School Partners with Artists Reaching Kids (SPARK)
SPARK is that rare program that excites kids about learning demanding concepts straight from Ohio’s education standards in science, language arts, math, social studies, history and of course music, without realizing how hard they are working or how much they are learning. It is evident from the students' own words how they feel about the program:
“SPARK is school all mixed into one exciting activity.”
“It is good in SPARK to write because the music gets your brain going and you can match the story to the music.”
“You should go to the Philharmonic concerts because they have good music that relaxes you and makes you feel good even when you are mad. It has stuff that country and rap don't have like emotions and changes.”
The program is an innovative arts partnership that integrates music into each kindergarten through fifth grade class of partner schools, providing critical repeat exposures. Schools are selected on the basis of need and expressed interest/commitment to integrating SPARK into their school.
Classroom teams of a professional DPO musicians and classroom teachers work together to create lesson plans, which are then implemented by each musician in six in-class lessons using best practices to meet the teacher’s curriculumgoals. The final step is a concert at the Masonic Center where children can experience ‘their musician’ onstage. Teachers quickly discover how SPARK engages students in dramatic ways:
“Integrating the program with our curriculum is so important so kids can see the connections with all subjects and the arts and how it all forms the educational circle.”
“I was floored that my kids were taking notes and were eager to write stories.”
“Kids were so excited about the concert that they were literally sitting on the edge of their seats.”
The SPARK program is a partnership with eight area schools and the DPAA Education Department, administered by Gloria Pugh, Education Director. It has received national acclaim from the League of American Orchestras.