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Local teachers participate in year-long Arts Integration program

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C.I.T.A. teachers, student teachers and teaching artists attended a three-day summer academy to be trained in collaborative arts integration and co-teaching practices. The event was hosted at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, a partner of A.I.M.

From left to right (seated) are Rochelle Kroening, Rachel Stuart, Mary Begley, Det Bossany, Tanya Staatz, Amber Eide; (standing) Jeanne Styczinkski, Lisa Jasper-Mayer, Allison Feller, Marcia Wolf, Cindy Paulson, Rachel Kelm, Niki King, Deanna Gorecki, Elizabeth Schuster.

Fifteen local teachers have been selected to participate in a year-long inaugural arts integration program created by Arts Integration Menomonie (A.I.M.), an organization whose overarching belief is that “At the Heart of Education is the Teacher.”

Menomonie school district teachers were selected through an application process, and together they represent five different early childhood and elementary schools.

To meet A.I.M’s goal, the C.I.T.A. (Co-teaching In and Through the Arts) program pairs early childhood education teachers with appointed teaching artists to develop collaborative and sustainable arts teaching-learning partnerships. Focusing primarily on early career teachers, the C.I.T.A. program provides a support system which will help retain such teachers, providing them with arts skills and practices to better engage students in meaningful learning.


The C.I.T.A. teachers have been assigned one classroom teaching artist for the entire 2015-2016 school year. The teachers will collaborate with their teaching artists approximately 10 hours a week, planning and co-teaching components of the grade-level curriculum through the art form of the resident teaching artist.

“Different than traditional ‘artist in residence’ programs where an artist comes into a teacher’s classroom and essentially takes over the teaching role, C.I.T.A. focuses on collaborative teaching or ‘co-teaching’ between the teacher and the resident artist,” A.I.M. Executive Director Dr. Tami Weiss explains. “The classroom teacher will gradually learn skills and practices of her partner teaching artist, developing additional tools to reach and teach students in deeper learning.”

C.I.T.A. also showcases A.I.M.’s partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Stout. In addition to the 15 SDMA early childhood education teachers, four UW-Stout student teachers will also be participating in the C.I.T.A. program during the fall of 2015. New student teacher applicants will be added in the spring of 2016.

Overseeing SDMA partnership with UW-Stout and serving on A.I.M.’s board of directors is Brian Seguin, curriculum director for the Menomonie school district.

C.I.T.A. classroom teachers for the 2015-16 school year are:

  • Oaklawn Elementary (Principal Lori Smith) — Third grade teachers Lisa Jasper-Mayer, Cindy Paulson and Elizabeth Schuster paired with teaching artist Melissa Kneeland whose specialty is theater.
  • River Heights Elementary (Principal Peg Kolden) — Kindergarten teachers Det Bossany, Deana Gorecki and Tanya Staatz paired with Babatunde Lea (music/percussion). Second grade teacher Rachel Kelm is joined by Erika Svanoe (music/composition). Fourth grade teacher Amber Eide ipaired with Charis Collins (theatre/film/screenwriting)
  • Wakanda Elementary (Principal Susan Mommsen) — Kindergarten teachers Mary Begley and Niki King and kindergarten team advisor Jeanne Styczinski (Kindergarten Team Advisor) paired with Kobi Shaw (circus arts)
  • Little Sprouts Academy (Director Joe Lawrence) — 4K teacher Rochelle Kroening paired with Kris Winter (Storytelling)
  • UW — Stout Child and Family Study Center (Director Judy Gifford) — preschool teachers Allison Feller, Rachael Stuart and Marcia Wolf paired with Yata Peinovich (songwriting/guitar)

To learn more about A.I.M. or its C.I.T.A. program, go to


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