Cleveland Play House (CPH) was one of just 18 organizations awarded new Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination (AEMDD) grants by the U.S. Department of Education.
The initial grant of $444,050 will be part of the four-year $2,000,000 total to fund CPH's new Compassionate Arts Remaking Education (CARE) program. CARE will be implemented in partnership with The Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) to improve social emotional learning (SEL) skills, increase literacy learning, and benefit under served students. Use of high-quality digital tools, training, and Common Core standards-based instruction, along with professional development sessions and real-time coaching for educators will increase capacity to build theatre integrated lessons and a positive classroom environment.
"This grant from the Department of Education recognizes Cleveland Play House as a leader in the field. Most people know us for our work on the stage, but equally important to our mission is the work we do in classrooms and with young people across our region," states CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley. "Our innovative CARE program uses theatre techniques to teach critical 21st century skills such as collaboration and creativity while boosting students levels of empathy and self-confidence, setting students up for success in the classroom and in life. This grant will allow us to bring the program to more students, both regionally and across the country."
Expected outcomes include increased student achievement; increased teacher capacity to plan and deliver theatre integrated instruction while redefining classroom culture and safety; and replicable project components. Evaluation of CARE will provide teachers, schools, districts and policymakers with valuable data about the impact of theatre integrated learning and companion technology, teacher preparation and real-time coaching, on student achievement on standardized literacy tests, SEL skills, school culture and safety.
"The arts are an essential part of a well-rounded educational experience, and all students deserve access to high-quality arts instruction," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Great arts educators can help students grow and succeed inside and outside of the classroom."
The U.S. Department of Education reviewed 105 AEMDD applications and funded 18 new grant awards. Each application was reviewed by a panel consisting of three non-Federal reviewers with expertise in various areas related to arts education and program evaluation. The reviewers rated each application independently and documented its strengths and weaknesses based on the criteria published in the Federal Register on February 25, 2014. Final application scores were recorded on a funding slate, and the 18 highest scoring eligible applications were recommended for funding.
Using the arts as a means to educate Cleveland's youth is nothing new to Cleveland Play House, the nation's first regional theatre. Education programs remain a key part of CPH's mission and vision, with more than 5,000 CMSD students and staff attending free performances and theatre tours each year. CPH also regularly collaborates with schools and educators through programs that integrate theatre into students' academic curriculum. In addition, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital sponsors the Classroom Matinee Touring Program, and KeyBank has been the longtime sponsor of the KeyBank CPH College program.