Teaching and Learning in the Time of Pandemic
Arts Education and Students with Disabilities
Arts For All Abilities Consortium
Organized in 2007, The Consortium provides a means by which professionals and key stakeholders involved in Arts Education for students with disabilities in New York can share perspectives, determine needs, develop ways to meet them, and deepen practice and understanding. Our purpose is to bring together constituencies that historically have not had sufficient opportunity to interact with one another, to engage them in meaningful conversation and exploration in order to ascertain barriers to and opportunities for providing quality Arts Education to special education students. That is, to build capacity, understanding and value, and do so as a whole – School/Arts/Home – community.
2021 marks our 12th conference.
It is FREE of charge and will take place VIRTUALLY on January 31 and February 1, 2021
Stephen Yaffe, chairperson for the Arts for All Abilities Consortium opens the first day of the 2021 Conference.
Mini Keynote. Presented by: Dr. Jenny Seham
Presentation. Presented by: Sean Arnold
Presentation/Workshop. Presented by: Melanie Goodreaux, Erica Rooney and Lindsay Tanner
Workshop. Presented by: Travis Burbee, Nicole D’Angelo and Stephane Duret
Panel. Presented by: Amanda McFee, Carrie McGee and Aubrie Therrien
Mini Keynote. Presented by: Henry Renalus
Presented by: Stephen Yaffe
Stephen Yaffe, chairperson for the Arts for All Abilities Consortium opens the second day of the 2021 Conference.
Mini Keynote. Presented by: Amanda McFee
Presentation. Presented by: Dr. Jenny Seham
Workshop. Presented by: Dani Criss, Sarah Dahnke and Kyla F. McKoll
Presentation/Workshop. Presented by: Tishawn Gonsalves and Angelica Janabajal Tolentino
Presented by: Stephen Yaffe and Susan Abdulezer (You don't want to miss this)
Day 1: Welcome and Overview Followed By Why Now? A mini-keynote by Dr. Jenny Seham
Sunday, January 31, 20211:00PM-1:25PM
Accessible Arts in the 21st-Century
Sunday, January 31, 20211:30PM-2:45PMPresenter: Sean ArnoldTechnology has the power to build independence for ALL people. And it is the pathway upon which 21st-century learning must be based. It is more important than ever to build upon that structure. We will dive into multiple tools for Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts and how they can be meaningfully integrated.This includes tools for online content, screen recording, assessment, and student interaction. Even more importantly, we’ll demonstrate how we have used these to empower all students. Students can become creators of their own pieces in partnership with classmates, families, and community Arts organizations during a pandemic in NYC.
Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday: Structuring Social-Emotional Learning and Building Community through Virtual Arts Engagement
Sunday, January 31, 20211:30PM-2:45PM Presenter: Melanie Goodreaux, Erica Rooney, Lindsay Tanner Creating meaningful connections during this unprecedented time requires that we rethink our approach to our Art, our students, our learning environments – and ourselves. How can Arts-based approaches lead us to view everyday objects as opportunities for creativity? How can Arts-based strategies help us invite everyone in the home into a learning experience? How can Arts-based mindsets transform remote learning by encouraging collaboration, exploration, and joy? Join Urban Arts Partnership’s Everyday Arts for Special Education (EASE) program for an interactive experience and discussion of how we can use the Arts to grow and learn together even while we’re apart.
The Virtual Theatre Teacher’s Tool Kit [Sold Out]
Sunday, January 31, 20213:00PM-4:15PM*The first 20 registrants will be active participants while the rest will be observers of the process.*Presenters: Travis Burbee, Nicole D’Angelo, Stephane DuretThis workshop will be presented jointly by EPIC Players and Kaiser’s Room. In the workshop we will explain and demonstrate how to create an accessible and inclusive virtual theatre environment and give educators tools to utilize the technology and do this effectively. We will teach games/activities through participation that teachers can use in their virtual classrooms and discuss how they can make these games more accessible for students.
