Oregon has one of the few arts programs in the country initiated by the late classical music giant, Leonard Bernstein. The maestro’s son visited the Portland program Tuesday, as education reformers consider elevating the arts in schools.
Jackson Middle School is one of 15 schools in the U.S. and the only one in the Northwest using “Artful Learning.” Jackson started using the arts-driven approach, 15 years ago.
Most recently, Oregon and national leaders have been discussing the concept of “STEAM” — which adds an “a” for “arts” to “STEM” — which stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
Alexander Bernstein — the son of the late conductor — said that he’s hearing more interest in “artful learning” lately.
He laughed, “We knew it all along, I have to say. But it’s wonderful to see so many other schools, all around the country, coming around to these ideas.”
“Artful learning” schools rely on “Bernstein units.” The lessons key in on a “significant question” about a core theme, like relationships, or conflict. They culminate in hands-on projects, such as a sculpture or a performance.