I am thrilled to finally be in a place where I can update you (and this out-of-date blog) on some of the innovative efforts being made by Denver Public Schools. I will soon archive all of the earlier posts related to my work with Harmony Project (love them!) at Denver Center for International Studies, and post regularly on the exciting work we are doing at Trevista, where I now work to design and implement an Enrichment program unlike any other in the district. The details will take some time to share; but for now, here is a little teaser…
Trevista Enrichment is transforming the traditional school day with opportunities for students to explore the world creatively and actively. Every afternoon students at Trevista engage in an class of their choice, and classes rotate several times throughout the year. Enrichment at Trevista provides students with alternate pathways to learning, while at the same time bringing an element of fun and choice into the school day. Through this Enrichment Program students explore the world kinesthetically, verbally, spatially, visually, interpersonally, and musically. For while we know that art forms like Music and Dance are not frequently tested subjects, we also know that exploration in these areas strongly support academic growth and increased attendance, particularly in students who do not immediately connect with traditional academic instruction. Currently the program partners with several Community Partners who offer courses like Capoeira, African Drum and Dance, Public Art, Ballet, Piano, Vocal Music, Soccer, Weightlifting, Native American Art and Storytelling, Acting, Technical Theatre and Yoga and other classes geared specifically to restorative justice through the arts like Social Imagination.
Research suggests that involvement in the arts and other enrichment programming can stimulate areas of the brain that result in improved attention, sequencing, and processing. Science tells us that these areas are often underdeveloped in children coming from low SES households. At Trevista 98% of our students are on a free lunch plan. Unfortunately our students have had far fewer opportunities to develop these capacities than students from middle-income households. We strongly believe that our students have the right to experience the same character and brain building opportunities as children attending more affluent schools. Through thoughtful and purposeful programming, we hope to offer our students rich opportunities to grow creatively and academically, while learning more about themselves and their passions.
I look forward to sharing our successes and our challenges with you. Please check back from time to time to see what we are up to!
Best and Sunniest,
Tamera (Cone) Sakotas