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September 2015

Greetings Friends!

The 2015-2016 school year is under way, and what an incredible year it promises to be for students and teachers in Sarasota County Schools, and for Any Given Child Sarasota. 

Thanks to your generous support, as well as the four-year Project Elevate grant we received last fall from the
U.S. Department of Education, hundreds of students and teachers at four Title I schools in Sarasota County this year will benefit from enhanced arts-integrated instruction and arts-related experiences. Plus, thousands more students throughout the district will have an opportunity to attend arts and cultural experiences in our area, and dozens of teachers will receive advanced training through professional development workshops with leading experts in their fields hosted by Any Given Child and our community partners.

In short, it is an exciting time to be involved in the arts and arts-related education in Sarasota County. Thank you for helping make this vision for our community possible! 

Meet Our New Team Members 

Besides allowing Any Given Child Sarasota to expand its arts education and arts integration efforts to even more deserving students and teachers in Sarasota County Schools, our Project Elevate grant from the U.S. Department of Education also allowed us to add two new professional staff members this year. As our new Arts Integration Specialist, Jessica DiLorenzo will be working directly with teachers and students to help model and coach arts-integration strategies and techniques, while our new Program Manager Maria Schaedler-Luera will be working with teachers, administrators and the local community to help arrange and manage arts-related experiences and professional development opportunities.

We are thrilled to have Jessica and Maria as part of the Any Given Child team! Here is a little more information about them.     

Jessica DiLorenzo: Arts Integration Specialist 

Jessica developed a love for the arts at a very early age and always excelled in learning environments where she was given the opportunity to weave her artistic abilities with the material she was learning.

In college, she studied psychology and theater arts and came to understand that the dramatic arts provided a pathway for individuals to practice connecting, listening and self-expression. After completing her undergraduate degree at
Rutgers University, she went on to study acting at The Maggie Flanigan Studio Summer Intensive Program in New York City and then completed her master's degree in elementary education from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers.

Jessica is experienced in integrating the arts in elementary school classrooms and was a founding member of
City Neighbors Hamilton in Baltimore, MD, a program rooted in project-based learning and arts integration inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to education. During her tenure at City Neighbors, she taught 1st, 4th and 5th grades and was nominated for teacher of the year. She also was a workshop presenter at their annual Progressive Education Summit and Symposium.

Most recently she worked as a teacher at
Princeton Junior School, an arts integrated International Baccalaureate school in Princeton, New Jersey.

Maria Schaedler-Luera: Program Manager

Maria is a Brazilian-born educator, administrator and performing artist with extensive work experience and knowledge in theater, music, arts and literacy, cross-cultural engagement, ESOL, interpreting, and immigrant communities.

She holds a master's degree in intercultural relations with a concentration in arts for social change from
Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. She also graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and has studied with top teachers and maestros in Brazil, France, Austria and the United States.

Maria studied with theater director Augusto Boal and taught classes and workshops that focus on Theatre of the Oppressed techniques for the
American Repertory Theater, Harvard Extension School, Lesley University and several other nonprofits in the Boston area. She also worked at the Harvard Art Museums, where she was critical in developing, coordinating and teaching gallery classes to immigrants in English, Portuguese and Spanish and at the Community Art Center in Cambridge, MA, developing their community programs and public art initiatives.


Happy Birthday, Any Given Child Sarasota! 

Can you believe it? The 2015-2016 school year marks the fifth anniversary for Any Given Child Sarasota as a select partnership between Sarasota County Schools and The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. And what a wonderful five years it has been.

During that time and with generous support from our community partners, tens of thousands of students have gained access to arts and cultural experiences that they might not otherwise have been able to attend. In addition, hundreds of teachers have enhanced their teaching skills and gained new insights into reaching children through the arts thanks to professional development workshops and innovative programs like the Arts Integration League, hosted by Any Given Child and the
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Finally, thanks to Any Given Child, students at Woodland and Venice Middle Schools are now enjoying on-campus orchestra programs to enhance their educational experience.

As we look forward, we are eager to build upon the successful foundation that has been laid over the past five years by Any Given Child, Sarasota County Schools and our community partners by continuing to enhance access and opportunities for ALL students to benefit from the arts in our schools.     

Project Elevate Kickoff - September 25

As you already know, our Project Elevate grant promises to bring a wealth of new arts-integrated learning opportunities to students at four Title I elementary schools in Sarasota County (Atwater, Brentwood, Emma E. Booker and Tuttle). But it will also provide an opportunity for teachers from throughout the district to benefit from advanced professional development workshops with leading local and national teaching artists and other arts-integration experts.

We want to thank The Hermitage Artist Retreat for hosting our kickoff workshop for Project Elevate on Friday, September 25. During the workshop, staff from Any Given Child and our grant partner, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, will be meeting with teachers and administrators from each of the Title I schools impacted by the grant and preparing for their work starting in October with our new arts integration specialist Jessica DiLorenzo.


Now on Twitter - Follow us @AGCSRQ

Want to stay on top of all the latest happenings with Any Given Child Sarasota? Then make sure to follow us on Twitter @AGCSRQ. It is a great way to keep abreast of all the latest news, events and other information about the arts and arts-integrated learning in our local schools.

And if you haven't already "Liked" us on Facebook, make sure to do that as well. We're currently at 450+ Likes and are aiming to surpass 500 within the coming months.


Change Young Lives through the Arts

There are so many ways you can help Any Given Child Sarasota realize the dream established by members of our local community five years ago to develop and build high-quality arts education programs and instruction in our local schools. Whether it is sponsoring arts experiences for students, helping fund a new school program in the arts, or supporting professional development workshops for teachers, we can assist you in identifying giving opportunities that match your personal interests and goals.

Contact Any Given Child Program Director Brian Hersh at for more information. Or give today by visiting our online donation page located on the Community Foundation of Sarasota County website and selecting the "Any Given Child Fund."

As always, thank you for your continued support!

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