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Episode 83: Inside the New Majestic Elementary Arts Academy

It is music to the ears of students who have a passion for instrumental and visual arts. The brand new Majestic Elementary Arts Academy is opening in Jordan School District for the 2021-22 school year.

On this episode of the Supercast, we take you inside the new school where elementary aged artists and young musicians are extremely excited about having arts integrated into daily classroom instruction in the coming year.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello, and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. It is music to the ears of students who have a passion for instrumental and visual arts. The brand new Majestic Elementary Arts Academy is opening in Jordan School District for the 2021-22 school year. On this episode of the Supercast, we go inside the new school where elementary aged artists and young musicians are extremely excited about having arts integrated into daily classroom instruction. As part of the Arts Academy, let's start by talking to some teachers. The students are getting pretty creative in classrooms where music and the arts are already coming alive.

You're here at Majestic Elementary School with Ishel and Lisa to talk about next year and the way that we're going to integrate art and music into learning all day every day. And we're really excited about that. Let's start talking about art first. I know you're the art teacher because you have your starry night mask on. Van Gogh would be very proud, although he would only be able to hang it on one side of his face. He wouldn't be able to wear the mask the way you are. Let's talk about art next year at Majestic. What's that going to look like?

Teacher:
It's going to look similar to how we're doing it here. This year, every single one of our students gets to have at least 45 minutes of art time. For our younger and older grades, they have art twice a week. So every other day, I'm in their classrooms, working with them on our current or upcoming projects.

Anthony Godfrey:
And tell me, how does art integrating into the rest of the learning that they're doing?

Teacher:
When I come in during our 45 minutes of art time, sometimes we integrate some of the core curriculum into our art session. I've taught the water cycle with my students. We've integrated culture. During that time, the other teachers can integrate arts during their own time. I just walked into sixth graders who were literally drawing and sketching out the solar system, by scale. So they were shading, coloring different planets. They were already integrating art into their science time. And then when I came in, it was time for it.

Anthony Godfrey:
When you think about it, it just seems obvious that when students are engaged like this, they're going to learn at a deeper level and they're going to have better levels of retention.  I believe that 100%.

Teacher:
Absolutely. So when students, usually in art class, I have about 90 to 100% engagement. Every student is listening. Every student, their hands are working on their projects, whether it's clay, a pencil drawing, painting, or weaving, Currently, we are doing weaving. They are integrating art into their normal day to day. Science core curriculum, I see so much more engagement and teachers do as well. For example, if some teachers wanted to integrate the water cycle into their science session of the day, if they had kids draw out each - precipitation, condensation, evaporation, when you have students draw it out visually, I think it reaches a lot more than just having them listen to a lecture

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, even just taking notes by hand has been shown to keep things in your head. When you're drawing pictures and you're engaged with art, it's really a new method for accessing knowledge and holding on to that knowledge.

Speaking of active learning, being involved in music is a great way to be actively involved. Tell me about how music is a part of the day.

Teacher:
Right. Music's going to be a part of the day for these students every day. They're going to receive a 45 minute block of instruction, and this is going to be all grades, kindergarten through sixth grade. It's going to look a little different from the lower grades to upper grades. The lower grades, kindergarten through third grade, are going to be doing what we call a music foundations, where they are working with some instruments. They're learning how to read music. They're learning rhythms, and they're getting some hands on with some different things. They might get to be singing some things also. And what's going to look different in the upper grades is grades four through six. The kids are actually going to be involved in band. So every student in the elementary school will be playing a band instrument, whether it be flute, clarinet, um, trumpet, trombone, or percussion. And this is a rather unique experience. I don't know of any other school in the state. That's got this opportunity for kids. Some, some schools it's two or three times a week, but we're gonna, these students are going to get it every single day.

Anthony Godfrey:
So not only will that be just a part of learning every day, but there'll be performing. There'll be part of a school-wide group. I do think that's unique. I can't think of anyone else that's doing that.

Anthony Godfrey:
Let's talk about what you want parents to know. If parents are considering having their students come to Majestic, what would you tell them about next year and what would be in store for them?

Teacher:
So, let's see. I would want parents to know that their student is going to get, um, a lot of exposure to the arts in music, as well as the visual arts. I would want parents to know that students will be able to name and recognize different art styles, different artists. We're going to be talking about art history. Your child will be able to use clay work with weaving paint, draw, uh, maybe even pursue a little bit in photography as well. We are really trying, we really expecting to have a very wide exposure to all types of different visual arts

Anthony Godfrey:
It's for your kids. And there's a level of creativity that goes with that. That is going to have the Synopsys firing in the brain, working in ways that it just doesn't when you're learning in a more passive way or in a way that isn't as engaging. What if a student doesn't feel like an artist or feel like they're good at art?

