Ravenswood Elementary School will be one of three schools in Chicago to host an national arts school conference this week, convening educators from across the country to discuss arts education techniques and to showcase the school’s integrated arts curriculum.
Ravenswood Elementary School, 4332 N. Paulina St., will be opened to arts educators from across the country on Wednesday, Oct. 17 as part of the Arts Schools Network’s week-long annual conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “Exploring Arts Education in a Creative Cityscape.”
Longtime art teacher Catherine Conde, known to her students as “Ms. Kitty,” has seen a shift in recent years in the approach to arts education from other teachers.
“What’s interesting now, to me, is that teachers connect with the arts as opposed to the arts always reaching out to them,” Conde said.
Parent volunteer Wendy Vasquez, who has two children enrolled, is thrilled—but not surprised—with the school being selected as part of the conference, crediting the school’s arts-based curriculum.
“One of the things we love most about Ravenswood is its full arts department,” Vasquez said. “We have our full-time art teacher, music teacher [and] drama teacher. Not only do our kids have access to those classes every week, but Ravenswood has an extensive arts integration program where they actually bring the arts into the classroom to enhance each of the four subject areas.”
Ravenswood was selected to be one of the featured schools by the Chicago Public Schools Office of Arts Education, according to Conde.
Conde, while acknowledging the potential recognition Ravenswood Elementary could receive from the visit, has found her own personal benefits from being under the conference’s microscope.
“It pushes my practice to make sure I’m really clear and explicit about what I’m trying to do and it makes me think about it because I have to explain it to somebody,” she said. “This is pushing me to think…about our thinking.”
The Arts Schools Network was founded in 1981 in an effort to promote excellence in arts education by “inspiring and serving arts leaders, institutions and organizations.”