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Since 2010, Drama For Schools (DFS) has partnered with the McAllen Independent School District (MISD) through Project ARTScope, a large-scale arts integration initiative .
McAllen is located in Southern Texas, close to the border of Mexico in the Rio Grande Valley, and has a population of just over 130,000 people. MISD is a medium sized district that serves about 25,000 students on 34 campuses with a strong tradition of programming in the fine arts.
The DFS and MISD partnership emphasizes training in drama-based instruction for elementary teachers as part of the ARTScope program. In spring, 2010, DFS introduced the cadre of 130 elementary grade teachers to drama-based instructional strategies during a series of monthly day-long trainings. Building upon these successes, 10 educators from MISD participated in the inaugural Summer Institute at the University of Texas at Austin campus. DFS’s partnership with MISD is also designed to assist Master Teachers in implementing workshops during the academic year that support other teachers integrating drama-based instruction into their classrooms.
During the 2011-2012 academic year, DFS will conduct School Residency and Saturday training programs for K-12 teachers across all curriculum and grade levels, with up to four schools participating in each residency. MISD Master Teachers (the Trainer-of-Trainers) will co-facilitate the residencies and Saturday programs with support from UT faculty and drama specialists. In the spring of 2012, The Living Newspaper Program will provide participating teachers with training in using the Living Newspaper learning model in their classrooms. Additionally, DFS drama specialists and faculty will conduct a three-day Summer Institute model in McAllen.