How wonderful that you get that much money. In the district where I
teach in Tucson, AZ there is no money for art supplies. $6.500.00 seems
like a fortune.
From: Mark Paradise [mailto:MParadise@ewindsor.k12.ct.us]
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2011 5:13 AM
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group
Subject: Re:[teacherartexchange] teacherartexchange digest: May 13, 2011
I teach at a middle school (5-8) in CT and our district is by no means
well off. Even though, I've my average art budget per year (for approx.
400 students) is over $6500. Our high school teacher has a budget of
over $8000! I have been teaching for over 30 years and have managed to
increase that amount every year. I think one of the reasons is that my
administrators see the wonderful things I do each year with my students
and how Art (and music) classes improve learning in so many ways.
I concur with all the previous advice that others have given to you. I
would also recommend making sure to contact the PTO to see if they have
extra funds. Going in to see your principal re. what other teachers in
other districts and situations that are similar will help to open
his/her eyes as to what you need.
Be a strong proponent for your program. Put up didactic displays of your
student's work and make sure to keep them fresh and rotated often.
Contact supportive and vocal parents to speak to your local school
board. School boards listen to parents! Remember...your program is all
about servicing the children in your school so as to make them
appreciate art and gain an understanding of how art affects their lives
on a daily basis.
Put up student work in the Board of Ed offices, town hall, local banks
and your library. Institute an "Artist of the Month" program in your
school. Initiate a "Family Arts Nite" This will get parents involved and
into the school to actually participate in Art with their children. I've
done this before and it is met with incredible success!
You can check out the following program and participate in it. It is
called the "Empty Bowls" project- a program to help the hungry
(http://www.emptybowls.net/). Very fulfilling for both families and
those that benefit from it.
Do some research into what the district spends on other student
activities such as band, chorus, sports, field trips, etc. That could be
offer some leverage in increasing your budget.
Consider taking some field trips to local art museums. Talk to the PTO
about assisting with funding.
Team up with other faculty and do cross-curricular projects to get your
program and your teaching skills noticed by the administrators, parents,
board and students.
Come up with some interesting projects that could beautify your school
such as permanent installations. Over the years I've done 15' totem
poles (carved out of red pine), painted murals, mosaic murals (yes we
even made our own tiles), batik banners, and even 7 huge stained glass
windows in the cafeteria!
Your clay issues may mean that you need to reconstitute your clay. Let
it dry and then pound it to small pieces with a sledge hammer. Make sure
to do this outside and wear a dust mask. Put the pieces into 5 gallon
pails and let it sit for a week or two. Pour off the excess water and
you have slip. Pour the slip onto plaster drying bats. You can make some
wooden frames say 2'x2' and line them with a plastic garbage bag. When
the plaster is really dry, then pour the slip onto the bats to harden.
When it is the correct plasticity, then wedge it and bag it. You may be
surprised how it turns out.
I would also recommend finding and applying to a number of art grants.
Although this may help in the short term, though, it is not a long term
solution to your issues.
Be proactive, work hard making your needs known, and good luck. If you
build it, they will come!
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