Jump to: Arts Connect (graduate course, arts integration and UDL); Arts to Smarts (working with students with severe emotional and behavioral challenges); Start with the Arts (early childhood arts and literacy)

Young adults stand at a counter use swimming noodles dipped in paint to create varied works of art.

Staff members of the Boys & Girls Club of Burlington paint with swimming noodles after reading a book about elephants painting as part of a Professional Development training to learn creative ways to link art to language development.

For Artists

VSA Vermont (VSA VT) provides Professional Development for artists to help teaching artists work effectively in our programs using inclusive methods and adaptive tools. Participation in a variety of our programs also helps artists with disabilities who are interested in furthering their professional goals.

“The awareness that not everybody learns like you, that’s really in my bones now. That was huge for me. It was an opportunity to work with a new group and to find it immensely satisfying and challenging. It forced me to not rely so much on language, to re-invent how I was going to communicate across a wide range of communication styles. It’s something I can take with me to other settings, such as my teaching at Community Colleges.”
Gail Marlene Schwartz, theater at Champlain Community Services

Arts Connect

VSA Vermont (VSA VT) leads a partnership of arts and education organizations in presenting Vermont’s first ever graduate level course for teaching artists in Arts Integration and Universal Design for Learning, presented through Saint Michael’s College with Burlington’s Integrated Arts Academy as the training site. Participating artists engage in classroom observation as well as reading and reflection, all of which they use to design of model curriculum units demonstrating inclusive teaching methods that can support the goals of classroom teachers in core curriculum subjects. Participating arts partners include VSA VT, the Flynn Center, Burlington City Arts and the Vermont Arts Council. Educational partners are Burlington’s Integrated Arts Academy and Saint Michael’s College.

“Teaching is a learning process as much for the instructor, as it is for the students. This last point has challenged my assumptions. I understand that we are learning all the time, but to see how we can improve ourselves by observing others, really is an awakening.”

“The Universal Design for Learning Guidelines has provided me with a brilliant framework to make sure that I am hitting all areas to engage and move as many students as possible.”
Participating teaching artist

For more information about future course opportunities for artists or to find out how these and other artists can bring their expertise to your school, contact us.

Arts to Smarts

boy in a mask

A young boy in a t-shirt and jeans wears a handmade mask which is a shiny foil disk and a long elephant-like nose, covered in bright green folded squares that cover the disk like scales or armor.

Are you a teaching artist who believes art can and does change lives? Do you want to teach students who have dynamic creativity and expression? Would you like to connect with other teaching artists who care about engaging students with emotional and behavioral challenges? VSA Vermont’s Arts to Smarts project is looking for teaching artists who want to be part of this leading edge conversation and practice.

The Arts to Smarts Professional Development Pilot training is designed to provide both information and direct experience engaging students with severe emotional and behavioral challenges through the arts. Taught by VSA Vermont Teaching Artist, Lisa M. Condino in partnership with Sandra Limoge and other faculty from Baird School, the course will begin with 3 day-long in person intensives, arts-based activities, guest speakers, assigned readings and webinars, on-line and in person reflection followed by collaborative planning sessions and a practicum at Baird School (Howard Center) in Burlington. The course will wrap up with a final in-person meeting.

For more details, including meeting dates, instructor bio, and stipend information, see this post.

There are several ways you can connect with VSA Vermont’s Arts to Smarts Project as it continues to develop.

  1. Add your name to the Arts to Smarts e-mail list by emailing Heidi
  2. Attend a gathering of interested teaching artists; sign up by emailing Heidi
  3. Apply for the 2016 Arts to Smart training: download an application (.docx)Applications are due by 4pm on August 1, 2016.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Heidi Swevens at 802.238.5170 or heidi@vsavt.org.

Start with the Arts

Instructor demonstrates preschool drama to other instructors.

Start With The Arts instructor, Rosemary Moser, raises her arms to demonstrate preschool drama at a staff development day while other instructors watch, smiling.

Professional Development includes both on-site experiential mentoring and after class reflection.

VSA VT’s Start With The Arts program for childcare providers is an example of professional development linked to State Core Competencies, applicable to STARS applications and tailored to the needs of each provider.

Childcare providers participating in Start With The Arts get 20 training hours that are authorized by Northern Lights Career Development Center for required Core Competencies in Teaching and Learning. Training hours also can be used in applications for STARS points and for Advanced Training hours used for Specialized Care status. Start With The Arts training hours also may be used to advance in the Vermont Career Ladder for early childhood professionals.

“The thing I learned is, you can just sit and read a book, but when you add in activities it really makes it interesting. The whole experience shows me now I can do that.”

Participating Childcare ProviderOur partners at Vermont Birth-3 and the Vermont Childcare Providers Association Accreditation Project (VCCPA) are available to help childcare providers with the paperwork to make use of Start With The Arts authorized training hours.

For more information see Start With The Arts or contact us.