Planning and Preparation 2015-2016

Summer 2015: Once funding was acquired, potential schools to implement the artist-in-residency program were identified and UNC-SILS reached out to them to gauge interest and suitability. Schools were chosen with an interest of diversity and inclusivity in mind. Additionally, the interest of the school, its administration, and the librarian was also taken into consideration. Once a school was chosen, UNC-SILS worked with the librarian to create a list of potential artists (or, authors) to bring. UNC-SILS reached out to those authors and chose Matt de la Pena, on the strength of his bibliography and his experience working with a wide range of students.

August 2015: UNC-SILS graduate student began research on any methodology or resources that already existed about implementing artist-in-residency programs in school systems.

September 2015: Contracts for the author were drawn up and signed. The week that the artist-in-residency program would take place was chosen, on the basis of Matt’s availability and the school’s preference. Hotels were booked for his stay and preliminary preparations were made for choosing the location and logistics of the accompanying community lecture.

October 2015: UNC-SILS staff brainstormed what outcomes we hoped to see from the artist-in-residency and potential schedules for the week’s program.

November 2015: UNC-SILS staff met with Mt. Vernon administration, teachers, and librarian(Julie Stivers) to go over our mutual goals, plans, and schedule for the artist-in-residency. It was important that both UNC and Mt. Vernon felt confident and hopeful about the program, as well as having the internal support of the Mt. Vernon educators.

December 2015: UNC-SILS graduate student ordered books from Matt de la Pena’s publisher. Funding covered the purchase of at least one book for every student in Mt. Vernon, several library and classroom sets, and several books for each student who was chosen to participate in the program. Books were chosen by Julie Stivers.  Julie Stivers also chose the participants, on the basis of her and other teacher’s informed opinions, as well as an interest survey that students filled out.

January 2016: UNC-SILS staff met with Durham County Library staff to go over preparation for the community lecture. UNC-SILS graduate student began library teen book club to promote Matt’s books within the community at large. This book club continued through May. Julie Stivers implemented a pre-assessment for the students as well as beginning their preparation for the program, in the form of an elective course centered around reading Matt’s books. Julie Stivers also sent a letter to the parents of participants explaining the program. Julie Stivers and the student writers began social media documentation, which is ongoing. A UNC-required background check on Matt de la Pena, due to his participation with children, was implemented. The background check had to take place within 90 days prior to his visit.

February 2016: Julie and Matt hammered out details for week’s schedule, as well as plans for his involvement in the school’s Career Day. UNC-SILS staff completed preparation for the community lecture: ordering food, floral arrangements, and necessary technical and media equipment. UNC-SILS graduate student created and began building a website to document the process and program as a whole, which is ongoing.

March 2016: March 13–18 2016 was the week of the community lecture and the artist-in-residency. UNC-SILS staff were onsite at Mt. Vernon to observe the program as well as assist Julie Stivers as needed. Julie’s week’s schedule was entirely devoted to assisting the program. For more information about the week’s work, please read our pages about the week in more detail.

April 2016: Julie Stivers implemented a post-assessment of the students following the program. The students kept working on the writings they began during the week with Matt! UNC-SILS staff began writing up the week’s experience on the website.

June 2016: The 8th grade MdlP Writers were recognized for their accomplishments at Mt. Vernon’s graduation ceremony with a certificate presented by Julie Stivers.

Summer 2016: UNC-SILS staff identified a new school for the 2016-17 school year and worked with the librarian to prioritize a list of potential authors to come for next year’s program.