Young Audiences shares the joy of SALA!

For the first time in our history, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, visited a Young Audiences program to experience arts-integrated learning! Secretary Cardona came to our Summer Arts & Learning Academy (SALA) site at Graceland Park Elementary/Middle School to unveil his national plan to reopen schools.

After visiting our classrooms, he shared that “SALA in Spanish means living room. Living rooms are where families come and they grow together. That’s what I saw here today.” In addition to Secretary Cardona, the Executive Director of the National Summer Learning Association Aaron Dworkin, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, and most of City Schools’ leadership experienced SALA, too. Each person was so enthusiastic about what the program provides to children. Creativity, collaboration, student expression, engagement, and care are infused throughout the Academy, and so are our students’ voices—about their identities, their communities, and how they want to change their communities and the world for the better. Our visitors saw that.

For all of us, this pandemic has taken away so much—whether it be the lives of people we love, our economic security, or the ability to simply live our lives in the ways that keep us healthy. We know that for our teachers, teaching artists, and staff, showing up for SALA was a daily act of love. Anyone who visited the program felt that love through the masks, through the separation that comes with dividing classes into pods, and through the social distancing.

The words of Bettina Love have been guiding the team at Young Audiences this summer: “To love all children we must struggle to create the schools we are taught to believe are impossible, schools built on justice, love, joy, and antiracism.”

We are on a mission to make this a reality for our children and are so grateful for everyone who is on this mission with us — including YOU.

Learn more about Summer Arts & Learning Academy here: yamd.org/programs/summer-arts-academy/.

PS. Could these SALA students have created the next famous TikTok dance? Watch the video and see why Secretary Cardona and Mayor Scott think so!