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Arts for Equity Educator

The Clemmons Family Farm, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, and the Flynn Center present

APPLY TODAY Arts for Equity Educator Institute

Clemmons Family Farm, Charlotte, VT
Monday-Friday, August 12-16
8:30 am-3:30 pm

  • Monday, August 12, 2019, 8:30 AM
  • Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 8:30 AM
  • Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 8:30 AM
  • Thursday, August 15, 2019, 8:30 AM
  • Friday, August 16, 2019, 8:30 AM


Space is limited to 30 participants.

Acceptance letters will be sent Friday, May 31.

Graduate credit (3 credits) available (more details on application).

Questions? Please contact Lauren Genta

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The Clemmons Family Farm, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, and the Flynn Center are pleased to announce the 2019 Arts for Equity Educator Institute. The institute is just one of a number of initiatives that will be implemented through Arts for Equity and Social Justice: A Transformative Collaboration - a new, multi-year project co-led by the three organizations. The institute invites teams of educators from schools, districts, and/or regions to engage with nationally recognized leaders and Vermont’s artists and cultural bearers of the African diaspora and Abenaki communities in an exploration of culturally inclusive curricula. Highlights of the agenda include live performances by special guest artists, place-based inquiry and learning, and culturally responsive curriculum design sessions guided by national experts and local artists.

This institute is intended to support the Vermont Ethnic Studies & Social Equity Standards and to advance teachers’ practice in the following areas:

  • Culturally responsive pedagogy
  • Place-based inquiry
  • Arts integration
This professional learning opportunity is a unique and well-timed resource for schools and districts applying for the AOE’s Equity Literacy grant. Schools applying for the grant will be given priority.

  • Teams of educators and curriculum coordinators from schools/districts/regions; individual applicants will be placed in a team.
  • Teaching artists and culture bearers from Clemmons Family Farm, Vermont Abenaki Artist Association, and the Flynn Center.
What: Arts Equity Institute at Clemmons Family Farm

When: August 12 - 16, 2019, 8:30 am-3:30 pm

Where: Clemmons Family Farm, Charlotte, VT

How: The application deadline is May 17, apply online. Acceptance letters will be sent May 31.

Educators will:
  • Engage with a national expert in culturally responsive pedagogy and arts education
  • Collaborate with artists and culture bearers to design classroom-based and place-based lessons and units for school year implementation
  • Create actions plans to integrate culturally responsive pedagogy into their classroom environment
  • Consider the performing arts “texts” for study in a culturally responsive framework
  • Bring to the Institute a written text they are currently using in their curriculum and reconsider it with a culturally responsive lens
  • Participate as learners in experiences address implicit bias and advance their understanding of what social equity looks like in preK-12 education
  • Emerge as leaders in the efforts to create more equitable learning environments in Vermont and to enact the new Ethnic Studies Standards & Social Equity standards

Lead Facilitator:

Aysha Upchurch, the Dancing Diplomat, identifies as a seed planter, soil agitator, and curious and passionate artist. Professionally, this translates to her working as a dancer, choreographer, educator, and arts administrator who is committed to social inclusion, community engagement, and artistry development. While serving as the associate director of COOL Schools at VSA Massachusetts, she worked at the intersection of arts integration, special education, and professional development, training educators to develop and execute more equitable and inclusive teaching and learning environments. In DC, she founded and directed the award-winning dance ensemble, Life, Rhythm, Move Project. Blending her dance training and professional backgrounds in youth advocacy and conflict resolution, she uses hip hop dance to entertain and educate audiences while supporting youth voices. Aysha uses her training in Advancing Youth Development to facilitate movement and conflict resolution workshops for young people and a range of educators. The thread of hip hop culture and arts runs throughout her work as an artist, and deeply informs how she positions herself as a facilitator and instructor with students of all ages.

Aysha has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the White House and has been selected as a US State Department Cultural Envoy in Dance in Bolivia, Honduras, and Guatemala. In 2007, she won the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Local Dance Commissioning Project and created Am I On?, an award-winning, evening-length, hip hop work about the space between youth and adult voices. Aysha holds an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University and is currently on faculty at Salem State University - only the second college to allow dance majors to concentrate in hip hop. She received her EdM, concentrating on arts in education, from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she has served as teaching fellow and Project Zero classroom faculty member and is a current visiting practitioner in education, documenting and creating works as the artist-in-residence seeking to raise the profile on dance education and hip hop pedagogy. Key to all of Aysha’s work is the belief that an empowered body is a powerful liberation tool and that culturally responsive arts education is central to progressive and inclusive education reform.

Teacher response to Aysha Upchurch's session at the Flynn's 2018 Arts Literacy Institute:

"During the institute, I had the remarkable opportunity to collaborate with experts in the field, explore body-mind connection, and deepen my practice and understanding of strengths - based practices that honor the lived experiences of all students. I was completely captivated by the immersive nature of the experience - from the food, to the site, to the teaching artists-everything was considered! I am deeply thankful to have attended and look forward to returning again and again!" - Christie Nold, Tuttle Middle School

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