South Shore Conservatory, New England’s largest community school for the arts, has been selected for a site visit by the annual Conference for Community Arts Education, hosted in Boston from Nov. 10 to 12. Approximately 500 delegates, community arts providers and education leaders from across the country will converge for the annual National Guild for Community Arts Education event. Many attendees will travel to Hingham to tap into SSC leadership team’s expertise in their “continuum” model, a programmatic philosophy designed to engage students from birth through adulthood.
“We will present a dynamic and interactive view of our educational continuum,” says SSC President Kathy Czerny. “We’ll demonstrate how our unique approach to arts education is geared to engage students from ages 0-90. Students can begin their arts education with us and stay forever - or they can enter at any point on their own music and arts life path.” During the two- hour visit, SSC staff, faculty, students, overseers and trustees will lead tours of the Hingham campus including the 300-seat covered Jane Carr Amphitheatre, teaching and ensemble spaces, and Cox performance hall. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore and observe a variety of music, dance, and drama programs. The visit will culminate with a “Monster Jam” performance that integrates all participants into a performing arts experience.
Now entering their 41st year, SSC serves more than 2,700 students at two campuses and several off-site locations. Built on a large early childhood base, the school's programs prepare young students for private instruction and foster participation beyond the private lesson. Programs branch out in multiple directions to allow older students to pursue a variety of opportunities in music, movement, and drama. The focus and flexibility of the continuum informs parents, students, and faculty about options and possibilities for individualized and evolving interests.
“It’s exciting to have members of our sister organizations from across the country see our beautiful school and have the opportunity to showcase our programs, students and faculty,” said Czerny. “It comes naturally - as educators we wish to share our successful strategies with our peers, helping them identify new opportunities for growth and acting as a model to surmount challenges, create success and aspire to innovations in their own communities.”
As one of 25 community arts schools or programs in the Boston-metro area, SSC was selected for the Conference due to their commitment to excellence in arts education. Conference programming will explore all categories of the arts, with Huntington Theatre, The Institute of Contemporary Art and Boston Ballet also selected for respective site visits. “We are excited to welcome our colleagues - it provides us with a wonderful opportunity to showcase the school and to share strategies that make us unique in our community,” said Czerny.
Also on the Boston program of events, three members of SSC’s leadership team will make a presentation on the success of their revamped enrollment and retention process. Showcasing the success of an 11-member action committee, the presentation will highlight how SSC reversed a period of declining enrollment. Efforts focused on improving parent education, expanding early childhood programs and fostering faculty engagement and accountability have led to a 24% increase in enrollment over the last three years.