Arizona Education Association

Fall 2015

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AEA Advocate | Fall 2015 25 WE ARE AEA! • WE ARE AEA! • WE ARE AEA! • WE ARE AEA! Nogales Member wins County Teacher of the Year Award ways to stop exclusion. The students then learned how to recognize situations of purposeful isolation and were trained on how to respond and become allies." After this training concluded, students were mentally ready to collaborate on how the mural should look. Each student spoke freely and discussed proposals; they decided the mural should include people, which is more challenging to create according to Kohlenberg. After a consensus vote, "I then taught them proportion," Kohlenberg shared, "and then each drew four people incorporating a club, ethnicity, interest, or a combination." From those samples, the group of subjects was selected; digital techniques were used to add the 42 young people together. Kohlenberg talks about the detail and thought put into each subject, and one art student shared, "I was trying the make her (subject) look Hispanic and that she liked anime; she is cute and I decided to add the trans logo on her sash so that other transgender students would feel welcome here as a student too." Another commented how she included different races, a marching band kid, and a student in wheel chair with a club shirt on. Empathy for diversity was created by the whole process and Kohlenberg stated, "The impact is clear; my students are able to express their ideas in a group forum, critically think, embrace other's ideas, and are inclusive." After the acrylic mural's completion, students, parents, and teacher have commented positively while some students say, "that's me…I am that student." This art communicates social values and also changes and shapes them. Kohlenberg explains, "Our mural by our inclusive representation, works to create positive social change, build community and school unity and acceptance. This (mural) is going to be here and people are going to be looking at this for generations." Tanya Kohlenberg has been teaching art for 20 years and has created patriotic and science focused classroom murals at her site as well as school spirit murals in an elementary school. She recently submitted her NBC entries for a second renewal and is active in her local association attending school board meetings and advocating within her community for improved school budget funding. Originally from New York and a graduate Tufts University in Massachusetts, Tanya Kohlenberg is a Gilbert resident who often has guest artists into her classroom to share their expertise. Her students have won numerous art awards over the years and have artwork currently hanging in the Arizona State Board of Education's boardroom. This is Kohlenberg's 18th year at Highland High School. Congratulations to Maritza cervantes on receiving the santa Cruz County Teacher of the Year award during a celebration hosted by the santa Cruz County superintendent of schools and the Nogales Rotary Club this past summer. Cervantes is a teacher at A.J. Mitchell Elementary school and has been in the district for over two decades. The Professional Educators of Nogales member was selected from 20 finalists by a committee and honored a ceremony at the Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico. AEA member and Arizona House of Representative Chris Ackerley was a guest speaker at the event. "I look forward to helping students," Cervantes said in her acceptance speech. "Helping students be successful, as successful as they can be, and making sure that they know that everyone can succeed." Photo Credit: Norma Gonzalez, Nogales International.

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