This April the school community joined together with our partners at the National Portrait Gallery for the Carlos Rosario Family Day. Museum-goers were immersed in student-led art, music and dancing representing different cultures from around the globe. Dancers performed traditional and modern works from various Latin American and Asian countries and singers belted out songs in their newly learned English and in native languages.

Student artwork ranging from portrait photography to needlepoint and from clothing design to wood carving were on display. At stations around the museum’s atrium visitors recreated the artworks through family-friendly crafts like soap carving, image transfer and more.

This Family Day was a culmination of an ongoing partnership which began with the museum in spring 2016. Throughout the 2016-17 school year, classes have been taking field trips to the National Portrait Gallery to learn more about American history, social justice, vocabulary, and more through art. More than 75 students have participated in tours with themes like Art of Portraiture and Struggle for Justice. One beginning level ESL teacher who took her class on the Struggle for Justice tour reported that the students were very engaged and that the content about fighting for equality “really struck a chord with them.”

For many of the students who have participated in the field trips and in the Family Day, it was their first time in a museum. This partnership is also part of the Smithsonian Museums, efforts to be more inclusive to broader audiences particularly English language learners. The partnership also included a professional development workshop by Carlos Rosario School Arts Integration Manager, Tara Villanueva, for gallery educators on strategies to approach second language learners. The result has been tours that are more accessible to English language learners.