Springfield Regional Arts Integration Conference


The Kennedy Center defines arts integration as an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate an understanding of one subject through the use of an art form. It is through this creative process, students can connect evolving objectives in each area of study.

SRAIC attendees will discover foundational arts concepts, teaching strategies, and curricular connections in engaging sessions that dive into music, dance, theater, visual arts, and more. Participatory workshops will make arts integration accessible for everyone and demonstrate how this method can enhance any educator's approach to teaching. This conference is appropriate for teachers, principals, school district administrators, and partnering arts organization staff and teaching artists.

Class Offerings for the 2024 SRAIC  . . .

Jason Nious

The Rhythm of Belonging: Confidence and Teamwork Through Stepping (2nd Grade & Above)

More than ever, creating a cooperative classroom community where students feel they belong and that their voice matters is crucial. The art of stepping creates the perfect context for this to happen. Stepping is a percussive, highly-energetic art form where the body becomes an instrument to produce complex rhythms. In this session participants work with Jason Nious, performer with Cirque du Soleil, Stomp, Molodi, and the International Body Music Festival. Experience for yourself how seamless the elements of teamwork such as nonverbal communication, leading/following, and creative problem-solving are integrated and embedded in the creative process of stepping. Get ready to stomp, clap, and get on beat as you see how to create a dynamic and cooperative step team in your classrooms while reinforcing social and emotional learning. 

Jason Nious

Jason is a performing artist and creative director whose background with high school step teams and NCAA gymnastics launched his life-long love for the arts.

Jason has traveled and performed extensively with Cirque du Soleil, Step Afrika, Stomp, and the International Body Music Festival. He’s created award-winning choreography and worked as a cultural ambassador with the U.S. Embassy in Africa, South America, and Central America. He worked as assistant choreographer, dancer, and stunt double for the film Stomp The Yard: Homecoming, and has performed in dozens of regional theatre productions and films throughout his career. Highlights include performing at Radio City Music Hall, The Kennedy Center, Kremlin Palace, and the Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan.

As the founder and director of Molodi, an award-winning body percussion ensemble based in Las Vegas, NV, Jason designs new touring productions and facilitates Molodi’s arts education program, reaching over 20,000 students per year. He is an Artist-In-Residence with the International Museum of Dance, a board member of the LAB LV Theatre Company, and he serves as an arts integration consultant with Focus 5, Inc. Jason received his BA in Theatre from the University of New Mexico.

Lorena Cervantes

Reaching English Learners: Building Vocabulary in Science and Social Studies through Creative Movement

Creative movement facilitates a multisensory way of acquiring new vocabulary that is particularly beneficial for language learners. Through repetition and movement, students can kinesthetically express their comprehension of key concepts and build more profound and meaningful connections to the curriculum.

Lorena Cervantes

Lorena Cervantes has been the Dance Integration teacher at Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences in the Washington DC area for over a decade. She is also a national workshop leader for The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and a professional dancer.

Lorena was born and raised in Costa Rica where she began her professional career as a dancer, was a professor of dance at the National University of Costa Rica, and the director of the National Dance Company. She moved to the Washington, D.C. area in the 1980s and received her MFA in dance from George Washington University. For more than fifteen years Lorena was a Master Artist for the Wolf Trap Institute Early Learning through the Arts program where she led residencies and professional development workshops throughout the United States as well as other countries.

Ms. Cervantes was the 2017 recipient of the Hispanic Teacher of the Year award and the 2018 recipient of the Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation for Fairfax County Public Schools.

Paige Whelan

Tenacity is a Superpower - Digital Art as a Tool for Encouraging Problem Solving

What do your students do when they face a challenge? Do they give up and get stuck? Maybe they don’t even try? Entice them to unlearn this helplessness by using what they love – technology. In this session, learn how students can create animations by building a series of PowerPoint or Google slides. The process is exciting and challenging, which engages students as they learn to tolerate struggle, persist, and overcome obstacles as a team. Join Paige Whelan to explore technology as a way to create a collaborative community of problem-solvers who know how to get…unstuck.

Paige Whelan

Paige Whelan is a problem solver.

She grew up watching her father tinker with half-built computers in the garage. He often pulled her away from rollerskating to help him with any task that required extra hands. They found new ways to accomplish goals when the first (or second) idea failed.

Paige brought that problem-solving experience to her twenty year career in education. She taught preschool in Boston and then fifth grade at a Title I Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) school in Arlington, Virginia. Paige was named Teacher of the Year and became the school’s technology and arts integration specialist, designing and launching an arts-integrated technology program for the students and mentoring their teachers. She created a similar program for a middle school in her home state of California. Since then, she moved to Boise and travels as a teaching artist with the occasional return to classroom teaching to learn about current educational challenges firsthand.

Paige earned her BA in Psychology from UC Davis and a Master’s in Educational Technology Leadership from Lamar University. She is a National Board Certified Teacher who is also endorsed on the John F. Kennedy Center’s National Roster of Teaching Artists.

Beyond education, Paige troubleshoots family life with her husband and two kids, occasionally making time for yoga or mediocre tap dancing.

Kassie Misiewicz

Tiny Toy Tales: Deepening Literacy Through Storytelling

For Teachers of Grades K-2 Tired of the same old read alouds? Ready to put the arts back into language arts? Tiny Toy Tales are well-known books that have been adapted for storytelling and integrate multiple curricular objectives.  Stories come alive as they are told using tiny toys and props.  In this workshop, participants will observe a Tiny Toy Tale, receive the materials to make their own, and have time to assemble it! Kassie Misiewicz, drama educator, leads this workshop that is sure to bring excitement and participation to your language arts curriculum.

Kassie Misiewicz

Kassie is a professional Theatre for Youth director, actor and John F. Kennedy Center National Teaching Artist. She received her Masters of Fine Arts degree in Theatre for Young Audiences from the Arizona State University and her BA in Theatre from the University of Notre Dame.

Kassie is the Artistic Director and founder of Trike Theatre: Northwest Arkansas’ professional theatre for youth and families. For the past 15 years, she has been implementing arts integration residencies with PreK-8th grade students, coaching teachers, training teaching artists and building cooperative, creative, kinesthetic classrooms wherever she goes.

Kassie lives in Bentonville, Arkansas and loves to travel with her family: Dan (husband), Maeve (18) and Rowan (16) and have spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen.

Plotting Points & Portaits Description

Creative Flow - Increasing Reading Fluency through the Arts

An axis in mathematics is defined as a line that is used to make or mark measurements. Through the creation of a self-portrait, participants will explore plotting points on the X and Y axes.

Participants will explore techniques grounded in brain research to foster reading skills, specifically in the area of fluency. As with any vocal training (singing, acting, learning a foreign language) it is necessary that the learner hear their own voice to be able to make adjustments in pitch, clarity, tempo and expression.

Studio Habits of Mind

Speak the Speech

Studio Thinking is a framework designed by practitioners at Project Zero (the research arm of Harvard’s School of Education). Out of the Studio Thinking framework comes the Studio Habits of Mind, a set of eight dispositions that an artist uses. Participants will examine how the framework is used inside and outside of schools in curriculum planning, teaching, and assessment across arts and non-arts disciplines.

Participants will improve public speaking skills to help students command their next classroom presentation. Work with a stage actor to build confidence, develop authentic presence, and manage nerves through breath, voice, posture, and gesture exercises. Learn to adapt your voice and physical presence to engage authentically and influence groups.

The 2024 SRAIC Keynote Speaker 



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