4 junio, 2023

Think Together Brings Visual and Performing Arts Accelerator to Orange Unified School District


Think Together, California’s leading nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning and school improvement programs, is proud to announce it has launched the Think Together Arts Accelerator to widen the opportunity for students to engage in visual and performing arts curriculum and exploration.

The Arts Accelerator launched in collaboration with Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) for students enrolled at Fairhaven Elementary School in Orange Unified School District. The new program is being piloted at Fairhaven, with programs underway to serve 180 students across California Elementary School, Sycamore Elementary School and Esplanade Elementary School within Orange Unified as well.

“We are thrilled to work with Orange County School of the Arts to bring the best of both of our programs – arts and afterschool – to students who aren’t always exposed to this kind of learning,” said Randy Barth, founder and CEO of Think Together. “This collaboration allows us to expand our collective reach and provide students with the opportunity to explore and develop their artistic talents while receiving a quality education.”

The Arts Accelerator will offer afterschool programs in theatre, dance, visual arts, and music, where students will gain experience and exploration of various art forms, techniques, and performance opportunities. Students will learn foundational skills, vocabulary, and the importance of all roles involved in a visual and performing arts presentation.

By leveraging the expertise of OCSA’s decades of involvement in arts educational spaces alongside Think Together’s years of partnering with school districts to develop quality afterschool programs, the two organizations have come together to create a unique and dynamic arts educational experience for elementary school students. The new collaboration aims to bridge the need for specialized educators and the increased demand for arts and enrichment for students.

“This meaningful partnership with Think Together is a mission-aligned program for OCSA. We believe deeply in the power and value of a quality arts education for all students,” said Teren Shaffer, president and CEO of Orange County School of the Arts. “It is a privilege to collaborate with the visionary leaders at Think Together and within Orange Unified School District to increase access to the arts for deserving young students.”

Through the Arts Accelerator, specialized arts instructors were recruited, selected and trained with the expertise of OCSA staff to develop lesson plans and lead afterschool programs at Think Together’s school partner sites.

Orange Unified School District leveraged Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELOP) grants to bring the Arts Accelerator program to its students first. The program aims to bring hands-on, engaging learning experiences to students.

“By leveraging the ELOP grants, Orange Unified has been able to provide additional support for students to expand their learning beyond the traditional classroom setting,” shared Barth. “This program not only enriches students’ education but also provides them with the tools to thrive emotionally and mentally by providing access to the performance arts.”

Each class culminates as a “step into the classroom” event for friends and family. The first such event was at Fairhaven Elementary School on Wednesday, April 12 and featured students that learned the art of Baile Folklórico showcasing their newfound skills and techniques.

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