Meet Ashley Kitchelt, Summer ’17 UELIP

Ashley_Kitchelt.JPG

DCPS Office: Office of Teaching and Learning, Inner Core
Education: Rising Senior at University of Maryland
Program of Study/Major: Music Education and Vocal Performance
Hometown: Easton, Maryland
I have a passion for teaching and educational policy, and I wanted to dive further into my interests by exploring what goes on behind the scenes of a public school system like DCPS. The UELIP program offered so many different opportunities to learn, engage with the material, and network, so it seemed like the perfect summer choice for me!

I’m on the Arts Team in Inner Core. I’m specifically working with the Turnaround Arts program, which is a transformation program implemented in the District’s lowest performing schools. It provides resources for schools to implement arts integration, create large art projects, etc. to “turnaround” the schools. This summer, I’m helping my supervisor create a larger social media presence for Turnaround Arts: DC by re-vamping the Facebook page, connecting the teachers on social media, etc. I’m also writing a case study for a mural art project recently done by one of the elementary schools, which will be posted on the national Turnaround Arts website.

Every day in DCPS is different! Days when I’m in the office, I’ll check up on the Turnaround Arts: DC Facebook page and maintain it, and then work on whatever the most recent project is (these past couple weeks, it’s been the mural case study.) However, there are so many days when I am out of the office and actually in the schools with my supervisor helping with the mural project, watching the school musical, etc.
Through my social media, I have developed better social media skills and have learned how to better connect using the different social media platforms. I have also developed better communication skills through all of the interactions I have had in this internship thus far.

I have learned how passionate I am about programs like Turnaround Arts, which take the arts and use it to transform schools into better and more successful learning environments. I love programs that use the arts as tools for transformation.
Michelle Obama started the Turnaround Arts program!

Seeing the students at the Turnaround schools I’ve visited is absolutely my favorite part. It’s an amazing feeling to see just how much of an impact this program has had on these students’ school experience. Being at DCPS every day this summer has just made me realize how badly I want to teach! I have a whole year before I graduate and can teach my own students, and I can’t wait for the day that it actually happens; I definitely want to teach music in the future. Eventually, down the line, I would also love to get more involved with educational policy and administrative work. I plan to go to graduate school for education after working in the classroom for several years.

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