Teachers academies in Danville focus on linguistics, music

Published 9:34 am Friday, June 23, 2017

About 24 middle- and high-school educators from around Kentucky gathered at Danville High School for the four-day Arts-Literacy Integration Academy this week.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Sara Soltau, teaching artist and Arts-Literacy Integration Academy faculty member, back, and Mark Dycus, teacher from Calloway County High School, place sticky notes on the posters of various groups. The educators wrote their responses after groups presented their projects on Thursday, showing what they had been working on all week.

The academy is funded by the Kentucky Department of Education, which contracts with The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts to offer the academies. The academies have been held since 2000, said Jeffrey Jamner, senior director of education and community arts at the center.

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“This is one of five academies that we’re doing around the state this year,” he said.

The first version of the academy in Danville was held in 2002. This year, the Danville event was focused on middle- and high-school educators in the fields of music, arts and humanities, or English.

“We really wanted to create an academy that would be a more direct fit for the high-school level teachers, particularly the high-school band and chorus and English teachers, that they have good connections,” Jamner said. “We did this primarily through two lenses. One is the linguistic, communicative qualities of music; and the musical qualities of language.”

Each group worked on their projects throughout the week, presenting on Thursday. One such group played music, asking their colleagues to write down their reactions to the songs they heard, and then talking about how they could help their students better describe the songs. They also read a piece of poetry as one of the songs played.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Tiffany Medlock from Jackson County High School, left, and Emily Warne, center, and Adam Lyons, right, both from Johnson Central High School, share with other music and English teachers about how they can use the project in their schools.

After their presentations, other participants would give feedback via sticky notes placed on their respective boards. After all of the presentations, they would reflect on the responses.

“Reflection is an important part of what we do,” Jamner said.

He said they encouraged many educators to participate in the academies, giving preference to those who came as a team from their respective schools, because it would encourage collaboration when they returned home.

Jamner said they enjoyed coming to Danville for a few reasons: Jane Dewey, district director of arts education at Danville Independent Schools, calling her an “incredible resource” to the state; Gravely Hall with an excellent piano; and the location, making it accessible to a lot of teachers.

“We really do appreciate the partnership we have had with Danville Schools over the years,” Jamner said.