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Monday, July 28, 2014

Looking Back on the Second Annual Summer Institute

400+ Teachers Receive Professional Development in Arts-Integration That Will Impact the Lives of Over 5,000 Louisiana Families

From July 20-25, 2014, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was home to the Louisiana A+ Schools Summer Institute presented by Chevron, a transformative professional development opportunity for all teachers in the LAA+ network.  This year GRFA worked with nine schools in the LAA+ program:

1.  South Highlands Elementary Magnet in Shreveport
2.  Grace Episcopal School in Monroe
3.  Epiphany Day School in New Iberia
4.  The Dufrocq School in Baton Rouge
5.  Riverside Academy in Reserve
6.  Martin Behrman Academy in New Orleans
7.  Homer A. Plessy Community School in New Orleans*
8.  St. Helena Arts & Technology Academy in Greensburg*
9.  Homer Elementary School in Homer*

*Also a member school of the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities' Turnaround Arts: Louisiana.

Although these institutions are scattered across the state, they share a common mission to use arts integration to inspire students and transform their schools.  Each day at the Summer Institute featured engaging workshops to provide teachers with the tools and resources necessary to implement the Eight A+ Essentials into their curriculum.

The three new schools added this year will also be part of the Turnaround Arts: Louisiana initiative, a program of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.  GRFA is honored to have been selected as the Louisiana program director and looks forward to using the A+ method to turnaround these schools using the arts.

We were fortunate to have Kathy Fletcher, National Director of Turnaround Arts, speak to attendees on our opening night.  As our three new Turnaround A+ Schools prepare for the coming school year, her message of the importance of arts in the classroom was especially relevant.  We were also excited to have a special presentation from Dr. James Catterall of UCLA, who along with his research team will be conducting a multi-year study of the LAA+ program.

Dr. James Catterall and Turnaround Arts Director Kathy Fletcher each addressed attendees on the opening night.

Our teachers hit the ground running the next day with multiple arts integration workshops.  Whether using music to teach math or theater to teach the life cycle of a butterfly, the sessions explored techniques for engaging students.

Participants enjoyed dinner and music at Vermilionville Living History and Folk Like Park.  That evening, GRFA was presented a donation of $15,000 from the principal of A+ affiliate South Highlands Elementary Magnet to support arts integration professional development.

Dinner at Vermilionville

GRFA Executive Director Jacques Rodrigue accepts a check from South Highlands Elementary Magnet.

We are so grateful to the fellows of the Oklahoma A+ Schools program for lending their assistance and expertise throughout the week.  In addition, we extend our gratitude to Chevron for sponsoring with LAA+ Summer Institute.  This professional development is crucial to our program, and we couldn't have done it without their support.

Be on the lookout for updates throughout the year from our nine Louisiana A+ Schools!

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