What has been the impact of your solution to date?
The proposed program is an outgrowth of the organization's research-driven, three-year Literacy and Cultural Connections in-school program. In 2008, a longitudinal study was launched at three schools to measure the program’s impact on students' academic and social development. After three years of consecutive program participation, data revealed that CW students consistently demonstrated higher proficiency gains in arts learning, academic achievement and self and cultural awareness than their counterparts did. Just as important, the study also found that students’ interest in other cultures and development of empathetic behaviors increased, as did their appreciation for their own and others’ cultures. Since its inception the program has reached over 5,000 youth in the Chicagoland area, the program aims to build on this success and replicate it regionally.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
We expect the program to develop students on both an academic and a social emotional scale. Academically, we expect to see an improvement in reading and writing, along with – given past experience – improvement in academic test scores overall. Socially and emotionally, we expect to see students who are more aware of the struggles and challenges of others and that use the power of personal stories to be more inclusive and empathetic of others leading to less violent behaviors, more inclusive communities and a greater interest in their own and others’ cultures. By the end of the third year, we expect to see schools, youth and communities changed.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
As teachers have limited time to conduct activities between sessions, connecting key activities and goals to residency sessions is important. Therefore, classroom management and focused curriculum conception will be essential factors during professional development sessions. Given past experience, we anticipate logistical and scheduling challenges that will continue to be a work in progress. Team teaching can be tricky, so moving forward we will devote more time to planning and collaboration between classroom teachers and teaching artists to ensure the process runs smoothly. Finally, new strategies need to be developed to ensure participant consent forms are collected.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
We envision new schools engaging youth and teachers in culturally responsive and arts-infused practices for over 10,000 youth.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Schools will have been transformed into arts-infused learning hubs, with a blueprint for crafting arts and culture curricula.
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]
According to photographer Kay Berkson, Changing Worlds' founder, "The seed of this project was a comment by a Native American mother as I photographed her child. She spoke of seeing people from many countries at her daughter’s school. 'I look at them and I wonder, ‘where did they come from; what’s their story?’ but I never know. No one talks about it.' Remembering her words, I thought about immigrant and refugee families I knew who wanted to share their stories, and about the personal connections and respect I felt as a result of that sharing. I believe that for both adults and children, sharing histories, acknowledging differences, and discovering commonalities benefit the tellers, the learners, and the larger community. In today’s political climate where anti-immigrant sentiment is widespread, anti-immigrant policies are sanctioned on local and national levels, and where ethnic tensions and hate violence are on the rise, these efforts are needed more than ever."