Everyday Arts for Special Education, 2013 Summer Institute

This past July, MNMP/Urban Arts Partnership and the New York City Special Education District, District 75, presented the Everyday Arts for Special Education (EASE) Summer Institute, an intensive five-day training event for both elementary school and arts teachers across the New York City region. For the full duration of the EASE Summer Institute, teachers and EASE staff met at New Design High School in Lower Manhattan to discuss and explore the benefits of curriculum-integrated arts instruction for students with a range of disabilities.

Researcher Dr. Rob Horowitz, the independent evaluator for the EASE Investing in Innovation (i3) research grant, joined as a guest speaker. As evaluator, Horowitz has examined the program’s ten pilot District 75 schools in the five boroughs of New York City to determine the impacts of the arts on Special Education and provide insight into EASE’s role with expanding student success through the arts. At the Summer Institute, Horowitz offered his preliminary findings on the positive effect EASE arts activities have on students and their learning, as well as the benefits the arts have on schools and teaching practices.

The EASE Summer Institute curriculum paid specific attention to New York state’s Common Core standards by demonstrating how the EASE approach to arts integration can enhance these new standards as well as help special education students achieve greater communication, socialization and learning.

 A selection of EASE teaching artists worked closely with participants to share multidisciplinary approaches and offer their personal experiences working within public schools across New York City. The Summer Institute took a hands-on approach by inviting participants to actively discover the ways music, movement, theater and visual arts activities can enliven the classroom experience and enhance a student’s learning capabilities. The group had a fantastic time creating murals, playing music, and dancing together. And most importantly, the Summer Institute offered a platform for teachers to connect over the successes and challenges associated with integrating the arts into their classrooms.

Hear what EASE Summer Institute Participants had to say!

It is helpful to have an opportunity to incorporate the EASE activities into hypothetical lessons. It is a good way to think about all the elements that I take for granted and think they will work out on their own.

I find that this program has changed my perspective about the teaching and learning process. It is very refreshing and motivating and I really enjoyed the EASE approach!

The teachers [from EASE treatment schools] that came in today were so so good to hear. They truly have convinced me this would work.

About Everyday Arts for Special Education:

Everyday Arts for Special Education is a joint presentation of New York City’s Special Education District, District 75, and Urban Arts Partnership. The EASE Methodology is developed through a five-year research grant funded by the US Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) program and has proven effective in increasing students’ communication and socialization skills, classroom behavior and academic learning.