The mission of El Teatro Campesino’s Educational Theater Program is to preserve the legacy and history of ETC and to promote social and environmental justice by exposing young audiences to various current and historical social issues. El Teatro Campesino’s ETP is dedicated to the use art as a tool for social change and aims to inspire community involvement, social consciousness, and political action through our theatrical performances, costumed lectures and workshops.
Artists in the Schools – offered in the Spring
Since 2010, El Teatro Campesino has partnered with the San Benito County Arts Council to put professional teaching artists in the classroom in order to make seventh grade history accessible to students. Made possible through funding from the California Arts Council, “Artists in the Schools” is a 12-week artist residency program which focuses on the Spanish Conquest of Mexico. The residency carefully interweaves the arts and world history by utilizing Luis Valdez’s play, “La Conquista de Mexico,” (featured in his “Early Works” book) to immerse students in visual art, music, culture and puppet theater.
The program kicks off with a performance for students by El Teatro Campesino of a puppet show based on the Valdez play. Fully aligned to Visual and Performing Arts and World History curriculum, four sessions of the program are dedicated to the discipline of Visual Art. These sessions connect students directly with historic record keeping codex techniques employed by the Aztec culture. The next four sessions are taught through the discipline of Music. In these sessions students explore Aztec drumming and understand the dramatic power struggle with the foreign Spanish Guitar. And the last four sessions use theater to bring student’s history studies to life with student made puppets that are based on key players of the Conquest. All of which culminate in a student re-telling of the Conquest of Mexico through puppet theater.
Migrant Education Summer Academy (MESA) – offered in the Summer
Since 2008, every July, twenty-one El Teatro Campesino teaching artists return to the California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) campus as part of the Monterey County Office of Migrant Education Region XVI’s “Junior Otters Program.” This Migrant Education Summer Academy (MESA) is a four-week program serving 200-250 migrant students throughout Monterey County (grades 4-8) and gives them learning experiences that their regular education does not provide. ETC artists supplement students’ daily academic learning in the academy with a two-hour arts enrichment program each afternoon. These sessions consist of visual art and theatre/dance/music explorations for grades 4-6 and a filmmaking workshop for grades 7-8. The program culminates in final performances (done in one of the classic teatro forms: acto, mito, or corrido) and screenings of the student made short films for fellow students and parents.
El Teatro Campesino’s partnership with this program and the reality of the migrant students it serves hits very close to home to our founder, Luis Valdez. Growing up in a migrant farm working family, Mr. Valdez knew first-hand the effects the constant moving and the interruption it had on his schooling. However, the consistent element he was able to hold onto was art. He discovered the magic of paper maché at an early age, thanks to one of his teachers. And we all know the great impact the arts had on him ever since! By having the MESA program on the CSUMB campus, students are also exposed and given access to university life and encouraged to pursue higher education. These students are, after all, the future and as Luis Valdez himself reminds us: “The future belongs to those who can imagine it.”
Past MESA media coverage:
CSUMB migrant summer camp emphasizes family theme
CSUMB Junior Otter ceremony features kids’ plays
CSUMB Junior Otter MESA 2015 Digital Media Film “To Get A Better Life”
Estudiantes en la Universidad de Monterey
Junior Otters concludes with plays at CSUMB
Theater with a message: Migrant students learn about ocean protection
Luis Valdez Leadership Academy (LVLA) – Charter School
The vision of LVLA is to provide a small, personalized learning community that is safe, positive and culturally responsive to the needs of our students and families. LVLA is a college prep academy and seeks to prepare ALL of our students to be admitted to a four year college or university. All of our students will also pursue A-G Course completion during their four years at LVLA. In carrying forward the life, work and legacy of the namesake of our school, Luis Valdez, LVLA students will also be exposed to visual, performing and digital arts during their course of study. Through their exploration of the arts they will acquire essential leadership skills and technological proficiency that will prepare them for success in college and in the jobs of the 21st century.
Related LVLA media/articles:
Latino Thursday: Luis Valdez Leadership Academy
LVLA on NBC/Telemundo’s Comunidad Del Valle
Daniel Valdez Visits Luis Valdez Leadership Academy
CCSESA – the creation of the A.C.T.O.S Pedagogy
In partnership with California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA), and the Monterey County Office of Education (MCOE), El Teatro Campesino collaborated to develop an arts integrated crosswalk that bridged the artistic disciplines found in El Teatro Campesino’s theatrical practices and the Common Core State Standards practices of 21st Century classrooms. The collaborative project was aimed at providing a framework that California Teachers could utilize when designing new and engaging Common Core Content.
A.C.T.O.S (Activate Learners , Cultivate the Heart and Mind, Teach to Learn, Open Minds, Serve the Learning Community) is an arts integrated instructional pedagogy that is a powerful classroom instruction delivery model designed to increase student engagement and classroom participation at a 21st Century level.
The A.C.T.O.S. module provides:
• Student hands-on learning experiences that are rich, rigorous and culturally relevant
• 21st Century Learning approach for development of new arts integrated content
• Arts Integration Teacher Coaching conducted by El Teatro Campesino’s teaching artists
• Engaged learning environments where 21st century learning skills thrive
MCAETalks: Monterey project illustrates teaching through fine arts
MCAET Talks: Emiliano Valdez on Vimeo
Statewide Arts Education Initiative Links Creativity and the “Common Core”