Arnhold Dance Teacher Support Program
Since 2004, Jody and John Arnhold and the Arnhold Foundation have contributed approximately $2 million to support dance education in NYC schools. Through this longstanding partnership with the Arnholds, The Fund and DOE are committed to providing high-quality professional learning resources for dance teachers. Enabling the development of an annual cohort of dance educators will add substantially to the creation of a cadre of high-quality, experienced dance teachers serving students throughout New York City. Additionally, this work allows for the continued identification and sustenance of promising practices that lead to transformative, system-wide improvements to dance education in NYC public schools.
The Arnhold Dance Teacher Support Program has provided significant mentorship, training, and support for dance educators, increasing the number of New York City public school students who have access to dedicated dance education since 2008.
One of the challenges in developing dance teachers is the relative isolation many feel when they begin teaching. Too often they are the only dance teacher, and may also be one of the only arts teachers, in their school. As such, they don’t have the benefit of learning about best practices from the colleagues they see daily and it is a challenge for them to build camaraderie with other dance teachers with whom they have few opportunities throughout the school year to share dance teaching practices.
Over the years, the Arnhold Dance Teacher Support Program has:
- Provided for free participation in ongoing professional development opportunities for the entire cohort of dance educators.
- Offered free high-quality professional development by the Dance Education Laboratory at the 92Y to Pre-K teachers participating in Dance Universal Pre-K Professional Development.
- Supported all DOE dance educators by providing them with the opportunity to dance and choreograph at the Dance Collective Educators Concert with a teaching artist from a professional dance company to help them continue developing their dance artistry.
- Facilitated live-stream viewing by individuals of the Dance Collective Educators Concert, which was viewed last year by individuals from 17 countries and 11 states.
- Facilitated the compilation of a video archive of close to 40 full-day dance teacher professional development sessions since the creation of the NYCDOE Dance Blueprint.
- Created a pathway for dance educators of all levels of experience to write, review and share original dance units inspired by social studies issues, literary sources and scientific ideas. These interdisciplinary dance units address the Dance Making strand of the NYCDOE Dance Blueprint.
- Advocated for high-quality dance education in public schools by inviting school administrators to screenings of the documentary PSDance! and duplicating the DVD for dissemination.
- Developed a lesson plan and unit tutoring program to assist dance teachers who need further support in dance curriculum writing.
- Conducted a rigorous evaluation of all program activities (led by Metis Associates) to inform program planning moving forward.
In a recent dance citywide PD session, eighty-seven percent of respondents reported plans for applying session content to their own classrooms, with responses focusing on transforming literary works into choreography, and implementing lesson and unit ideas into pedagogical strategies, especially related to creating essential questions and promoting student agency. NYCDOE dance educators across the city have developed, over the last two years, curriculum connected to social studies issues as well as literary work thus inspiring students to create and perform original dances inspired by the world around them. This year, dance educators will look closely at the relationship between dance and science and will develop curricula aligned with the DOE’s Science scope and sequence.
Specific New Dance Teacher Supports exist within the larger Arnhold Dance Teacher Support Program as well. This suite of resources has been designed to stem attrition and connect teachers who are new to the system with their peers and colleagues across the city. Key elements of the Arnhold New Dance Teacher Supports include:
· A mentorship program in which NYC master dance teachers provide instructional support and set up inter-visitation viewing sessions to first and second year dance teachers.
- A New Dance Teacher Tool Kit valued at approximately $1000 to support the work in the dance classroom. The Tool Kit includes DVD’s, CD’s, books, and a variety of other instructional materials to support the dance curriculum and help the new teacher address the NYCDOE Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Dance.
- Free courses, weekend workshops, and week-long summer intensives offered by the 92nd Street Y’s Dance Education Laboratory Program which offers high-quality professional development directly connected to teaching practice.
- A $2500 stipend that allows new dance teachers and their school community to engage with well-known dance cultural organizations to bring intensive and targeted dance residencies for the benefit of both teachers and students.
- Annual opportunities to meet and develop a professional relationship with alumni who had previously received Arnhold New Dance Teacher Supports.
Teachers receiving Arnhold New Dance Teacher Supports have noted over the years how these resources have helped boost their classroom management skills, broaden their perspective as dance educators, inspired the development of new curricula, and strengthened their teaching practices and collegial relationships.