TRW Partnership Team: The Family School Project

The TRW Partnership Team just spent three amazing weeks with The Family School, Bronx, NY, working with their Kindergarten through 2nd graders on their first drama project! Team leaders Fred Stuart and Andrew Rainbow from the TRW Partnership Team worked with over 60 students, aided by Justin Dayhoff, the Family School’s music specialist and Family School staff.

Each class focused on the basic skills of drama and…on having fun! Breaking the group into four casts, the second week saw the development of a short play for each group. By week three, each group was in the final stages of remembering their lines and learning the awesome song composed by TRW’s Andrew Rainbow.

Finally on Thursday, October 22, 2009, The first Family School Drama Program show premiered! A final run-through at 3:30pm and then…4pm and curtain time had come. For most of the kids it was their first time on stage, and you could see the pride as their families streamed into the auditorium. The four short plays, “Baseball,” “Stars,” “Geese,” and “Ghosts,” played perfectly, confirmed by thunderous applause from the audience.

After the show, Principal Pamela Lee addressed the audience and presented Stuart and Rainbow with words of thanks before adjourning to the cafeteria for an after-show reception featuring pizza and soft drinks. Principal Lee remarked,  “During the culminating event, one parent came up to me and said, ‘My daughter never wanted to come to school before. Ever since she was part of this after-school program, she comes home with a smile every day and wants to come to school every day.’  It is clear that in just three weeks, Mr. Stuart and Mr. Rainbow have made a profound impact in the lives of children, who might not necessarily have had or will have the opportunity to realize their talent in theatre arts.”

“It was truly rewarding to see students build confidence through learning to use their talent. An added bonus was that through theatre arts, oral language was developed. With 50% of our students being English Language Learners, that connection between art and literacy is integral to our students’ success,” said Lee.

The TRW Partnership Team is currently looking at continuing the Family School Project with a spring program that will further build a base for ongoing drama and music at the school.