The Right Brain Initiative


‘The students really got it!’ Springdale CAPS’ Right Brain residency with Oregon Ballet Theatre by Kristin Walrod

March 29th, 2013 by Right Brain Team

The Right Brain Initiative is pleased to partner with a brand-new school this year, Corbett Arts Program with Spanish (CAPS) in the historic Springdale building. The staff of this newly-created school chose Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT) as their first Right Brain residency because they were looking to teach students the discipline and perseverance required to create art. Often students stop after their first try, and are either pleased or frustrated, but the CAPS staff recognized the importance of revision and critical thinking in all student work—academic and artistic. As an arts-focused school, they were also eager to discover ways to integrate movement and dance with their curriculum.

Students at CAPS during their Right Brain residency. Photo by Abby Steichen.

Teaching artist Kasandra Gruener of OBT worked closely with the teachers in grades K-8 to create a residency that would meet their content areas while getting at bigger goals and values of creative thinking and creative movement.

One of the teachers referred to the residency as “flawless” in its ability to energize, motivate and inspire his students, boys and girls alike. Teachers complemented Kasandra Gruener’s sessions with poetry writing, critique groups, and a field trip to see Swan Lake.

In the middle school, teacher Aaron Long collaborated with Kasandra Gruener by challenging students to model with movement the electron energy levels of an atom. Their experiment included reflection and Aaron Long said, “Later we explored what parts of the model were accurate and what parts were inaccurate. The students really “got it.” (See a video of this work here.)


The curriculum connections of this residency were plentiful. Students even created a poetic representation of the Gettysburg Address.

Springdale CAPS staff and students embraced their first year with Right Brain and we look forward to partnering with them in the future.

"Thank you, Kasandra!" It's official—Students at CAPS loved working with Oregon Ballet Theatre through The Right Brain Initiative this school year. Photo by Abbie Steichen.


“Thank you for helping me to improve as a teacher and artist and for allowing me the experience of dancing intelligently and artistically with my students. What a joy.”

—Aaron Long, Springdale CAPS, Corbett, middle school teacher, residency with Oregon Ballet Theatre teacher Kasandra Gruener, Jan-Feb 2013.


Kristin Walrod is a Coach with The Right Brain Initiative, facilitating the Right Brain experience with partner schools in Portland, Hillsboro and Corbett. Read more about Kristin and the rest of the Right Brain staff.


Right Brain Team