Teachers' Responses -- 2002
Once again the response from the teachers was positive. "Including students from the general school population did indeed add a different dimension to the experience," commented Dan Mills. "My students thoroughly enjoyed the attention of the other students, and it gave those students a rare chance to have interaction with some special needs children. It also allowed the audience to see first hand that my students are just 'part of the gang' at East Hills."
"This year's performance also evolved by highlighting the kids in the wheelchairs more, showing them and the audience that being confined to a wheelchair does not necessarily mean you can't dance and have fun.
"The things that carried over from the prior year were the 'self-esteem boosting'
power of putting on a show, and the improved ability to listen, follow directions,
and work together as a group. The kids have enjoyed looking at the photos and
video tape of the
performance and I am sure they would readily agree to hit the stage again!"
"Evidence of the impact on the other students is seen in the fact that one girl, who has since moved on to the high school, has asked to come back and work with my class on another show or even in the classroom. I am left with the good feeling that Barbara, my associate teachers and myself have in some little way had a positive impact on the lives of several children."
"There are many aspects of this year's residency that would lead to development the next time. While rehearsing for the program, Barbara Pearson noticed one student had memorized the entire rap and was drilling the teachers on their kick line. "Perhaps next time we could include a story line and have the students help with the narration. Students from other classes could take roles in the drama. There are so many ways to involve children of differing abilities in a project that is inclusive and artistically exciting."