Background Information on Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School
I am a Regular Education sixth grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher. I teach in an inclusive classroom setting with both regular and Special Education students. There is a Special Education teacher with whom I collaborate and consult for the modification and adaptation of curriculum. I teach two sets of children. There are twenty students in each of my classrooms, forty students total; sixteen children, both full time and part time special education children that have individualized Education Plans, which call for many adaptations and modifications to the regular curriculum taught in the classroom. Our students’ abilities vary in functional levels. Their abilities extend from basic learners to advanced level learners. All of the students have differing disabilities that range from intellectually disabled, to emotionally disturbed, to autistic.
Presently two sixth grade classes will be participating in this unit. Even so, my classes are rich in diversity and ethnicity. It is a hope that next year, all of the sixth grade classes can participate in the unit and contribute to the student experiences that are shared throughout the unit.
My students fall into three categories: Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic. Each category of students has offered personal experiences that stimulate wonderful conversations about their cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. It is for this reason, that the subject of community within the classroom will lend itself well to the curriculum. Students can share common perspectives and experiences. These student led conversations help stimulate richer relationships. The students will feel more comfortable with one another and will learn to develop better relationships which will certainly help with cooperative learning exercises within the classroom and outside the classroom to enrich the climate of the classroom.
Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School is a middle school that serves students in grades five through eight. Betsy Ross serves urban and suburban students from surrounding areas of New Haven and it is for this reason that this is an inter-district school because all students from these areas are encouraged to attend the New Haven Public School System. Betsy Ross is founded on the principle that through the arts, students will think, learn, and see their academics in an innovative, challenging way. Each student attends five academic subjects (Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and an Enrichment class(French, Chinese, Spanish, Reading or Math Enrichment) and one specific performing arts class (Theatre, Dance, Visual Arts, Photography, Video, Music) every day.
Betsy Ross is made up of artistic, creative young people with a strong interest in the arts that is shown through their poetry writings, group presentations, and performances in the theatre, dance showcases, and the annual arts shows. Betsy Ross provides a performance platform for the students to showcase their ideas artistically through portraits, sculptures, videos, etc. It is because of these reasons that the unit will include visual aids like videos, photographs, images, and entertainment focal points, i.e. music or dance.