Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Painting Three Pictures of Collaboration

Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Painting Three Pictures of Collaboration

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper describes three very different examples of collaboration. Each is dependent upon committed community volunteers. Results indicate students in schools receiving services from the Picture Person Art Program outperformed other students on standardized tests during school years 2000-2001 and 2001-2002. The second example of collaboration involves a chorus supported by a large urban church and local elementary school. In the third example stakeholders developed a soccer league as a means of providing services to underserved students. Factors important to success are described.

Painting a Picture of Collaboration with Three Projects

Project Apple Seed is a national campaign for public school improvement through increased parent involvement (Project Apple Seed, 2004). Among other things, this organization publishes research related to the effectiveness of volunteer efforts. Recognizing that not all communities provide equal levels of parent support for local schools, they include the following quote from the National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools at the Southwest Educational Laboratory (Project Apple Seed, 2004). " Myth #4: The key actors in parent involvement are the teacher, parents or family, and the student. Meaningful and successful parent involvement is not limited to partnerships between parents and teachers." This paper describes three volunteer projects that are the results of collaboration between a local church, city park district, museum, and primary school. Although parents are critical in guaranteeing the success of each of these projects, the projects have been created by and are maintained by community stakeholders. The Picture Person Art Program is a collaborative effort between local schools and The Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences. Established in 1966, it is unique in its successful 37-year history of dependence upon parent volunteer efforts. The community chorus investigation included 106 children in grades 2, 3, and 4. They were located at an elementary school in a low socioeconomic urban community, in the Midwest. The school choir was 4 weeks old at the time of this study. Its members had met for 2 hours one time a week to practice, and it was being lead by a local church music director. Like the arts, athletics offer many students opportunities to experience success outside traditional academics. In terms of the development of a local soccer league, church volunteers were actively participating in a mentoring/tutoring program with individually assigned students at an elementary school. However, summer presented a lapse in these relationships. Volunteers wanted to continue contact with their students after the school year ended and after students matriculated to the area middle school. The question presented was "How do we maintain our relationships?"

Background

The Person Program is unique because in its 37-year history it has been entirely dependent upon parent volunteers who bring monthly art lessons to classrooms throughout the region (see Table 1). The usual procedure involves a discussion of an important artist and review of his/her work, with a hands-on related art experience to follow. Artists and their works represent diverse backgrounds and approaches to the visual arts. Volunteer site coordinators transport prints and artist profile materials from Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences to specific schools. A schedule informs volunteers of the artists to be covered each month by grade level. A Picture Person manual is provided to each volunteer. It includes information on the major art movements, art in the context of important historical events, and basic background information on each of the artists in the collection. Volunteers need only review a short folder of biographical data and request art materials from the school to conduct an effective and academically supportive project for students. Training for volunteers is provided by Lakeview Museum at the beginning of each school year. …

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