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The Higher Stages Arts Academy, a program of Tears of Joy Theatre, is an arts-based success program with a mission to support teachers, parents and artists in addressing the social, emotional and educational development of students. Academy students are involved in challenging experiences with professional artists in the crafting and performance of art. The intention is to promote high self-esteem and academic success through the development of both craft and life skills.
The Higher Stages Arts Academy offers classes in a variety of artistic disciplines. Recent classes include fashion design, drama, African drumming, Ballet Folklorico, video production, mask making, puppetry, sculpture, choir and mural design/production. Professional artists from local arts organizations and the larger community teach Academy classes and work collaboratively with staff and students to produce student-designed and student-driven work throughout the school year. Each Arts Academy class has a class manager providing basic case management-style support to each student. Class managers also provide homework help and academic assistance. Together with students, they create individual action plans for success. Class managers also develop close relationships with parents, teachers and counselors to strengthen the support network for each child. Higher Stages serves students in the Jefferson cluster of Portland Public Schools.
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