On the heels of its successful Creative Minds summer camp, NewBridge Cleveland has kicked off another new initiative: CLE Lead. An art-inspired leadership training program, CLE Lead will help more than 100 middle school and high school students develop skills in ceramics, graphic design, and photography—as well as boost social and emotional intelligence—over a yearlong period.
The program will culminate in a community service project (most likely a mural designed and painted by the students with the help of NewBridge's Teaching Artists). At the program's conclusion, participants will also have the chance to become camp counselors for next year's installment of Creative Minds.
For all participants who complete the program, CIA is offering a scholarship to their two-week Pre-College summer residency program (spanning a number of disciplines including animation, biomedical art, 3D art, glassblowing, graphic design, industrial design, painting, photography, and video). A $2,500 value, the scholarship includes college credit, room and board, materials, facility access, meals, and most activities.
In mounting the program, principals and counselors recommended participants from seven CMSD at-risk schools, including School of One (programs that serve students who do not thrive in traditional learning environments). The students will meet after school three days a week and receive flex credit from CMSD.
CLE Lead was developed based on an evidence-based social and emotional learning curriculum called Lion’s Quest. Featured topics include Cultural Awareness, Interpersonal Communication, and Personal Management & Responsibility. Via this curriculum, students will spend one session per week focusing on social and emotional skills and pro-social behavior, along with two sessions per week in the art studio.
“We’re trying to tie it back to job readiness,” explains Maya Lyles, NewBridge's director of academic affairs. “Basically all of the social and emotional skills that they will be learning here can apply as job-readiness training. We’re a vocational training [facility] for adults, too, so students can also think about our programs for the year after they graduate.”
The students will take a pre-test and a post-test for each module. Lyles says she hopes the results will show the students making progress through the program. She is also hopeful that CLE Lead can help enhance the overall student experience—pointing to CMSD's Conditions for Learning Survey as a way to measure those perceptions. (Students take the survey at the beginning of each year to weigh in various factors at their school, such as a "safe and respectful climate" and provided "social and emotional learning" opportunities.)
“We will work with CMSD to offer them our data, as well as them providing us data,” she says. “We can work on Conditions for Learning throughout the year with a certain population of students, and hopefully those scores will improve or they’ll feel better about their Conditions for Learning because we’re helping to supplement that.”
CLE Lead will replace NewBridge's after-school visual arts-based program for high school students, and students will only be able to attend the program for a single yearlong session. NewBridge has plans to add a mastery program next year to allow students who are particularly interested in a specific art discipline the opportunity to continue learning. Adds Lyles, “The goal is more job readiness than anything, though."