Congratulations to the Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies—Winner of the 2011 Imagination Award

Drama Teacher Kori Rushton, Principal Alyce Barr, and Music Teacher Christine Piccirillo from the Brooklyn School of Collaborative Studies. Photo: Patrick McMullan Company ©2011

As many know, Lincoln Center Institute created the annual Imagination Award to encourage and acknowledge New York City public schools that successfully incorporate and foster imaginative thinking in their teaching and learning practices. It is our pleasure to announce the 2011 winner: Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies.

The school is a 6th through 12th grade school, winning for its middle school efforts. Before we even read its application, we gave thumbs up to the words “Collaborative Studies” in the school’s name. BSC promotes rigorous study and an engaging curriculum, and pedagogy based on inquiry — meaning that questioning is encouraged. Also, it has created a school culture that demands and teaches compassion and good citizenship—all pedagogical qualities that LCI support.

Congratulations to the Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, and to all the staff, headed by Principal Alyce Barr, who give the school its direction and guide its students toward desirable goals with imaginative learning.

Coloring Outside the Lines

Image by Samantha Celera*

Lincoln Center Institute’s Imagination Conversations aim to, among other things, unite diverse sectors by drawing attention to their shared reliance on imagination. So it’s exciting for me to see the corporate and education worlds coming together on behalf of this cause: Crayola and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) have just awarded “Champion Creatively Alive Children” grants to 20 American elementary schools. According to a press release, the grants, “which will fund innovative programs aimed at fostering children’s critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills,” include $2,500 and Crayola products worth $500. The winning programs include one that will enable students to “find their individual voice” through puppetry, and another that will ask students to visually solve a new problem every month. (The full list is here.) For any interested educators, the eventual outcomes of these learning initiatives will be made public on NAESP’s Web site. In the press release, NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly touches on one of LCI’s main concerns when she mentions “preparing our nation’s children to thrive in the 21st century—a task that depends on fostering a culture of creativity and critical thinking.”

In a similar vein, LCI has created the annual Imagination Award to recognize and highlight imaginative thinking in the teaching and learning practice of public schools. Begun in New York City, and inspired in part by LCI’s Capacities for Imaginative Learning, the Imagination Award is now also awarded to a school in Washington State. Winning schools exhibit evidence of the incorporation of imaginative thinking across the curriculum, in subjects from art to English to the natural sciences. The school must demonstrate the ability to construct learning environments in which imagination is cultivated as part of learning as well as teaching.

These ideas, it seems to me, is very much on the minds of people in all realms of society right now. I applaud Crayola and NAESP as well as the grant recipients for transforming them into action. The education and business communities are beginning to see that both of their futures hinge on their ability to harness the power of imagination.

There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image.

Imagination Conversation Report: National Update–June/July 2010

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As summer gets underway, Lincoln Center Institute’s (LCI) Imagination Conversations initiative is moving full speed ahead. A Conversation took place in West Memphis, Arkansas, on July 14, and another will occur in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, on July 27 and 28. More are planned for the fall in Indiana; Ohio; Colorado; New Jersey; South Carolina; Maryland; Minnesota; Nebraska; and Texas. For details, visit http://imaginationconversation.org. Read on to learn how the project is progressing. Continue reading

Congratulations to NYC’s PS 219—Winner of the 2010 Imagination Award

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We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2010 LCI Imagination Award, PS 219, the Kennedy-King Elementary School in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. The celebration, and the giving of the $5000 award, took place at the school on the morning of June 23rd as part of the 5th-grade graduation ceremony. In his speech, Lincoln Center Institute’s Executive Director, Scott Noppe-Brandon, praised the school for using principles of teaching that align with LCI’s Capacities for Imaginative Learning, which emphasize students’ ability to—among other qualities—connect study to their lives, whether that study is about math or the issue of homelessness or yesterday’s historic figures. He described how moved the Award board was by PS 219’s application materials, which likened a classroom to a jigsaw puzzle: each child a unique piece with a different size, shape, and pattern, yet all necessary to make the whole picture. “The larger jigsaw puzzle is the world,” Noppe-Brandon said, “where all come together to create the complete picture, and you are all citizens of this country, of the traditions that your parents came from, and of the world.”

You can find an in-depth article about the award and PS 219 in Brooklyn’s Canarsie Courier, and check out the photo album on Facebook. Curious about the Imagination Award? Check out the selection criteria.

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