The 2015-2016 program year was marked by change, challenge and growth for the ENACT team. With an eager set of newly hired administrators, the team decided to focus their priorities around increasing its program partners, ensuring for increased quality control, launching ideas that had never gotten off the ground and employing a strategic marketing plan.
Program staff worked diligently to broaden and enhance organizational communications and to share ENACT’s unique program offering with potential partners in support of expansion goals. This included an updated newsletter and a newly developed company blog to reflect various perspectives of the organization. Founder, Diana Feldman, created From The Founder to share her experiences as leader of ENACT. Staff also set the goal of making a social media plan that would create thoughtful and meaningful content, while cultivating a larger and more engaged following. Finally, staff arranged program demonstrations with city agencies, nonprofits and schools as way to illustrate the engaging nature and effectiveness of ENACT’s methodology.
New developments this year included piloting a short-term program in Los Angeles, additional funding through the Anti-Gun Violence initiative through The New York City Council and the launch of Young Friends of ENACT: the young professional’s network with Credit Suisse.
As a result of their collective efforts, ENACT worked in all five boroughs serving an increased number of schools and alternate learning centers with more than 2,500 students, school staff, parents and caregivers. Teaching artists led 1,244 student workshops, 130 professional development trainings and 78 parent and family workshops. At long-term sites where students participated in programming for a full academic year through in-school and after-school workshops, student attendance improved by almost 80 percent, with eleven students achieving perfect attendance.
Checkout the latest issue of our newsletter featuring a spotlight on some of our incredibly, talented and hardworking women. Read the entire newsletter here…
We are pleased to announce, we have a new addition to our website. From time to time, our President Diana will be sharing her words of wisdom and insight on various topics. Our mission always relates to our students so of course our first post is focused on how our students impact our work.
Haven’t we all heard classroom students utter words like, “This is boring, or this is stupid!” We sometimes hear students say negative statements to us directly or indirectly through their behavior. Never a good feeling to be on the receiving end, but, it simply means they may not be connecting with us or the classroom material. Engagement and relationship building are key to creating a willingness to learn. The ENACT teaching artists are naturally engaging because they are actors, but they must work developmentally; meeting the kids where they are moment to moment, willing to rip up and change the lesson plan as needed. The good news is that listening to our students is what keeps us on our toes and at the top of our game.” Diana Feldman on how the students we work with impact and enhance the ENACT method.
This week Founder, Diana Feldman, reflected further on the unique, yet significant impact students have had in shaping the ENACT method. By transforming the classroom into a safe container, the ENACT method allows students to explore every day issues like bullying, peer pressure and violence through interactive theater and drama therapy. Through her experience teaching in inner city schools, Diana quickly learned that the kids are the best critics since they can immediately sense one’s motives and whether emotions are genuine. Thus, she placed students at the center of the methodology, empowering them to influence the direction, pace and tone of each workshop. Based on the students’ reactions, teaching artists know if their topic selections and drama games resonate with the students, the key she says to the work. The students’ response not only helps enhance the method, but also shapes it to meet their needs. In order to authentically connect with the students and bring about personal and collective change, it is critical that the method maintain, in essence, this sense of humility and adaptability. Here, the ENACT method offers each school and student the opportunity to identify the issues important to them and what they need rather than the reverse. Therefore communicating that they are respected as contributors, valued for the unique obstacles they face and are partners in the work. In this way, ENACT instructs each teaching artist to listen and maintain flexibility, so that they can meet students where they are and help them overcome the challenges they face in their day-to-day lives.
Take a moment to read our latest post in “From the Wings.” Rebecca Elkin-Young, ENACT site director and drama therapist, shares how drama therapy offers alternative forms of communication for English Language Learners.
Please check out our latest post in “From the Wings.” ENACT Teaching Artist, Emilie Ward, explores opportunities for finding meaning in the holiday season through the many ways in which we are inextricably connected with others.
Please check out the latest issue of the ENACTor and see what we have been up to this quarter!
We are thrilled to report that ENACT has been selected by the New York City Council to engage youth with our signature method through Art a Catalyst for Change. This program, a component of the Council’s Anti-Gun Violence Initiative, selects qualified organizations that use the arts to increase awareness of and combat gun violence. ENACT was selected to participate in this important program because of its record of engaging youth in issues that affect them on a daily basis. In too many classrooms around the country, young people are struggling to process the violence that they encounter in school, in their neighborhoods, and which they witness in the world at large. ENACT artists work with them to give voice to the emotions and trauma that these incidents evoke. Through scene work, facilitated discussions, and role play, students can begin to process and work through the reactions they are experiencing. Most importantly, they can begin to discover concrete and demonstrable ways to become true change agents and ambassadors of peace.e.
ENACT’s Parent Advisory Committee will be meeting this Saturday, December 5th from noon to 3:00 PM in ENACT’s offices at 630 Ninth Avenue. Come join other ENACT parents and grandparents. You don’t have to be the parent of a current ENACT student – we’re looking for anyone with an interest in improving NYC public education and bringing more programs like ENACT into the schools. If you’re interested, contact email@example.com. Here’s a picture of some of our group at a recent United Federation of Teachers Parents’ Conference. Come #ShowUP and get involved!
We are thrilled to announce the launch of From the Wings, a backstage look at ENACT, which we will be publishing for all of those in the ENACT family. Our inaugural post features founder Diana Feldman’s reflections on a classroom that profoundly changed the direction of her life, an experience that became the catalyst for ENACT. Please sign up and join us, follow us on Twitter (@ENACTinc), like us on Facebook, and do all those other social media kinds of things as we share the voices of our teaching artists, therapists, students and classroom teachers!