Reimaging Partnerships: How the Pandemic Changed the Nature of Partnering [Sold Out]
Sunday, January 31, 20213:00PM-4:15PMPresenters: Amanda McFee, Carrie McGee, Aubrie TherrienThe pandemic has forced us to reevaluate meaningful relationships to meet the unique needs of students, families, teachers, related service providers, and administrators across NYC’s District 75, the public school district serving students with severe and/or multiple disabilities. These needs encourage increased flexibility and have caused us to reexamine the social emotional needs of everyone involved. What have we learned? Come with us on a journey to see how two organizations, EPIC Players and the Museum of Modern Art, have worked to reimagine partnerships and community outreach during this time. Let’s explore how we can move forward together!
Why Now? A mini-keynote by Henry Renalus, Followed By Closing Remarks
Sunday, January 31, 20214:25PM-4:40PM
Day 2: Welcome and Overview Followed By Why Now? A Mini-Keynote By Amanda McFee
Monday, February 1, 20214:00PM-4:25PM
‘Being Dance’ – A tale told for multiple arts disciplines and all abilities
Monday, February 1, 20214:30PM-5:45PMPresenter: Dr. Jenny SehamAfter the pandemic initially cancelled Music and Dance programming for students with vision loss, classes came back online and an innovative approach to teaching The Nutcracker Ballet captured the attention of the students and of the NY Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/06/arts/dance/teaching-nutcracker-to-visually-impaired.html.) ‘Being Dance’ is for everybody, as it examines the engagement of students in online learning through multiple Arts disciplines, multi-sensory experiences and collaborative teaching methods. The Nutcracker story is only the prelude in a presentation that provides many compelling examples of how we can expand upon best teaching practices: what was lost and what was found during the pandemic.
Collective Rituals: Acknowledging and Exploring Intentional Practices within Remote Classroom Facilitation [Sold Out]
Monday, February 1, 20214:30PM-5:45PMVirtual classrooms require additional efforts to build community and engage students. Strong opening and closing rituals can help us do both by offering a moment to ground students in their bodies, spaces, and emotional states - leading to more engagement and stronger class community. In this interactive workshop we’ll share some of the background around rituals, what purpose they serve in our work, connections to Healing Centered Practices and collectively explore a variety of virtual rituals we have found to work for multiple ages, disabilities, and Art forms.
Creating Interactive: Virtual Visual Arts and Movement Programs for Students with Severe and/or Multiple Disabilities [Sold Out]
Monday, February 1, 20214:30PM-5:45PMPresenters: Tishawn Gonsalves, Angelica Janabajal TolentinoInteractivity has been a huge challenge for remote learning. How do we forge connections with our students in an asynchronous and synchronous learning environment? In this presentation we’ll explore ways in which our teaching artists have utilized technology to promote interactive learning in the virtual space, create community, assess student understanding and increase positive interactions despite physical distance. The session will focus on strategies for Visual Arts and Movement classes for elementary-aged students with disabilities in District 75, the NYC public school district serving students with severe and/or multiple disabilities.
Next Steps/An Offer & Closing Remarks
Monday, February 1, 20215:50PM-6:30PMPresenters: Stephen Yaffe and Susan Abdulezer
Dr. Jenny Seham serves as Founder and Director of Arts and Integrated Medicine (AIM) and the Youth Empowerment Series (YES), at Montefiore Medical Center (MMC)/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY. Her YES Art Gallery launches online in January, 2021. Internationally, she developed school-based Arts programming in Mexico, Honduras and Ecuador, and trained Dance companies for DanceMotion USA in teaching methods for students with disabilities around the world. A nationally recognized Thought leader at the intersection of Arts education and special education, Dr. Seham’s writing includes: Dance Education for Students with Disabilities, Handbook of Arts Education and Special Education (2018).
As a special educator and STEM Coach in NYC’s District 75, citywide special education, Sean Arnold works with a broad range of students and educators. He is committed to reaching all students through innovative technology and practices. He shares his expertise at making learning personally meaningful, intrinsically motivating, and made for everyone. You can also find evidence of his work at braveintheattempt.com
He has received the ISTE Outstanding Teacher Award, ISTE Inclusive Learning Network Outstanding Educator Award, NYCDOE Excellence in School Technology Award, the EDxEDNYC Excellence in Technology Award, and many other accolades and certifications.
