Professional Development

Minneapolis Public Schools offer some fantastic opportunities for professional development.  This is a list of programs I am currently involved in:

Focus on Arts Culture and Excellence for Teachers and Students (FACETS):

Approximately every other month, I attend meetings with other arts teachers from the district.  While at the meetings, we hear from speakers and musicians from different cultural backgrounds, in order to enhance our teaching through cultural perspectives.  We also reserve time to share ideas and lessons centered around specific cultures, with other teachers in the district.  Throughout the past two years we have had the pleasure of learning about the Somali, Native American and Afro-Cuban music cultures as well as musical styles that originated right here in the United States.

2012 brought some very cool experiences for me and my students.  We had sessions from a local spoken word artist Toki Wright, professional percussionist Kevin Washington, and Latin percussionists Doug Little and Rey Rivera (who actually came to do a workshop and performance with our students).

Little Kids Rock

In early March 2011, I attended a two-day conference on how to make guitar and other instruments immediately accessible to all students.  As a result, the students release some of their inhibitions that prevent them from performing and/or succeeding in music.  As an added bonus, Fender Guitars, along with Dr. Phil (yes, the Dr. Phil) donated 30 guitars to our classroom!  This program is now fully in tact.  (I was also fortunate enough to have a follow-up class/extension in January of 2014.)

Make Music

Thanks to Make Music for giving us a two-day training on Finale music notation software and Smart Music.   Along with the training, Folwell will now be equipped with both programs for student and teacher use.

Professional Learning Communities

As part of continuous professional development, we meet weekly with grade level teachers to discuss progress and strategies to use with students, as well as meet with reading experts.  In addition, we also meet as an Arts staff to discuss arts integration possibilities and strategies, while developing continuity of of expectations among all of the art forms.