Back-To-School: Arts Education Roundtable (Hosted by Harlem Stage and TYA/USA)
What does back-to-school look like this year, especially for BIPOC communities? This forum, co-hosted by Harlem Stage and TYA/USA, examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, with specific focus on students of color. What challenges are students and educators facing due to distance learning, gaps in access to technology, protests responding to the killing of unarmed citizens, a health pandemic, and being quarantined? Will arts education remain relevant and prioritized as an essential tool for students to self-express and navigate the complexity of being young in America in 2020? How can arts education cultivate joy and engage young people through crisis? These conversations will excavate the unique challenges, strategies and opportunities that this crisis has presented, while interrogating endemic systemic racism in public education.
Moderated by Monique Martin (Harlem Stage) and Jonathan Shmidt Chapman (TYA/USA)
This education forum will bring together educators, teaching artists, social workers, students and artists to seek answers to these questions: How has distance learning affected students’ productivity? How can arts education be re-imagined for digital platforms? How have Black and Brown students and communities, specifically, been impacted? What policies, practices and resources must be shifted, dismantled or improved? What tangible steps can we take to support the parents, students and educators in our communities?
Date: Monday, August 17, 2020
Time: 4:00 - 5:30 PM ET
Cost: Free for Everyone
Shawana Kemp is a native Harlemite. As early as middle school Shawana’s interest in the arts led her to attend the East Harlem Performing Arts School. During her audition she caught the attention of casting agents for the Cosby Show and was cast in the National tour of The Tap Dance Kid. Shawana went on to attend Performing Arts High School and continued to perform in shows such as Sarafina, Once On This Island, and even toured with Eric Idol performing the music of Monty Python. In addition to her musical theatre pursuits Shawana developed her own song writing skills, which secured her original songs “Gone” and “Apple Pie” on network television shows.
Most recently Shawana has performed with her band Shine and the Moonbeams in the most premiere venues in New York City, such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Guggenheim Museum. Shine and the Moonbeams is an original project created for family audiences. Shawana is also a special education teacher and has worked in the some of the toughest schools in New York City. She would like to combine her love of students to produce a musical that informs the masses that this population is a substantial part of the entire human experience and doesn’t exist in its own vacuum.
A San Francisco native, and graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana and California State University Monterey Bay, Muslimah Mohammed is a veteran educator with 25 years of classroom experience. She has taught in private, charter, and public schools in all grades. Since 2016 Muslimah has served as one of four Peer Assistance and Review Consulting Teachers for the Oakland Unified School District tasked with instructional coaching and mentoring of beginning as well as veteran teachers throughout the district. For the 2020/2021 academic year Muslimah will join the Emerson Elementary school community in Oakland as their Teacher on Special Assignment where her primary role, in addition to coaching, will be to plan professional development. She is currently completing a Master of School Administration program at the REACH Institute for School Leadership.
While Muslimah is a staunch advocate for teachers, she is first and foremost a student advocate. She knows that excellence lives in all children and it is our responsibility as educators to facilitate the discovery and evolution of their gifts. In addition to her wealth of experience in classroom pedagogy and management, she brings her great enthusiasm, infinite creativity, unwavering faith, and deep abiding love to her work. She is honored to participate in this panel discussion.
Graham Johnson is a music teacher at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS) in Manhattan. He led the expansion of the WHEELS music program to span Pre-K through 12th grade. He has taught elementary, middle and high school band and general music classes, as well as special education, for twelve years. His teaching is grounded in improvisation and the musical languages of Latin, jazz, pop and hip-hop music. He partners with organizations that connect his students with local musicians and activists, including Harlem Stage, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Carnegie Hall and Manhattan School of Music. He plays piano with jazz groups in New York City, where he has also had the opportunity to study with top musicians on the Latin music scene. He studied economics, music theory and jazz piano at Oberlin College, and received his MS in Education from City College.
Charles Thompson is the Founder and Executive Director of Sound Business, Inc. (SBI), a not-for-profit education services organization established in 1989. Thompson brought SBI to Harlem’s Randolph Campus High School in 1991, with a mission that focused on fostering systemic socio-economic change through grassroots initiatives aimed at transforming public high school environments into empowerment zones.
SBI’s principal program at Randolph is the College and Career Preparatory Institute (CCPI). Students enrolled in CCPI prepare academically, attitudinally and socio-culturally for admission to selective 4-year residential colleges. The success of the program is due in part to its incorporation of performing arts across its curriculum. Charles credits the program’s longevity to alumni engagement. He also credits much of the program’s evolution (i.e., from a career exploration workshop to today’s inclusive grassroots cooperative) to alumni currently serving on SBI’s board and/or in advisory capacities within the organization.
In 2005, Charles formed C.R. Thompson Education Services. It is a business which provides college advisement to individuals and corporate clients. Thompson offers specialized services aimed at providing students of color greater access to more selective liberal arts colleges and the more competitive SUNY schools. Thompson has been the college advisement consultant for Capital One Bank since 2006. He provides services to the bank’s high school Student Banker programs in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, Bronx, Harlem and Newark, New Jersey.
Charles Thompson is a native of Lynchburg, Virginia. He is a graduate of Delaware State University. Charles is a former high school choral music director in Baltimore County, Maryland.
In 1980, Charles and his wife, Jean Mack, moved from Baltimore, Maryland to New York City, where they have resided in Manhattan’s East Village. They are the parents of three children, all of whom attended New York City public schools.
Kalitchi Figueroa has taught theater arts and served as Arts Education Liaison at PS 48 in Manhattan for the past 18 years. He teaches all grades from 3K to fifth grade (ages 3-11 y/o). As an Arts Education Liaison, he has coordinated several theater and dance residencies in collaboration with arts organizations, including the American Ballroom Theater/Dancing Classrooms, Teatro Sea, Creative Outlet and The New Victory Theater. In addition, he has participated on arts education advocacy panels at conferences for teachers, parents, and administrators. He has also been a NYCDOE’s contributing writer for the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning Theater, the Theater Curriculum Map, and a professional development facilitator for the Office of Arts and Special Projects and the Manhattan Region. His participation in the USDOE’s Arts Assessment for Learning Program produced two formative assessment research publications, one on pantomime with dual language students and another on playwriting with English language learners. He has maintained a ten-year theater laboratory with the New Victory Theater and his own Experimental Theater Program at PS 48 since 2003. He has a BA in Theater from the University of Puerto Rico, and a MA in Theater from Hunter College (CUNY).