7 Years of Arts and Passion in an NYC Middle School

Silkroad Connect and The Arts and Passion-Driven Learning Institute

June 21, 2016

“The learning that happens while students are having fun through Silkroad Connect is incredible. There is nothing else like it.” — Ms. Mshar, principal, JHS 185

One evening earlier this month, more than 100 sixth-grade students in Queens, NY, reflected on a year spent exploring cultures of India, China, and beyond through storytelling, art making, and performance.

Joined by their parents, teachers, and teaching artists — including Silkroad Ensemble members Shane Shanahan and Hadi Eldebek — these NYC sixth graders were marking the culmination of Silkroad Connect at JHS 185, Silkroad’s longest-running education partnership.

Silkroad Connect began in 2009 as a program administered by Silkroad in partnership with the New York City public schools; today, it continues at JHS 185 under the direct leadership of the school, with support and guidance from Silkroad. The program empowers students and educators to find unexpected connections across disciplines and cultures through curiosity, play, and collaboration. Earlier this year, Silkroad published a program guide to share insights, challenges, and success that emerged over the course of Silkroad Connect’s evolution.

“I loved Silk Road Connect. I loved the artists and how they tricked us into learning.” — Silkroad Connect 6th Grade Student

This summer, Silkroad will give an in-depth look at the program during our annual summer institute, The Arts and Passion-Driven Learning. We have seen how the arts can provide unique opportunities for critical thinking, expression, and collaboration; we hope this guide will inspire educators and teaching artists to deepen learning through the arts in their own schools and communities.

If you are a classroom teacher, arts specialist, school administrator, or teaching artist, join us this August to explore the vital role passion plays in learning. Apply now.