The Right Brain Initiative


Reflections at the end of the school year.

June 6th, 2014 by Right Brain Team


Right Brain Professional Development Partner Deb Brzoska (standing), leads educators through the protocol for reviewing and responding to student work at Spring Colloquium.

Each Spring, we convene teachers, principals, and teaching artists to reflect on their Right Brain programming through the eyes of a child. Throughout the Right Brain artist residency, teachers collect evidence of one student’s experience in the form of photographs, video and audio clips. A mixed group of educators from different schools will then sit down together to review that evidence and talk about how this work impacted that child.

It’s a program we call Spring Colloquium and to say that the experience is powerful is an understatement. As teaching teams present, you see before you what ingredients make a strong arts learning experience, you see the value of teacher and artist collaboration, and the power of the arts to feed kids’ brains and hit them to the core. We’ve made posts about Colloquium before and I encourage you to check out this reflection from our 2013 session.


School staff and teaching artists focus on one child’s experience with Right Brain, and then identify the impact of the program on their life and learning.

This year, Portland State University student Jake Turner was able to sit in as four different sets of educators told their Right Brain story. Here are his reflections:

“I was lucky to volunteer as a technology facilitator (slideshow operator) at The Right Brain Initiative’s Colloquium on May 22nd, an event showcasing the work that has been put into their artists’ residencies in the past year. Each pairing of teacher and teaching artist presented the transformation of one child who participated in the artist’s residency program. Those in attendance at the Colloquium got a chance to see testimonials from students who had gained a stronger understanding of their own context in history, their own capability to instigate positive change, and the best ways to effectively communicate within a group. Those are all things that I had to discover for myself and I definitely didn’t discover them in any public education setting available to me, yet they are lessons that I wish I knew better, concepts that I now think are vital for the continued growth of a healthy community.



Teachers and teaching artists from different schools and districts respond to the residency documentation.


Right Brain is a new kind of education, an arts-integrated, personalized, empowering kind of education that I wish I had had access to as a child.

From what I saw at the Colloquium, every student gains an empowering education through The Right Brain Initiative’s residency programs because Right Brain seeks to give students the education that they individually need.”



Right Brain Team