Academic Enrichment Activities

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Hamilton Wings' SCORE

To Contact This Program

Program:
Hamilton Wings' SCORE! (Students Creating Opera to Reinforce Education!)

Contact:
Deanna Cates

Address:
Hamilton Wings 14 Crescent Street
Elgin, IL 60123

Phone:
847-697-0876 x1

E-mail:
DcatesSCORE@aol.com

Activity Description

Established in 1999‚ SCORE! is a two-year afterschool arts-immersion program for economically and socially disadvantaged Elgin youth‚ providing 40-60 children in Grades 5-8 with the opportunity to develop‚ produce‚ and perform their own original opera. The goal of SCORE! is to empower children and their families with an orientation for success and the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities around a tangible public product. Working in collaboration with more than 30 professional singers‚ actors‚ composers‚ instrumentalists‚ creative writers‚ designers‚ and directors; students explore their creativity while reinforcing essential life skills such as self-esteem‚ problem-solving‚ listening‚ and team-building. During the second year of participation (Phase Two)‚ 30-50 of the previous Phase One students tour their original opera for an anticipated two to four performances at area schools‚ community centers‚ and healthcare facilities gaining broader exposure and recognition for their creative efforts. In the past‚ Phase Two students performed at the Illinois State Capitol and took their opera to Kansas City‚ Missouri to perform as one of only three organizations highlighted in the City of Elgin's successful All-America City application. In keeping with SCORE!'s goal to empower students to give back to their communities‚ Phase Two students meet with local stakeholders to identify and discuss relevant community issues. Based on these service-learning workshops‚ students use their SCORE! skills to create new arts-based projects designed to address a community need and/or benefit a local charitable organization.

Number of Students Involved in This Activity: 60

Range of Student Ages: Ten to thirteen years old (fifth to eighth grade)

Duration of Activity: Early October through mid-July

Relevant Contextual or Demographic Information: While participation in SCORE! is open to all Elgin school children aged ten to thirteen (fifth to eighth grade)‚ SCORE! specifically targets youth who fall into one or more of the following categories: students who are economically disadvantaged; students who have demonstrated a potential for disruptive behavior; students who live in neighborhoods with high crime rates; and students who‚ although intellectually capable‚ are not performing successfully in school. Similarly‚ the SCORE! program specifically targets schools in Elgin's School District U-46 that are or have been on the Illinois Early Academic Warning List due to poor academic performance‚ which also primarily serve low-income families‚ and have predominantly African-American and/or Hispanic student populations.

Academic ContentWhat is the academic content of this activity? Literacy
Implementation: SCORE! aims to improve student performance‚ achievement‚ and school retention of youth through a year-long after school arts immersion program in which 40-60 students work with professional artists to develop‚ create‚ produce‚ and perform an original 30-40 minute opera. Students are nominated by principals‚ teachers‚ and community leaders‚ based on their eagerness to learn in and out of the classroom‚ and/or a perceived need for supplemental activities that will reinforce and develop cognitive‚ social‚ and personal skills. The academic content includes an intensive orientation to the many artistic disciplines involved in opera‚ as well as to storytelling traditions from around the world. At the conclusion of Camp I‚ students complete a Student Interest Form expressing their working-group preferences. These teams--comprising Story/Character Development‚ Music Composition‚ Movement Direction and Choreography‚ Costume/Make-up‚ Set Design and Construction‚ and Stage Crew/Stage Management--allow students to be immersed in a small group of peers who share similar talents and interests. At minimum‚ students take part in one performance/composition team and one technical/production team‚ through which they learn key terms‚ strategies‚ and techniques associated with each discipline. In order to develop their opera‚ students utilize composition‚ research‚ editing and revision‚ and self-assessment skills. As with all of Hamilton Wings programming‚ the academic content is linked to local‚ district-defined Student Learning Outcomes‚ including the following:
• students will master and apply effective communication skills
• students will acquire problem-solving skills and apply them using a variety of techniques
• students will express their creative talents through the various media of music‚ drama‚ and dance.
Additionally‚ the content is linked to Illinois State Learning Standards in Language Arts‚ Physical Development and Health‚ Fine Arts‚ and Social Science. The students are assessed on their participation and group involvement‚ leadership‚ and decision-making. Additionally‚ perceived academic and personal skill development is evaluated through improvement in communication‚ goal-setting‚ team-building‚ decision-making‚ and problem-solving skills.

Strong RelationshipsHow does this activity create strong relationships?
SCORE! recognizes the important role family support plays in the academic and personal development of young people. In addition to participating in the initial interview process‚ all parents take part in a SCORE! orientation as well as a two-hour workshop in which they collectively define their leadership roles and establish expectations for their children's and their family's participation. Parents reconvene at the end of SCORE! to evaluate program processes and outcomes‚ and complete surveys assessing their children's progress toward program objectives. SCORE! supplements its curriculum by exposing young people to high-quality artistic experiences and introducing them to the area's rich array of cultural resources. In the past‚ SCORE! students have explored ECHO‚ the Eloise W. Martin Center of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra‚ and have also attended performances by Lyric Opera of Chicago (Carmen and Hansel and Gretel) and Chicago Opera Theater (Orfeo)‚ as well as the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and the Elgin Choral Union. Graduates of SCORE! and their families also attended a performance of Blue Man Group. The SCORE! curriculum goes beyond arts-specific activities to include important lessons in etiquette‚ social interaction‚ leadership‚ and behavior. SCORE! graduates develop additional experience as peer mentors‚ and in Phase Two of the program‚ serve as cultural ambassadors to the Elgin community by presenting performances and lecturing on their SCORE! experiences. Phase Two students also take a more active role in identifying and supporting community needs by participating in service-learning workshops with members of Elgin's local government‚ and creating arts-based projects that address specific public issues. Through supplemental field trips and enrichment opportunities SCORE! also provides many students and families with their first exposure to the rich artistic resources of Elgin and Chicago; broadening community access to cultural organizations and promoting more diverse participation in existing arts programs. Hamilton Wings' SCORE! facilitates meaningful relationships between adult artist facilitators and youth through the small group work (i.e.‚ Student Development Teams). Additionally‚ students who are "graduates" of Hamilton Wings programming are offered paid leadership opportunities by serving as in-class facilitators.

Decision MakingWhat opportunities are there for authentic decision making?
Phase One: The entire opera is student-created and facilitated through student-led processes‚ proposal development‚ and decision-making. While our students have the opportunity to work in collaboration with more than 30 professional singers‚ actors‚ composers‚ instrumentalists‚ creative writers‚ designers‚ and directors; every effort and multiple precautionary measures are taken to ensure that the integrity of the students' creativity (i.e.‚ original creations‚ artwork‚ storylines‚ etc.) is maintained. Phase Two: As mentioned previously‚ the Phase Two SCORE! students take an active role in identifying and supporting community needs by participating in service-learning workshops with members of Elgin's local government‚ and creating arts-based projects that address specific public issues.

Student LeadershipWhat student leadership opportunities are there?
Participants are provided with the skill sets to effectively communicate their ideas with artists and further the development of these ideas. These leadership roles of youth ensure the accurate transfer of information and maintenance of their works' integrity. In keeping with SCORE!'s goal to empower students to give back to their communities‚ Phase Two students meet with local stakeholders to identify and discuss relevant community issues. Based on these service-learning workshops‚ students use their SCORE! skills to create new arts-based projects designed to address a community need and/or benefit a local charitable organization. As mentioned previously‚ students who are "graduates" of Hamilton Wings programming are offered paid leadership opportunities by serving as in-class facilitators.

 

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