STAGES was developed as a means of bringing performing arts education and opportunities into school systems in primarily underserved neighborhoods. Established school sites reflecting an average of 60% economic deprivation and a range of special challenges (academic, social and disabilities).
Now in its ninth year, the STAGES program serves seven elementary schools, involving over 600 students each year. More than 500 hours of instruction are provided by professional, highly qualified teaching artists, along with time spent planning and conducting collaborative and evaluation meetings. In concert with classroom teachers, SPARC’s teaching artists are successfully conducting assessment of the average treatment effects of the training on each individual student. In addition to working with the public schools, SPARC also provides related, grant-funded programs with Peter Paul Development Center and St. James Children’s Center.
Students Per Year
Hours of Instruction
How It Works
Under the guidance of professional teaching artists, students experience the process of creating and applying their academic themes or personal experiences into writing, resulting in a performance script. Together they select music, song, movement and dance. Each student receives 26-30 hours of training per year in the three primary disciplines of performing arts – acting, singing and dance. The students are mentored by a team of two or three teaching artists at a teacher/student ratio of about 12-to-1.
SPARC measures the educational progress of STAGES students using the Virginia Oral Langauge Standards of Learning (SOLs). To do so, SPARC developed a quantitative measurement instrument with the expertise of a specialist in the educational evaluation field. Through this assessment, SPARC documents an average of 53% student improvement in a single year. SPARC also shares its evaluation process and data with schools and other arts partners in the region.