teaching children to differentiate between the two.
There's so many life- skills that sustain us long beyond when we leave Rooftop and those are the things that are important ..."because the skills ,quite frankly, "They 'll learn them because we can pound them in ....but we cannot pound in life skills because we are the sum total of our experiences". We want to make sure that our experiences that we give children are lifelong--- but to me that extends beyond basic skills . It is through the basic skills and the Creative Arts that we put all these things together, we tie it together and say, THIS IS WHO YOU ARE... getting youngsters to realize that they are who they are.