Professional Development for Educators of Students with Disabilities

Posted on 04/02/13


As a national leader in arts education, Luna has been sharing the most current practices of teaching dance to children of all abilities, as well as Universal Design for Learning principles, to teachers and dance educators for more than a decade.  Currently, under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, we are bringing these best practices to the forefront of our work through comprehensive professional development.  Our PL services and Model programs work in tandem to generate thoughtful approaches to classroom techniques and teaching strategies to improve student performance.  Teaching artists, classroom teachers and para-professionals partner together to support student learning in advanced dance concepts using an inquiry approach that continues to “push the envelope” of what creativity might look like in inclusive dance settings.  This year we are working with three classrooms at Grass Valley Elementary School, Oakland Unified School District.  We also continue our work at West Lake Middle School, presently teaching twice weekly classes.  The classroom teachers and para-professionals receive active coaching to keep dance alive in the school setting, as well as integrate arts curriculum as makes sense in the classroom.  This is truly paying off!  At West Lake, the special day students are the stewards of dance learning at the school and have presented their original work in public settings such as at the Lake Merritt Pavilion.  What we learn from our practice supports the theory and approaches shared in our PL offerings–workshops, lesson studies and consultations.  In fall of this year we had the pleasure of a full panel of professionals addressing dance and disability, followed by workshops on neurological patterning and dance, UDL and cultural competency and individual consultations to dance educators working with classrooms of children who are deaf, blind or autistic and adults with Parkinson’s.  The interest in this work continues to grow and we are looking forward to similar offerings in 2013-14.  Read MORE about Luna’s work with children with special needs in the Tilden Case Study.