Is The Patterson Foundation's series of symposia making a difference?

Posted on January 12, 2011 by Laurey Stryker, Ed.D., Digital Access for All Initiative Manager

[caption id="attachment_12" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="From Left: Laurey Stryker, TPF Initiative Manager; Principals Steve Dragon, Southside Elementary; Linda Kingsley, Fruitville Elementary; Barbara Kingsley, Alta Vista Elementary"][/caption]

In partnership with the Sarasota County School District, The Patterson Foundation (TPF) has held a series of symposia, bringing together teachers and representatives from local art, science and history organizations.

TPF's spring 2010 initiative survey results revealed that the local cultural organizations and school district need more time to collaborate.

In that spirit, three symposia have been planned for 2010-11.

The events were established to create a conversation and collaboration space for organizations and teachers to learn from each other and start creating more integrated experiences for students.

The inaugural symposium on Sept. 22 included Sarasota School District leadership and 39 cultural organizations. The purpose was to outline the new state and national standards that focus on mastery and relevancy.  The changes offer important opportunities for organizations to help students meet the more rigorous, real-world standards.

Participants told us through the evaluation feedback that they have high hopes for new collaborations coming from the symposium.

Here's a snapshot of the comments:

• Build a stronger, more effective method to help the arts/cultural community become involved with the school system.

• To get students outdoors and engaged in new learning pathways through environmental education.

• That the school "system" doesn't prove to be too inflexible.

• Efforts will be sustained over the long-term and that organizations form lasting connections.

• To bring real science experiences that stay with our students and are relevant to real life. Develop deeper partnerships with teachers to help them reach their goals with students through quality experiences.

• That more students will have cultural opportunities that will encourage them to see the connections between their class work and the world beyond school and expose them to ideas about careers and life-long interests.

• That we may all work together. Less competition between organizations, more focus on what will help the students/teachers. It seemed most school people only spoke about money. How can we help but still afford to run our programs?

• A much larger number of children and families may experience the value of the riches of our arts community through enlarged collaboration with the school district.

• That the arts truly become part of the DNA of our students.

• That the school district and cultural organizations reach a shared vision and expectations of education outcomes for all Sarasota students; can develop action plans for that vision; remembering that all learning is not within four walls of a school building.

• That there will be specific examples of how organizations are using the standards/calendar. My hope is that there will be meaningful follow-up with interested arts organization and mentoring to help them navigate the standards.

• That ideas will be presented in a clear, straightforward manner with the focus on what arts organizations can do to encourage not only the students but also the teachers to feel passionate about the performing and visual arts.

• To bring my students closer to the community.

• An increased awareness of the value of introducing engaging arts experiences early and often to children and teens. Providing inspiring training opportunities to teachers, parents, librarians, youth activity coordinators and others who may influence young people. Weave a strong network of resources, all directed toward the common goal of developing opportunities for children, teens and families.

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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