Thinking globally, acting locally

Preparing students to be world citizens means providing opportunities for international experiences, but it also includes demonstrating the value of contributing to the local community.

The UGA-Clarke County Schools Partnership, a five-year plan aimed at improving student learning, brings together teachers, principals, district administrators, community service agency leaders, parents and UGA faculty and students in collaboration with two pilot schools, Chase Street and Gaines Elementary Schools.

Earlier this year, UGA students who participated in a study abroad trip to Cuba visited Gaines Elementary School and hosted mini-assemblies, where the young students danced, viewed pictures and slides, and created art based on what they’d learned about Cuba.

Gaines School is one of two Clarke County elementary schools involved in the innovative partnership with the UGA College of Education that’s designed to improve student achievement that was begun in February 2001. Chase Street Elementary is also a partnership school. The partnership has also brought art education students into elementary classrooms to teach weekly, providing valuable development time for teachers, arts experiences for the elementary students and teaching experience for UGA students.

Professor of art Joseph Norman’s work was the focus of one unit of instruction taught at Gaines Elementary. Norman deals with the varied and often controversial issues associated with human relationships in his paintings, drawings and lithographs. His drawing titled “Target Practice: Take This. Take That!” features a sleek hammer looming above a nail-filled piece of wood.

“When we get into an argument we tend to target the same issues and like driving nails in our hearts, we hammer away with painful words. Even apologizing cannot remove the scars left in our hearts (or the holes left in the wood),” Norman said.

UGA art education students and Gaines Elementary students used this drawing to think about, discuss and create art about “The Power of Words.” Norman later visited the students to discuss their work.