Spare Parts Helps Students Get Their Art On At Harlandale ISD STREAM Summer Program

Spare Parts was thrilled to participate in Harlandale ISD’s STREAM program during June and July this summer. Seven Spare Parts instructors hosted art programs at four campuses, all with a focus on reuse in art education. Omar Leos, the Fine Arts Coordinator for HISD says that the main goal of the program, “…is to have enrichment activities that focus on STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). The benefits are numerous, but we want students to get excited about learning and take what they learn in the summer and apply it during the regular school year. We want them to know that all these subjects are related and tied to one another.”

The summer program originally began as a two-week Robotics camp in 2014. Harlandale ISD STEM & GT Coordinator, Anthony Khosravi, describes how the next summer they went on to establish a STEM Pipeline provided STEM-related instruction and after-school opportunities for all students interested in a STEM career or degree. Recognizing the need for a more well-rounded program, the STEM/GT department offered their first STREAM camp at Morrill Elementary School in 2015. “A little over 250 elementary students were part of the first STREAM camp,” says Khosravi. “The second STREAM summer camp was at Stonewall Elementary School, and Leal Middle School, as we began working with middle school students, and our program steadily grew to over 350 students the second year in 2016.”

This summer, the STREAM summer program expanded to six elementary schools, one middle school campus and the STEM Early College High School campus. Nearly 600 students attended the STREAM program, with 100 staff members supporting as teachers, assistants and clerical staff.

“This summer’s expansion was made possible through a district grant which was awarded to eight campuses within the district,” says Khosravi. The TEXAS ACE grant, administered by the Texas Education Agency and funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, was awarded to these campuses participating in the program.

The overarching goal of the Texas ACE program is to foster each student’s academic success by improving attendance, behavior and academics which lead to grade level promotion, graduation and helping students be more prepared for college and the workplace. The grant was specifically intended to help provide enrichment during non-school hours, which is imperative during the three-month hiatus from academics during the summer. While the summer program ended in July, Texas ACE will continue to provide after-school education designed to enrich student academic success on each campus.

Omar Leos oversaw the fine arts enrichment activities at all campuses, including arts workshops hosted by Spare Parts instructors. 

Some of the highlights of the program included karate, yoga, ballet, visual art, coding, robotics, xylophone and ukulele lessons. At one campus, students even worked on a musical rendition called, “Disney’s The Lion King Kids.”

To prepare for their visual arts workshops, Spare Parts instructors made a trip up to the Austin Creative Reuse Center, bringing back a van full of preloved supplies to share with the students. The instructors hit the ground rolling with students that same week.

At Adams elementary instructors Amy Jones, Amy Johnson, Gabriela Santiago and Kara Michele Salinas led students in creating an Art-A-Zon with a recycled cardboard jungle, ocean diorama binders, giant creatures, and cardboard robots.

Daniel Flores helped students at Terrell Wells Middle School create moving art with dry erase markers, 3D sculptures and bubble blowers, leftover coffee paint, floating chalk prints, fingerprint portraits, and pop art sculptures.

Junye Butler led students in creating mini box sculptures, owl paintings, yarn string balls, art inspired by music, salt dough sculptures and more at Stonewall/Flanders Elementary.

At Collier Elementary, students created a number of projects including bird mobiles, cork sailboats, recycled sea creatures, space collages, and much, much more with Dezarre Boone.

Kara Salinas, who taught in July at Adams elementary, created her lessons and project ideas in May and June. “But [I] followed closely the progress of all the schools [as the other instructors taught]. I really did not want to revisit a technique or project by accident when it was my turn to teach. I used cardboard as did the other teachers. I wanted to focus teaching the process to change the cardboard, and create items that were not immediately recognized as cardboard, Salinas said. “Teaching for the STREAM program really forced me to create lessons that were part of a bigger concept like structure, vocabulary, or modeling the color spectrum. This program was not a summer of craft making. I am thoroughly impressed by the knowledge of the participating students, and their willingness to work together. I learned a lot from the students participating in STREAM. I will never forget this experience.”

Throughout the camp, Spare Parts made it a point to emphasize the importance of reuse to the students. And although it took some habit breaking leading kids away from the garbage bin, it was inspiring to see how the students ran with the ideas given to them.

Guest Post: Meet The V.I.P. Committee

Laura Carter_spare parts guest blogger
Laura Carter, Communications Director Providence Catholic School

If you were to ask me why the spare parts inaugural fundraiser–V.I.P. (Very Important Party)–is the ‘must attend’ party of the year, I would have to say it has a great deal to do with the event committee. Each committee member is working with great enthusiasm to create an event which will be fun, educational and inspiring! This diverse group has a common passion that drives them to contribute time, energy and funds, to support Ms. Cantu and spare parts. So, without further ado, may I introduce some of our V.I.P. committee:

Carla Berryman: Fourth grade teacher at St. Paul Catholic School, wife and mother of two boys Gunner 19 and Logan 22.
“I got involved with spare parts out of a necessity to find cheap/free supplies for my classroom as well as school. My room has become the “wal-mart” of the school. Teachers seek me out first for supplies before going anywhere else. I believe that the spare parts motto of our Art Club: “All we have is All we need,” is something we should take very seriously. I have also been involved with spare parts long enough to see materials cycle back around. I find that really super cool!”

