NAEP Arts 2016: Red Lake Middle School


♪♪♪>>MARK: The Red Lake Nation is a
sovereign nation. It is closed-off. It has its own
government system. It has its own police force. There’s
something very beautiful about that, and positive, but on the
other end, a lot of our kids don’t get a lot of exposure to
the outside world. We have signed on with the
President’s Committee of Arts and Humanities in their national
Turnaround Arts program. Over the course of the last three
years, that’s enabled us to bring in artists to work with
our kids in different areas of dance, spoken word, some
hip-hop, painting, and it’s brought in artists from Arizona,
the Twin Cities area, Colorado. And they bring in a new
perspective for our kids and a whole new energy.>>AMAYA: At Red Lake, I
participate in the plays here. When I was in the play, I was
pretty nervous, and I was still self-conscious about myself and
opening up to people, but then when I did it more,
it was awesome. And people notice me now.>>RACHEL: We want to integrate
arts into our classroom with the standards as our guideline. We
want students to learn the same thing, it’s just sometimes
they’re showing they’re learning in a different way. So we don’t
want just art in the art room, we want art in all of our
content areas, science, math, social studies, language arts,
to enhance the student learning and really enhance engagement in
learning.>>KAREN: I think I’m getting
better at teamwork and working with other people,
communicating.>>TONY: The quieter, more
artistic kids have really been able to show off what they know
and be real leaders throughout the classes with their arts,
with their talents of drawing and writing and singing and
acting.>>REINA: Being creative is kind
of you taking control of how you like things and the way you like
to express yourself, in a way.>>MARK: Art is important in
itself, but for us, having a cultural tie to it is extremely
important for us because we want them to have a sense of
identity in who they are as Anishinaabe people. Knowing that
the Native American culture is at a critical point where you
don’t want to lose sense of that culture. ♪♪♪>>RACHEL: One reason we do snow
snakes is because of where we teach. We teach on a
reservation, and we need to honor that. And we need to honor
the students’ culture and tradition and try to bring in
activities that engages them in their culture and also try to
bring in other people from the community to help with those
activities. So the first thing we do is we have an elder come
in and tell the story of the snow snakes. And then we go out
into the woods and they cut their own snow snakes, they
whittle the sticks on their own. And then they get to get really
creative, where they design and paint the snow snake and make it
unique to them.>>REINA: I was trying to
dedicate this stick to something that was important to me. And I
came up with the idea to dedicate it to the LGBTQ+
community.>>MARK: In our mural works that
we’ve done, they’re done by local artists and artists that
have a foundation in the Anishinaabe culture. And they
all enjoy the opportunity to not only work with the artists but
to have their work on the wall.>>SAMARA: When I came to the
school, I was amazed at how all these, you know, artwork on
the walls and I felt like I belong here.>>MARK: Art is a reflection of
your community, and in school, really provides a heartbeat to
your school, it provides it with life, flavor, it creates a
passion for learning. Since we’ve made art a focus in
our school, we’ve had a reduction in discipline
referrals of over 40 percent, our enrollment has increased 11
percent, our state standard test scores have risen. It’s really
just checked all the indicators for us personally, as Red Lake
Middle School, to show nothing but positive influences on both
our kids and in the community.>>SAMARA: Art has really changed
my life. It helped me through a lot of things. It made me a
better person.

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