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Theatre educators have long sought the opportunity to earn National Board Certification as a way to affirm their knowledge and expertise as master teachers and to aide in their career advancement. That “gold standard” of recognition is granted by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). While theatre educators can’t currently achieve that level of certification, some are National Board certified in English and Career and Technical Education (CTE). EdTA members were recently asked to participate in the Board’s field tests of the newly revised English and CTE exams . The NBPTS is currently on a two-year freeze of creating...
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Jim Palmarini, EdTA’s Director of Educational Policy, graciously invited me to join this forum to share some updates with you regarding National Board Certification. My name is Kristin Hamilton, and I am the Director of Standards for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. I am also a Board-certified teacher in English language arts. I am joined by my co-author, Indira Cureton-Cummings, a Board-certified drama director from Columbia, South Carolina. The National Board certifies teachers in 25 areas that span 16 content areas and 4 student developmental levels. While the Board does not offer a stand-alone theatre education certificate,...
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The Advocacy Update is where you can find state and national news about theatre and other arts education EdTA NEWS Playworks, Musicalworks Winners Chosen : Thespian Playworks and Thespian Musicalworks celebrate outstanding student voices from across the US, Canada, and beyond. The professionals who reviewed this year’s submissions summed up the winning entries in one word: ambition. Four plays and one musical in the making have been selected for development and staging at the 2015 Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska. EdTA Selects JumpStart Theatre Schools : The Educational Theatre Association, Music Theatre International,...
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Are you interested in rubrics, inter-rater reliability and all things standards? Then here’s an opportunity that might interest you: The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) is seeking educators interested in serving on a team that will benchmark student work generated by the 2015 Model Cornerstone Assessment Pilot Project. The Model Cornerstone Assessments (MCAs) are performance-based assessments designed in conjunction with the newly released National Core Arts Standards at the grades of 2, 5, 8 and three high school levels. Partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the first phase...
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One of the hardest things to manage as a new theatre instructor and troupe director is one’s patience. You get to that certain point where you’re thinking, “I’ve done A, B, and C, so the alphabet should be finished now! Why isn’t Z happening?” And then you get all cracked out stressed, and, if you’re European and in your thirties, you might do what I do and go and listen to some loud, banging techno. Or EDM. Or whatever American’s pigeonhole my favorite ‘band’ The Prodigy as. We live in The Age of Instant, where you order something, and bam, it’s there. Amazon’s whole business model is built upon the fact that when we order something, we want it in...
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One of the main goals for our Theatre Education Community is to help theatre students and professionals from all over connect and identify with each other in order to build resources and support the theatre education field. We shine a spotlight on a different member every other week by conducting a simple interview. Our latest Spotlight Member is Michael Bergman, troupe director of Troupe 7639 at The Potomac School in McLean, Virginia. Michael always has perfect show suggestions for any situation, practical advice and thoughtful questions. Photo via KFC Ginny: Why do you believe theatre is important? Michael:...
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It's that time of year again, scholarships, college selections, and maybe your last International Thespian Festival! Oh no!!!!!! Well this time last year, I was in your shoes. I'm here to tell you don't worry, you can still be involved in Thespians, theatre, and advocate for the arts even when you're not in high school. So let me give you some tips on being an alumni and continuing to help out other fellow theatre students in your area. 1) It doesn't have to be over. So often you'll hear alumni saying "I wish I could do more theatre, but there's just no time." let me just make it clear... YOU CAN STILL BE INVOLVED IN THEATRE. Just because you're...
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Last Weekend I had so much fun at the West Virginia Festival! The theme was Hunger Games and the odds definitely played in our favor! West Virginia is so interesting in how they run their Festival because it originally started as a One Act type competition and eventually evolved into the West Virginia Thespian Festival! It was so awesome to see so many different schools showcase their talent! Another unique quality about West Virginia is that it is hosted at the State Capital! Tech IE's were on display in the Lobby where senators work and there were so many advocacy opportunities. I admire West Virginia in the fact that the state donates $10,000...
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Arts Advocacy- More To Do

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In theatre we are constantly telling a story. Our story talks about the power of theatre and the impact it has on the lives of the students we teach and the community that supports them. Stories can fill the hearts and souls of those that support the arts. But without solid facts that help solidify the impact of the arts, the impact of what we can accomplish can be limited. In the days leading up to the Arts Advocacy Day, I and the other members of the Nevada State Board were hosting our state festival. On the first full day of the conference we were interviewing the STO candidates about what theatre has done for them. ...
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Arts Advocacy Day

