Broadway Dallas Puts the Art in Dallas ISD STEAM Initiatives

Broadway Dallas “teaching artists” took to Dallas ISD high school theater classrooms in the fall to bring STEAM curriculum to students. 

The curriculum, themed after the musical Ain’t too Proud — The Life and Times of The Temptations, helped students learn video technology by creating music videos. 

“We worked closely together to align this goal of using the partnership as a way to infuse STEM principles into theater classrooms and also to build advocacy for what theater looks like in Dallas ISD,” said Allison Bret, director of education and community partnerships at Broadway Dallas.

In conjunction with the in-class lessons, about 4,000 Dallas ISD students attended a private showing Sept. 13 of Ain’t too Proud at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

Dallas ISD teachers told C.C. Harbour, Broadway Dallas’ education program manager, that students especially appreciated the musical’s relevance to social issues now and during the civil rights era.

“There was an immediate connection with, ‘I can see myself in these characters. I can see myself in these situations or I can see my family members having to endure some of these circumstances,’” Harbour said.

One of Broadway Dallas’ strategic plan’s pillars is to use theater for education. The organization’s CEO Ken Novice said he likes to refer to it as putting the “A” above STEM because theater can touch each of the elements: science, technology, engineering, and math.

“Presenting wonderful evenings in the theater for our audience is a core part of that, but (so) is this work in education,” Novice said.

The fall 2022 curriculum was the partnership’s second rendition, which started in fall 2021 with Hamilton-related marketing and design lessons.

The partnership was sponsored by the T.D. Jakes Foundation, which is committed to building bridges to opportunity for underserved populations.

“When you are engaged in activities in the classroom, that’s just one aspect,” said Dr. Jennifer Stimpson, chief program officer at the foundation. T.D. Jakes also wants to provide “out-of-classroom activities such as partnerships with Broadway Dallas and having students see STEAM in a variety of different nontraditional ways.”

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