Melanie Goodreaux is a Master Teaching Artist with over 20 years’ experience in Arts education and professional development, facilitating with some of the most prestigious institutions in NYC, including Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Creative Theatrics, Whitebird Productions, UAP, CUNY, and Girls Write Now. She is known for her highly creative techniques and warm, engaging, and innovative teaching style. She is the author of A Poem as Big as New York City, in which she adapted thousands of lines of NYC children into a single poem published as an award-winning book. She’s been part of the EASE team since its beginning.
Erica Rooney is a Coach/Teaching Artist, poet, and licensed Art Therapist. For over 25 years, she has taught in public and private schools, HeadStart Programs and universities. Erica believes the home-school connection is a crucial though often underserved part of education. She has been a central voice in the conception and development of the Everyday Arts for Special Education program (EASE) and The Teaching Artist Training Institute (TATI), designing curriculum and facilitating Professional Development workshops. Erica enjoys drawing, working with rust, playing the violin and writing. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Cornell University, an MPS in Creative Arts Therapy from Pratt Institute and is a founding member of Arts for All Abilities Consortium.
Lindsay Tanner is Senior Program Manager for the Everyday Arts for Special Education (EASE) program at Urban Arts Partnership. An educator, facilitator, theatre artist, and Arts manager focusing on participatory creative making and inclusive and responsive pedagogies, she has built K-12 expressive Arts programming for schools, Arts organizations, and therapeutic settings around the country. She was a graduate fellow for VSA Massachusetts (now Open Door Arts) and consulted for the Sesame Street in Communities initiative to build trauma-informed early childhood systems of care. Lindsay holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.F.A. from NYU.
Travis Burbee is the Associate Artistic Director of EPIC Players – a non-profit, neuro-diverse theatre company dedicated to creating professional performing arts opportunities and supportive social communities in the Arts for persons with developmental disabilities. He has directed She Kills Monsters, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Little Prince, The Tempest, and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. Travis also heads up EPIC’s in-school education classes and performances. He has taught Acting and Theatre for over six years to people of all ages and abilities, worked in District 75 classrooms and written Theatre curriculum for the NYC Department of Education.
Nicole D’Angelo is an EPIC Player and also works as EPIC’s outreach coordinator. She is an actor/musician based in northern NJ and can be found music directing and playing piano and woodwinds in pits across the tri-state area. Nicole is a fierce advocate for artists with disabilities, and particularly those who are Autistic like she is. Outside of performing and advocating, Nicole also teaches music and musical theater to students of all ages. Favorite roles with EPIC Players include Audrey in Little Shop and Tilly in She Kills Monsters.
Stephane Duret is the Founding Director of the non-profit organization KAISER’S ROOM, which offers Arts programming to individuals with cognitive, developmental, and intellectual disabilities. Inspired by RED KITE: ROUND-UP, a show he did with Chicago Children’s Theatre, and working closely with a little boy named Kaiser, Stephane is proud to bridge his passions and bring this type of programming to NYC. As a performer, Stephane was last seen as the Swing/Lola cover in the Broadway production of Kinky Boots.
Henry Renelus has been principal of 75Q721-The John F. Kennedy Jr. School in Elmhurst, NY, for six years. Mr. Renelus has created an indelible and positive climate within and across the school organization of 721Q. He is conscientious and, along with the various constituents, focuses on students' academic and social-emotional learning outcomes. This focus significantly contributes to the acceleration of learning for students and a school climate where all staff place students at the center of their decisions. Mr. Renelus believes the arts play a significant role in the development of his students. Whether it's visual arts, music, or dance, students at 721Q gain energy and essential life skills from the arts.
Amanda McFee is the Coordinator of Arts Education for District 75. She is responsible for providing professional development for the Arts disciplines & Arts integration, developing student programs, creating partnerships within the NYC Arts Community and supporting family engagement. She specializes in accessible instruction for students with moderate to profound global disabilities. She believes that the Arts give opportunity for students to expand communication and socialization, develop motor skills, and increase problem solving abilities. She has been a guest presenter at the International Society for Technology in Education, Arts for All Abilities Consortium, the LEGO National Championships, and other conferences worldwide.
Dani Criss (she/her) is affectionately known as Dani Criss, The Artist; a multidisciplinary artist, cultural Arts educator, and community organizer hailing from Durham, North Carolina, now based in Brooklyn, NY. With a passionate perspective driven by her roots and studies of the African Diaspora, her work is filled with an educational, energetic, & freeing experience for all. Using movement and knowledge as the source to obtain liberation while discovering ancestral connections within their liberative practices. Teaching Artist and Educator throughout the tri-state area including Brooklyn Arts Exchange, ArtsConnection, Mark Morris Dance Center, and Nassau Community College.
