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George Street Playhouse Receives NEH CARES Act Economic Stabilization Grant

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George Street Playhouse Receives NEH CARES Act Economic Stabilization Grant

George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ has received a CARES Act economic stabilization grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create the Digital Humanities Teaching Institute--a virtual professional development program for K-12 humanities teachers. This grant supports essential operations at more than 300 cultural institutions across the country, and GSP is one of five theatres in the nation that received this award.

Offered at no cost to participants, GSP's Digital Humanities Teaching Institute was envisioned in response to the new instructional realities presented by Covid-19 school closures. Focusing on developing high-quality distance and blended learning instructional models to serve the diverse needs and circumstances of K-12 students, the Digital Humanities Teaching Institute will provide up to 50 teachers with the technical knowledge, tools and arts integration strategies to effectively engage and assess student learning.

"We are all linked together by stories--and as a cultural organization whose mission is to tell the stories of our time, George Street Playhouse is grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities for this extraordinary opportunity to advance the humanities during this national crisis. GSP's Digital Humanities Teaching Institute will provide teachers with dynamic, cost-free professional development to create exceptional digital instruction for their students," says Jim Jack, Director of Education and Community Artistic Programming. "Designed to provide economic assistance to and preserve jobs, this grant enables GSP to continue to employ staff and teaching artists who would otherwise have been furloughed during this time."

"The CARES Act Grant is a visionary program that reflects the NEH's understanding of the moment we are facing as a country", said Dr. Adele T. Macula, a member of George Street's Board of Trustees and chair of the Education Committee. "GSP is fortunate to have the opportunity, through this grant, to see the transformative Arts Integration work of our Education Department and Teaching Artists continue in a way that is responsive to today's challenges with the creation of the Digital Humanities Teaching Institute."

GSP's Digital Humanities Teaching Institute will feature:

· Workshops and videos designed for teachers to understand how to use digital technology for effective instruction, assessment, and engagement.

· Creative, arts integration strategies to strengthen lesson impact using arts integration methodologies

· Approaches to effectively design and integrate SEL (Social Emotional Learning) into digital units of study

· Ongoing professional development through December 2020 to support new instructional needs and challenges for classroom teachers

· The development of humanities digital units of study for elementary, middle and high school classes that can be customized for educators. These resources will be available free to educators in New Jersey and throughout the country

George Street Playhouse's Artist-in-Residence program annually serves 150 classroom teachers and more than 3,500 students across New Jersey. Anchored in humanities-based instruction, students research the lives and circumstances of individuals and groups wrestling with the complex and conflicting issues of their time.

GSP responded to Covid-19 school closures by shifting all Artist-in-Residence programming in K-12 schools to digital instruction. Using innovative theatre arts integration strategies, GSP teaching artists have effectively used a variety of digital platforms, including Google Classroom, Flipgrid, Edpuzzle, TikTok to create original plays and musicals with students. This spring, by engaging humanities-based instruction through digital theatre arts integration, teachers found significant improvement in student engagement, understanding and social emotional development.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. The NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.

NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars. The grants:

· strengthen teaching and learning in schools and colleges

· facilitate research and original scholarship

· provide opportunities for lifelong learning

· preserve and provide access to cultural and educational resources

· strengthen the institutional base of the humanities

Since 1965, the Endowment has opened new worlds of learning for the American public with noteworthy projects such as:

· Seven thousand books, 16 of which have won Pulitzer Prizes, and 20 of which have received the Bancroft Prize

· The Civil War, the landmark documentary by Ken Burns viewed by 38 million Americans

· The Library of America editions of novels, essays and poems celebrating America's literary heritage

· The United States Newspaper Project, which cataloged and microfilmed 63.3 million pages of historic newspapers, paved the way for the National Digital Newspaper Program and its digital repository, Chronicling America

· Annual support for 56 states and territories to help support some 56,000 lectures, discussions, exhibitions, and other programs each year

Photo Credit: Brad Resnick

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