Arts Education

Nathan Cone / TPR

To get to San Antonio's Northeast School of the Arts Cinema Lab, you first walk into the imposingly-sized Lee High School (which feels like it’s tripled its size since NESA opened in 1997), then head underground and down a long hallway. A nondescript door opens onto a semi-darkened room where a dozen or so students are studying the latest “Alien” movie trailer on one wall of the classroom.

Nathan Cone / TPR

Over 16 years at San Antonio's Northeast School of the Arts (NESA), Konise Millender has seen and shepherded hundreds of films to production. She's the head of the Department of Cinema at the magnet school based on the Lee High School campus. This year, one of the seniors in the program, Pierson Hawkins, has a short film in the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin. I took the opportunity to finally visit the cinema lab at NESA to learn more about the program, where I spoke to Millender.

The Texas Cultural Trust has a new website that tracks arts education programs at school districts across the state. The map is one way the trust is encouraging parents and students to push for more art education in their local schools. There you can see programs broken down by elementary, middle and high schools in each school district. It looks at how many arts credits were earned by students, the number of art courses offered and the number of students per arts teacher. 

Think Science: STEAM

Sep 23, 2016
Jo Sittenfeld / RISD

For years, STEM has been primary school education’s shiny penny. It’s a focus on developing students and teachers’ talents in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, with an eye toward readying young minds for the jobs of the future.  President Barack Obama’s dream is for American students to “move from the middle of the top in science and math.”

A group of 10- and 11-year-olds giggle as professional cellist Frederic Rosselet flexes his wrist as if he's made of rubber. "Really flexible in your wrist," he tells the students. "It's your arm basically that does the work."

The cello students at Downer Elementary School in San Pablo, Calif., drag their bows across their cello's strings, following Rosselet's wrist-shaking lead.

Screeeech. It needs work.

"Guys, wanna try that again? 'Forte' means?"

"Loud!" the students reply.

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