Over the past few years the Carlos Rosario School Arts Integration and Culture Program has grown in leaps and bounds. Last year the school launched its first ESL through the Arts class in the evening, taught by veteran teacher Vincent Scott. Through this class students ESL levels 1-5 gained foundational reading, writing, and speaking skills while exploring theater, dance, drawing, design and more. For the 2018-19 school year the class has expanded adding an afternoon session available to students levels 2-4. Also this fall the program is proud to welcome the first-ever paraeducator program graduate hired by the school.
Beyond the arts classroom, partnerships with local arts organizations also continue to grow. The connections with organizations such as Shakespeare Theater, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, National Portrait Gallery, and Casa de La Cultura provide students across both campuses with many exciting avenues to explore the arts both in the classroom and out in the community including hands-on workshops, free theater tickets, museum field trips, and dynamic speakers. This year new partners include Washington Performing Arts and the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theater and the Renwick Gallery, which will open doors to more field trips and performance spaces for students. Reciprocally, the school is working with these partners to make their content more accessible to English language learners.
The Arts Integration and Culture program is overseen by Tara Villanueva, Arts Integration and Cultural Programs Manager, with support from Natalia Febo and Vanessa Magana. An Arts Integration Advisory Committee comprised of arts professionals including a Smithsonian director, the director of Harvard University’s local Project Zero chapter and various teaching artists provide insights into the needs of the arts community as well as making connections to local partner organizations. An internal committee make up of teachers and staff who are passionate to the Arts also meet regularly to help shape the program.
As a program manager, Tara brings to the role a rich background in the performing arts as an award-winning musician, dancer and actress. Over the past few years she has taken on various leadership roles in local community arts organizations with an eye on driving the conversation around arts education and adult English language learners. She is now the President-Elect of the Arts Education DC Board local chapter of the National Arts Education Association and a co-facilitator for the Persons of Color Group at Harvard University’s Project Zero DC Collaborative.
Tara has also traveled worldwide for trainings related to the arts and leadership. Over the past couple summers, thanks to generous scholarships, she received a certificate in International Perspectives of Drama in Education from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland; attended the Habla Institute in Mérida, Mexico focusing on literacy through the arts and also the Passion of the Arts through Learning Summer Institute with Yoyo Ma hosted by the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. In the summer of 2018 Tara completed the Executive Program of Arts & Culture Strategy in Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania.
Of her ever evolving role, Tara said, “As a single mother, I have grown up through the Arts. Now I have the chance to give back to the community where I came from. My goal is to create accessibility to the Arts. We want to show students how they to empower themselves by celebrating the skills they already have and to reconnect to their identities through their own cultures.”