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Arts Advocacy Day: Let me just start off by saying how unbelievably grateful I am that I got to experience National Arts Advocacy Day. It was an absolute life changing and awe inspiring experience. Getting to talk to people who have the power to make a difference about my story and about how far the arts has taken me was amazing. Thank you. I arrived in Washington DC Sunday morning from Washington State's conference and I was ready to be reunited with the other ITO and the EDTA staff members that I know and love. After meeting up with everyone, we took a cab to The Omni Hotel where we would be staying for the next couple of days. We all freshened up and then...
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When I received the Hawkins Award, I was honored. This was a huge, huge honor! I knew this, but I didn't realize how much going to Washington DC would change my perspective. From the time I arrived in DC and met my room mate for the weekend- Jo Strom Lane, Director of Theatre at Roosevelt High School in Portland Oregon- until the time I said goodbye to my Kansas Advocacy Team Captain, Barbara Warady, former President for The Kansas Alliance for the Arts, I was busy gleaning insight and information about how I can serve my students better and become an even more effective advocate for theatre in our schools and communities. I have always known how theatre...
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The Educational Theatre Association has been issued a formal invitation to participate in the field tests of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification exams for Career and Technical Education and English Language Arts. The invitation came about as a result of our ongoing dialogue with NBPTS around the interest of our members in achieving Board certification as theatre educators. In a survey of adult members conducted in 2014, seventy-nine percent said they would seek Board certification if it were available. While NPBTS is currently in a freeze on adding new subject areas, they have been receptive to our concerns and open...
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Arts Advocacy Day 2015

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The ITO take on Washington DC! I had never been to our nation's capitol until Sunday, March 22nd when we arrived. The gang, minus the ever-lovely Rachel Gatewood (Region III), grabbed metro passes and took the city by storm! We walked all over the place, saw monuments, and a few museums. This picture was taken at the WWII memorial right before we walked back for our delicious EdTA dinner! I had the pleasure to eat dinner with the Democracy Works winner Grace Alt, her mother, and her sponsor. What a treat! The next morning the ITO woke up early for a full day of advocacy training! Forty eight of the fifty states were represented in a...
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11 Days with EdTA

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11 days. 3 cities. An infinite amount of opportunities. Junior Thespian Festival 2015 I began my travels on Wednesday March 18th, when I flew to Nashville to attend the Junior Thespian Festival 2015. This year's theme was "Find Your Passion" and after spending 3 action-packed days with middle school theatre lovers-- I found mine, and then some! After putting the finishing touches on the Ensworth High School's campus on Wednesday, the three other ITO and I went to dinner with some of the EdTA staff as well as Hunter Bell. Hunter was one of the featured guests at this year's event, and gave an inspiring keynote on Friday about conquering your...
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The Advocacy Update is where you can find state and national news about theatre and other arts education EdTA NEWS EdTA Conference registration is now open : Help your colleagues “Set the Standard” in theatre education October 1-4 in Tampa, Florida. NATIONAL NEWS Arts Advocates Make Case for Increasing Federal Arts Funding : Hundreds of artists and arts leaders from 48 states stormed Capitol Hill Tuesday, March 24 for the annual Arts Advocacy Day, a national effort to increase federal support for cultural programs. Some 550 arts supporters met with their local representatives to tout the economic benefits of the...
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As a collegian, I hear at least once a week that these are "the best times of my life." Aunts, uncles, friends, coworkers, professors, even strangers all tell me that the next four (well... I am in denial that a month from now I will only have three left) years of my life will be superlative, unparalleled, and will completely transcend the rest of my life. Typically, this statement makes me a little queezy to think that the best of times are swiftly passing me, but after being at National Arts Advocacy this past weekend I am finally at ease with this statement. One weekend in D.C. with almost 600 other arts advocates helped me disprove this statement, but...
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Welcome to Las Vegas! Where if you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free be free. I had the privilege of spending four days at the Nevada Thespian Conference held at Silverado High School this past week. From "The Addam's Family" to an All-State-performed original opening number, Nevada Thespians were ALIVE and extraordinary. On Wednesday I arrived and helped organize the festival for the big start day on Thursday. This involved a leadership dinner with the fourteen STO candidates and setup for the many, many individual and group events that would occur throughout the festival. To kick off conference on Thursday,...
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The opportunity to attend arts advocacy day this year as presented to me by EdTA and the Hawkins Award is both humbling and energizing. I sat back to rest after a rehearsal in February, and decided to write an essay to be considered as a Hawkins Award contestant. The decision to write this seemed like a long shot, but paid off in the best possible way. Soon, I was notified that I was a winner of this grant, and that I had opportunity to represent my state at National Arts Advocacy Day. This was exciting and terrifying at the same time. I knew I would love to travel and learn from the trip, but also knew that I may not be the strongest advocate in the...
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#AAD15 "Advocacy must be a part of your daily mission," words spoken by Jay Dick the Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs from Americans for the Arts ( AFTA ) in the opening of this year's Arts Advocacy Day. With over 550 advocates from 48 states it was great to see so many people passionate about advocating for the arts. Being able to take this opportunity to travel to Washington D.C., speak with our government officials and advocate for the arts was such a great experience in learning why I love doing what I do as well as continuing to fight to have the next generation to have the same opportunities that I was given. Even though...
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Jo Strom Lane Arts Advocacy Day 2015 BLOG Waiting in the line for the Americans for the Arts conference check-in, a sea of faces represent everything from museums and grant makers to the recording industry and writers, public media and arts agencies to education and publishers. Recognizable national theatre agencies include SAG/AFTRA, TCG, IATSE, AEA, ATHE, and EdTA. All crowd into the room looking for their state. Besides myself, Oregon has one of our own STO as the Region I ITO, Alyssa Jewel, participating in activities during AAD, as well. We find Oregon is grouped with Washington, also with two delegates. The energy is palpable. Looking...
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