Young Artists Academy.
The We.APP Young Artists Academy (YAA) is the only public speaking class offered as an elective or Language Arts program during the school day. YAA is designed to teach young scholars to discover their unique voice, and create original work that expresses their view on education, home, and life. Our performance-based methods are anchored in using writing to empower participants to present ideas that reflect their clear, passionate, and distinctive perspective of the world. Our unique methodology to teaching literacy and communication skills deepens their appreciation for the power of words and how writers use strategies like vocabulary, literary devices, and modes of discourse to convey a message.
Expanded Learning Opportunity:
We.APP YAA is an Expanded Learning Opportunities program that cultivates leadership through writing, speaking and presenting. YAA provides an in-school platform that inspires young scholars to write powerful narratives that captures their deepest feelings and aspirations. Young scholars from elementary to high school write and perform original works that address issues such as: bullying, peer-pressure, self-esteem, leadership, social justice, disparity, equity, career goals, and diversity. These narratives combat silence to promote literacy and inclusion which are critical towards disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline. These works are developed into fun, yet impactful culminating projects that can are viewed as guides/standards for students of all ages.
Our model is built on partnering with schools where promising youth may be experiencing social, economic, and family trauma including: poverty and financial instability, caregiver instability, and various drug and alcohol addiction-related disruptions. For example, research shows that young males of color begin to disengage in academics around the intermediate stage of their schooling.
We.APP YAA Goals:
Our main objective for YAA is to be an integral part of what schools provide to bridge that engagement and opportunity gap. Our strategy incorporates integrating public speaking and performance art to reengage students in their reading, writing, and listening process. By teaching students to expand vocabulary, critical thinking skills, and ability to collaborate, students increase their ability to self-direct, adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, and speak with purpose as it relates to school and home. All these things contribute to a child’s ability to focus and stay engaged in their learning process as it relates to the classroom, home, and self-exploration.
Goals and Outcomes:
- Deliver yearlong day school program
- Provide experienced professional teaching artists to instruct yearlong classes side-by-side with day school teachers
- YAA Instructors co-teach with classroom teachers to develop and deliver curriculum that compliments core subject areas of study and daily lesson plans
- Students master common-core skills such as interpreting words and phrases, preparing and participating in a range of conversation and collaborations, demonstrating command of standard English, and producing clear and coherent writing
- Provide professional development for day-school teachers throughout the school year
What are we thriving to change:
Student Advocacy: YAA’s goal is to equip young scholars with the tools necessary to advocate for their education. Many YAA scholars are dealing with homelessness, abuse, poverty, or peer-pressure which effects their classroom performance. Our goal is to provide them with the tools necessary to express their thoughts openly in order to generate support and resources necessary to thrive in and out of school.
Perception: Words are powerful. The We.APP Philosophy states that “if you change your words, you can change your beliefs.” Helping teachers change their language in the classroom sets a different standard of expectations for young scholars. In our YAA classes, we expect teachers to acknowledge all students as scholars, which is a greater expectation than simply being a student. We refer to teachers as guides, which changes the perception of what it means to teach. As a guide teachers build relationships and partnerships with scholars as they guide them through Project Based Learning (PBL) and Experimental Learning.