Archive for July, 2013

IRT: Education and Support for Theater Artists

IRT Westside Experiment

IRT Westside Experiment

In the old Archive Building in Greenwich Village is a place where independent theater is being nurtured, and new, budding performers are supported. IRT is a grassroots laboratory, giving space and opportunity to the upcoming generation of artists in New York City.

IRT Theater was launched in 2007 with the goals of giving student artists a chance to work with professionals and to offer development and performance opportunities for deaf artists and audiences. Currently IRT has two main missions: the first is to support and encourage independent artists including those who are deaf. The second, established in 2012, is the Westside Experiment, which is designed to nurture the upcoming generation of theater artists through its educational program. The Experiment is a teen acting laboratory that matches students with working theater artists so they can learn about their craft while also creating original theater art at IRT.

Teens from grades 6 to 12 can participate in the Young Actor’s Laboratory, which has two sessions this summer: Session 1: July 8-21 and Session 2: July 22-August 4. The cost is $600 per session with tuition assistance available for qualified applicants. For more information call IRT at: 212-206-6875. IRT is located at 154 Christopher St., buzzer 3B.

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Charter Schools In New York

Charter Schools have become quite the buzz around New York. It’s interesting to learn about these schools and to find out more information about what’s going on in our area.

Carl C. Icahn founded and funds the Foundation for a Greater Opportunity.  In 2000, together with the CEI-PEA, the foundation applied to SUNY’s Charter Schools Institute to open a charter elementary school in the South Bronx. By September 2001, the school was opened for grades K-2, serving 108 students.  Since then a grade has been added every year and in 2008 a middle school building opened for grades 5 to 8.  Today the school is called the Icahn Charter School 1.

It was discovered by the Tennessee Class-Size Study that small classes in early grades have long-term benefits.  Thus the school program is based on this model.  Once it was seen how much the students achieved, the program expanded through middle school.  Today the foundation is using this success to open an additional three schools in the Bronx, known as Icahn 2, Icahn 3, and Icahn 4.

The reason Carl C. Icahn established this foundation was to “improve education in New York city.”  His aim is to show how any child can learn, as long as they are in a “rigorous academic program,” i.e., given the right opportunities.  Icahn firmly believes it is charter schools that are the route to improving education in the public sphere.

Sitting on the Icahn Charter Schools board are: educational, health and business leaders.  Jeffrey Litt was hired in 2001 to become the first principal of the formerly named, Carl C. Icahn Charter school.  Litt brings experience from being a principal of the New York City Board of Education.  Today he is the Superintendent of all the Icahn Charter Schools.

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