- Red Bank Borough Public Schools
Red Bank Borough Public Schools has partnered with the Count Basie Center for the Arts to launch an innovative program called mindALIGNED. mindALIGNED's goals are to ensure equitable access and participation of fine arts learning, creative teaching within all classrooms and across the curriculum, and community partnerships with local arts organizations and artists.
Teachers in grades 4 and 5 at the Red Bank Middle School piloted this initiative this 2017-2018 school year and the results are fantastic! Both teachers and students love the creative teaching techniques that span across disciplines and brighten classroom learning by involving students in instructional based strategies that are grounded in the arts to teach any content area, engage students, drive inquiry, promote rigor, and create personal connections to the learning.
Just a few of the strategies employed this past year include "Teacher in a Mess" where students get into a "role" as a character to use their problem-solving abilities to solve an important problem; Sculptor-Clay, where one student, the sculptor, "molds" the other student, the "clay" either by mirroring actions or manipulating their body to create physical models to represent a prompt. Students then take a gallery walk around the room to reflect on their work and switch roles. Another popular strategy is Artifact, which is when students curiously examine objects and use descriptive language to draw evidence-based conclusions as they pass the objects around a circle or view them together as a whole group. Through open-ended questioning, the class builds narratives about the artifacts.
Other benefits of this initiative include professional coaching for the teachers as well as funding for arts partnerships to bring artists into the classroom and also to bring in assemblies for students. This year students in grades 4 and 5 participated in a hands-on STEAM assembly by Young Audiences on Science SuperHeroes.
We look forward to next year when the mindALIGNED initiative will expand to include all teachers at all grade levels in the Middle School. There is a community goal that by 2030, every school and district in Monmouth and Ocean counties will be mindALGINED and engaged in the arts and creative learning.