Sarah Dahnke (she/her) is a choreographer, multimedia artist and educator. She holds a Dance performance degree from Oklahoma City University and a masters from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, where she studied the intersection of performance and technology. She is a teaching artist of Dance and Moving Image, working with organizations such as Hubbard Street, New York City Ballet, BRIC, Lincoln Center, and ArtsConnection. A multi-disciplinary artist herself, Dahnke teaches Choreography, Filmmaking, Animation, and other media and performance techniques within curriculums that guide students to tell their own stories.
Kyla F. McKoll (she/her) is a Theatre practitioner and Arts educator. She’s worked in Arts education as a Teaching Artist, Administrator, Professional Development facilitator, and Curriculum developer since 2005. Her specialties include working with students with disabilities, early childhood education, Theatre, Creative Movement, and Puppetry. She currently works for ArtsConnection. Kyla was part of the team that developed Everyday Arts for Special Education (EASE) and is working on Growing Inclusivity for Vibrant Education (GIVE). She holds a B.A. in Theater & Performance Studies and an M.A. in Educational Theater.
Tishawn Gonsalves is an artist and art educator. She focuses on creating multi-sensory and cross-disciplinary curricula and projects that combine Art education, environmental science and cultural food politics. Utilizing a multitude of creative, pedagogical methods to expose students to a variety of artistic practices and promote inclusion in Art education. Pratt Institute Visual Art, MA in Early Childhood Education and Curriculum Development. She is a Visual Arts educator and is continually expanding her repertoire in order to teach other disciplines within the Arts.
Angelica Janabajal Tolentino, aka Babay L. Angles, has led workshops with emerging educators regarding the use of critical pedagogy, responding to compound trauma within urban environments, and provided self-care strategies for educators working within high needs communities. She has designed and led youth participatory action research projects and Art/performance Theatre residencies utilizing anti-oppression models of teaching. Since 2018, she has worked with Marquis Studios to provide movement residencies tailored to meet the needs of elementary to high school aged neuro-diverse students as well as students with various physical challenges. Most recently, Angelica has developed and adapted asynchronous programming for District 75 classrooms serving students with severe and/or multiple disabilities.
Aubrie Therrien is the Executive Director of The EPIC Players, a nonprofit theater company dedicated to creating neuro-diverse opportunities and communities through the Arts. She holds a BFA in Theater from Longwood University and a Masters of Public Health from NYU. She is a passionate advocate for inclusion in the Arts and was recognized as New Yorker of the Week by News One New York for her work in the field. Aubrie, along with the EPIC Players, were opening bell ringers at the NYSE and speakers at the UN on empowering women and girls with autism through the Arts.
Carrie McGee is the Assistant Director for Community and Access Programs in the Department of Education at The Museum of Modern Art. She and her colleagues have won international respect for their unique efforts to make MoMA's extensive resources, collection and programs accessible to visitors with disabilities and older adults. She is responsible for developing programming for visitors with disabilities and the implementation of museum-wide accessibility initiatives. She also teaches gallery and studio-based programs for diverse audiences, including a seminar at MoMA for medical school students from Columbia University. She has presented extensively in the US and abroad on accessibility and inclusion in museums. In 2009, Carrie coauthored Meet Me: Making Art Accessible to People with Dementia.
Susan Abdulezer is a writer and documentary filmmaker. She explores technology to mine new narrative pathways. After winning the international Computerworld/Smithsonian award for Innovation in Technology in the area of Academia in 1996, Susan created an interactive installation in the Smithsonian Museum of American History Information Age Exhibit. As a contributing editor to Converge magazine, Susan has written feature articles about extraordinary educators and technologists including Seymour Papert and Vinton Cerf, exploring the story of the digital landscape itself, from the emerging exhibition and creation of Arts online, to the personalities and strategies of Digital Storytellers. Susan has taught, coached, and created films for District 75, the Special Education district in NYC, for 43 years.
(Including occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, vision teacher, mobility trainer, etc.)