Teacher:
That is a great and totally valid question. I have seen different students, when I come into their classroom immediately shut down because they're afraid to pick up a pencil and start drawing. They're a little embarrassed about their level, or they just aren't interested in painting or clay. But I know that there is creativity and artistic potential in all of us, whether that is through the visual arts or music, dance theater, it blends into everything. I have had experiences with students who definitely say, I'm not an artist. I can't even draw a stick figure, and they really pushed back. But then once I show them that there are so many different kinds of art, like photography, graffiti art album covers art graphic design. Once they start to see that there's different ways they can pursue the art, other than just drawing with a pencil and paper, then their creativity starts to flow and they can really see themselves as an artist.

Anthony Godfrey:
And I would imagine that the visual arts and performing arts really can build a student's confidence.

Teacher:
One other thing I'd like to add to what we've talked about here is with the music. In music, there's multiple studies out there that only show the benefits that music has to a kid's education. I think one of the key areas is when you're playing a musical instrument, your brain is thinking about so many things at the same time. It' a multi-discipline thing. You're reading music. I could sit down and I could read a book and I'm going to read a book and I'm going to see those visual images in my mind as I'm reading. When I'm reading music, I'm reading expressions and how it's supposed to sound and the feeling I'm supposed to put into it. I'm also having to engage other things I'm having to do. How does my face make this instrument make a sound or my hands or my arms, and I've got to count and I've got to keep a steady pulse. There's just so many multi-discipline things that happened at once that really engage a student and really open up other areas of the brain. And I think that's one thing that really aids with opening their minds up for other parts.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. Music really allows you to focus and to open up all at the same time. And a lot does run through your mind when you're playing an instrument. What would you say to someone who says, I'm not musical? I don't have access to a musical instrument. This isn't for me.

Teacher:
That's great because we are providing the instruments for the kids. The school owns the instruments. They're all stacked up here behind us. We've got all the instruments that'll be offered to the kids. We teach them how to take care of them and how they're going to be able to play them.

Anthony Godfrey:
These look like these are going to be really fun boxes to open. They look awesome. And I should describe. We've got long hollow tubes of various colors. We've got all kinds of cases and instruments. And the Board has really invested a lot of money in getting this up and running to provide this unique opportunity for any elementary age student who wants to sign up. Every kid should deserves this.

Teacher:
Absolutely. I think I totally agree with that. I think parents should know this is an opportunity for their students, that they're not going to be able to find anywhere else. And if they want a full experience for their kids, it's not only going to be like we're in class learning, but we get the opportunity to get out and perform and show everybody what it is that we're learning here at Majestic Elementary Arts Academy.

Anthony Godfrey:
What I like about what you've described is that this is everybody together. It's not, I'm one of the orchestra kids, or I'm an artist. Everybody's an artist, everyone's a musician. Everyone's a learner together. We're here with Kathe Riding, Principal at Majestic. Music had a big impact on you when you were a student. Didn't it?

Principal:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about that.

Principal:
I was a Title I student and the school I was at incorporated orchestra into our school. So for four years I played the violin. And that's the only thing I got for Christmas one year. I wanted that instrument so bad because it meant so much to me. It was something I was learning to do and I was good at.

Anthony Godfrey:
So when you got that violin, what did that mean to you? What impact did that have on your life, learning the violin?

Principal:
It meant that I had a talent and before that, I didn't know if I did. And it meant that I could do things I didn't know I could do. And so it gave me confidence to try things that I was told I might not be able to do or that, uh, somebody else might have not believed I could do.

Anthony Godfrey:
And based on your own experience, what do you see happening to students who are at Majestic already that will get to enjoy this or any student who chooses to come to Majestic for this program?

Principal:
I think every student needs to have a talent that's recognized and a place to start. And I think this is a good springboard for them. Whether it's music or art, or if it's some other talent, it's going to build their confidence to go out and try stuff. And it's going to spill over into their education because music and education and art and education are tied so closely together that we're going to see them be more successful in all areas of their life. I think they're going to be extremely well prepared for the next grade, for the next adventure, for the next level and for everything beyond, because of the confidence that they get here, that they can try things they've done and discover talents.

Anthony Godfrey:
I love the way you put that. Thanks everybody for spending time. I's sure been great meeting you and the staff any student who comes here is really lucky. Thank you so much for your interview.

Principal:
Thank you. We're excited.

Anthony Godfrey:
This is a great opportunity. Thank you.

Teacher:
When you hold the instrument, I'm going to have you just pull it right now. Hold it around with your left hand right there. Okay. See if you can give a sound.

Anthony Godfrey:
When we come back more on the new Majestic Arts Academy and how to get your child enrolled.

Break:
It is one of the most prestigious academic achievement programs available for high school? We're proud to say it's coming back to Jordan School District. We're talking about the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, which will be located at West Jordan High School. The IB Program supports academic achievement for students at the very highest level diploma. This program takes place during a student's junior and senior year in high school. For more information, or to find out if your teen is a good candidate for IB visit jordandistrict.org or call West Jordan High School.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're at Majestic Elementary School with Branson and Archer. And how are you doing?