Giovanna Carrola: Artist/photographer, Art Educator at Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children, mom to two AwEsoMe! teenage daughters and married to Frank.
“I became involved with Mary Cantu and spare parts when I responded to a request for volunteers to help them move from one location to another (after the first teacher giveaway). I have been around since! I offered to help spare parts because it is an organization which I believe in. The mission to reduce/reuse/recycle is important to me, not only as an art teacher, but also as a parent and person on this earth! I am so proud of Mary Cantu and her efforts in this movement…she is on to something B I G!!”

V.I.P. committee members: Diane Dixon, Shirlene Harris, David Frank, Jennifer Herrera & Kelly Schaub
V.I.P. committee members: Diana Dixon, Shirlene Harris, David Frank, Jennifer Herrera & Kelly Schaub

Laura Carter: Day job-Communication Director Providence Catholic School. Otherwise engaged as nonprofit advocate and blogger. Married to Richard Irons, Pastry Professional, mother and grandmother.
“I became involved with spare parts because I see it as a combination of essential elements I believe very important to our community–education, art and environment. Mary is doing an amazing job with growing the program’s outreach. I enjoy the mix of people and ideas, and learning how to be a reuse crafter–a real stretch for me!”

Diana Dixon: Advertising Design student at the International Academy of Design & Technology (IADT).
“I was a student of Mary’s and found out about spare parts during my classes with her. This term, I chose a hands-on project with spare parts for my project management class. I fell in love with the organization, and am now volunteering for spare parts for more than just a grade in school. I love that spare parts has an annual giveaway where teachers get materials for free to use in their classrooms–materials that they would otherwise have to pay for out of pocket since so many school budgets for the arts have been cut.”

Samantha G. Guerra: Admin Assistant in Bexar Co. Probate Court 2, face painter, blessed to be “Mom” to two beautiful teenage girls and “Wife/Friend” for 25 years to a really great guy.
“My involvement with spare parts is very new and quite fortuitous. I believe a life without art, imagination, giving and caring is lacking. Mary’s vision and mission reflect these important life components and enriches all who are fortunate to participate with and benefit from spare parts.”

V.I.P. committee members: Pak Leung Lai, Lorena Alvarez, Dezarre Boone, Giovanna Carrola, Sarah Dunckel & Deborah Mireles
V.I.P. committee members: Pak Leung Lai, Lorena Alvarez, Dezarre Boone, Giovanna Carrola, Sarah Dunckel & Deborah Foster-Mireles

Deborah Foster-Mireles: Day job-Accounting Tech II at Baptist Child & Family Services.
“I became involved with spare parts in September of this year through my daughter (who is a student at IADT) which is assisting with spare parts projects. I find spare parts to be a great and exciting organization working toward improving our community and it’s environment by its reuse practices, teachings and sharing. Everyone works very well together sharing their thoughts and ideas. Way to go Team, Keep up the great work!”

David B. Frank: Social entrepreneur, media and marketing creative, arts education advocate, dedicated father and friend. Founder of ArtGives.Org and Say It With Photos, LLC.
“I was fortunate enough to have met Mary Cantu when spare parts was first born. Mary has the passion, vision, dedication and determination necessary to develop spare parts into a strong community resource. ArtGives.Org and our team of media and marketing partners will continue to provide support for spare parts because their programs are important to the well-being of the entire community.”

Jennifer Herrera: KLRN Community & Media Engagement Manager.
“I enjoy volunteering with nonprofit organizations such as Gemini Ink. Through the power of social media, I followed Mary Elizabeth and discovered spare parts. Mary’s passion and drive led me to become involved in the group, while also learning about being more resourceful with everyday materials.”

Lori Schnedler: Works in the finance department for the Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency in downtown San Antonio.
“I also help to coordinate our hotels’ Green Teams and environmental programs. I was looking for a green project to do with the children of our associates at our annual holiday party, and after searching the internet, I found Mary and spare parts. I immediately felt connected to her purpose and mission and I quickly became a supporter. I am committed to helping in whatever way I can to further her efforts and grow her organization into the success I know it can be!”

V.I.P. committee members: Marty Taglauer,  Lori Schnedler, Jeanne Cantu, Laura Carter & Samantha Guerra
V.I.P. committee members: Marty Taglauer, Lori Schnedler, Jeanne Cantu, Laura Carter & Samantha Guerra

Jeanne Cantu: A retired educator who is a firm believer in reusing which leads to saving money and reducing landfill waste.
“Classroom teachers spend so much of their own money to provide resources for their students’ projects. Spare parts offers teachers a way to acquire materials for free. Jeanne is the daughter of who she believes is the original ‘reuser queen.’ My 96 year old mother has practically zero waste. Reusing is possible and necessary for us all.”