Students:
Good.

Anthony Godfrey:
What grade are you in Branson?

Student:
Third grade here at Majestic.

Anthony Godfrey:
And are you excited for next year? What makes you excited for next year?

Student:
I love music and art, so I'm very excited for that.

Anthony Godfrey:
Which do you like best, music or art?

Student:
Definitely art.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. What type of art do you like to do?

Student:
Sometimes I go crazy or I just think about something in general.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, so you like to draw it? Where is it? What are some of the sorts of things that you'd like to draw?

Student:
Cars.

Anthony Godfrey:
Cars, any particular car, pacer, gremlin?

Student:
Race cars.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Well, that's what I was listing off. That sounds awesome. And I understand that you're a singer as well.

Student:
Yes. I have been in choir a couple of times and I love to sing.

Anthony Godfrey:
Do you think that music and art are going to be good ways for you to learn next year?

Student:
Yes, definitely.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Tell me a little bit about music. What do you like to play?

Student:
A lot of my favorite songs. Once I listened to them enough, I'll memorize them and sing them.

Anthony Godfrey:
Do you have one memorized that you could sing for me now?

Speaker 2:
Imagine Dragons "Believer".

Anthony Godfrey:
Your Imagine Dragons fan. All right. Let's hear it.

Student:
First things first. Let's say the words inside my head. I'm fired up and tired of the way that things have been. Uh, the way that things have been. Ooh. Second things second. Stuff you tell me what you think that I can be. I'm, the one, I'm the master....

Anthony Godfrey:
That's really great. Yeah. You know, I've seen them in concert. I'm a big fan. I even bought an autograph poster of theirs. It's pretty exciting.

Student:
That's great.

Anthony Godfrey:
I love Imagine Dragons. Good job. Do you feel the words a little bit more? Does it mean more to you when you sing as opposed to just listening to it?

Student:
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Feel it in a different way.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, it sounds like you're going to have a great year since you love art and music. Archer. It's nice to meet you. You're in kindergarten, right? I like your mask. You've got all these different controllers on there. Do you like video games too?

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. Tell me about what do you like about making art?

Student:
That it has lots of painting and coloring because I liked coloring since my little sister really loves coloring and I do too.

Anthony Godfrey:
What do you like to draw and paint?

Student:
I like to draw and paint, race cars, airplanes, and to burn tentacle in their planes with my drawings.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you would like to pretend what?

Student:
Draw  and land airplanes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, you pretend to draw airplanes too. I like that. What's your favorite color to use?

Student:
Green.

Anthony Godfrey:
Green, such a great color. It kind of grabs you kind of gets your attention. Tell me about your art teacher.

STudent:
Her name is Ms. Hertz. She does a lot of art with us sometimes.

Anthony Godfrey:
What kinds of art does she do with you?

Student:
She wants us to paint and in last time, we actually made signs and Angie spray bottled them and then the next day, I don't know what to say.

Anthony Godfrey:
She sprayed water on them? And what did it do?

Student:
And they actually bonded to each other.

Anthony Godfrey:
What colors did you use? Green, your favorite color?

Student
We got to use all sort of colors. We used orange and yellow.

Anthony Godfrey:
Orange and yellow and sprayed it. The next day. It's all blended together. It's kind of magic when your art teacher knows how to do cool stuff like that. Isn't it. How about for you? Tell me about what you've done in art class.

Student:
We recently did this thing where you take popsicle sticks and they can ex and pinch them together. And then you wrap string around it a special way to make something called God's eye.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. Pretty cool. Yarn and weave it. And there's color getting involved?

Student:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. So do you paint it?

Student:
We use different colors of yarn. .

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, wow. Different colors of yarn. So then you weave it among the popsicle sticks.

Student:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. You guys have done some big stuff. That's really cool if you think you want to be an artist when you grow up. Do you want to stay an artist?

Student:
You know, I'm more into baseball and stuff. I have a baseball game today.

Anthony Godfrey:
You have a baseball game today?

Student:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
What's the name of your team? The Picassos Sox?

Student:
The Red Sox.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Well, I thought maybe your favorite color would be red then, but that's good. So baseball over art is what you're telling me. You think that's where your career is with baseball?

Student:
Yeah, but I'll probably be a motorcycle racer. I'm number on that.

Anthony Godfrey:
What I really like is that you have so many options available to you, artists, baseball and motorcycle racer. Is that what you said? So you've got some options. You've got some fallback.

Student:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, great. I'll actually just think about that. All it takes, right? You think about it and pretty soon before, you know it, you've got some things going. I can't say enough Archer about what a great future I think you have ahead of you. You got big ideas and I think big things are in your future and yours as well. I think you guys were both headed for good things.

To learn more about the Arts Academy or to register your child, visit majestic.jordandistrict.org. Thanks for joining us on another episode of the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see you out there.

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