Arts, Culture, and Humanities

COMMUNITY-WORD PROJECT INC

  • New York, NY
  • www.communitywordproject.org

Mission Statement

Community-Word Project (CWP) is a New York City based arts-in-education organization that inspires children in underserved communities to read, interpret and respond to their world and to become active citizens through collaborative arts residencies and teacher training programs.

Community-Word Project serves students in Title I schools throughout the five New York City boroughs.

Main Programs

  1. Collaborative Arts Residency Program
  2. Teaching Artist Training & Internship Program (TATIP)
  3. Professional Development
Service Areas

Self-reported

New York

Community-Word Project serves New York City public schools, libraries, and community-based organizations in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island.

ruling year

2000

Executive Director

Self-reported

Michele Kotler

Keywords

Self-reported

arts, community building, at risk youth, leadership, teacher training, after school

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EIN

13-4114145

Physical Address

11 Broadway Suite 508

New York, NY 10004

Also Known As

CWP

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

Secondary/High School (B25)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Since the organization's founding in 1997, CWP has reached more than 20,000 youth through the Arts Residency Program. CWP's external evaluations show that students improve their emotional intelligence, critical thinking, literacy, citizenship, and creativity through participation in the program. Community-Word Project helps students learn the literacy skills needed for success in school, their communities, and life. By focusing on multidisciplinary arts education, CWP ensures that students have the power to read, write, interpret their world, and articulate their challenges and successes creatively.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Collaborative Arts Residency Program

Year-long collaborative multi-disciplinary arts residencies for New York City public school elementary and middle school students and after school participants culminating in performances, mural paintings, and publishing anthologies of written work.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

None

Budget

Program 2

Teaching Artist Training & Internship Program (TATIP)

The Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (TATIP) provides a 25-week Teaching Artists' training program, placing trained teaching artists into New York City classrooms. CWP provides additional trainings for advanced teaching artists, helping them to strengthen their skills and learn new teaching tools in preparation for the new school year.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

Adults

General Public/Unspecified

None

Budget

Program 3

Professional Development

CWP's professional development opportunities include workshops for public school teachers, after-school leaders, and youth workers to help them to integrate creativity and community-building exercises into classroom and after-school curricula and programs.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Adults

General Public/Unspecified

None

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Community-Word Project aims to ensure that young people in New York City can envision, invest in, and build a community different from the one failing to meet their needs. The key goals of CWP's residency programs are to:

    -Make the classroom a safe, creative space where each student feels challenged and supported to put ideas forward with confidence and discover the power of working together.

    -Offer multiple ways to engage different kinds of learners, and provide a creative learning environment not often available in our culture of high-stakes testing.

    -Engage highly-trained multidisciplinary teaching artists in New York City school classrooms

    -Provide a sustained experience for students through a 15 to 25 week classroom presence during each school year and a continuing “bridge" of programs throughout their elementary and middle school years.

    -Help NYC's public school students meet the New York State Common Core Standards in English Language Arts for Writing and Literacy.

    -Focus on literacy by bringing a writer alongside another artist into every classroom to ensure that each student practices articulating and expressing their ideas, concerns and aspirations.

    -Promote equal access for students of all learning levels, especially English Language Learners and students with Special Needs.

    - Help youth to individually and collectively articulate and express social justice issues of importance to them.

    -Providing professional development workshops for classroom teachers, after-school leaders, and youth workers to integrate creativity into the classroom and after-school programs.

    By working collaboratively in a safe and positive classroom environment, CWP students learn to think creatively and analytically, embrace differences, solve problems, and confidently share ideas so that they are better prepared to make positive change in their communities and their lives.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    What sets CWP apart from other in-school residency programs is the depth of our commitment to both teachers and students, and our determination to help make a truly lasting difference in the lives of the children we serve.

    -By building community, CWP multi-disciplinary arts residencies make the classroom a safe, creative space where each student is engaged and success can happen. In CWP residencies, the students' individual life challenges and beliefs are central to the learning and creative process. By creating a constructive community with their peers, CWP students put ideas forward with confidence and discover the power of working together.

    -CWP residencies offer multiple ways to engage different kinds of learners, and provide a creative learning environment not often available in our culture of high-stakes testing. Our residencies include creative-writing, visual arts, and performance; these multiple approaches allow students to discover different avenues to make their voices heard, and provide multiple opportunities for them to be successful learners.

    -Collaborative activities—and the interpersonal skills they demand—inspire our students to learn powerful ways to express their stories and learn important life skills—such as teamwork, problem solving, and conflict resolution. CWP is the only arts-in-education organization in New York City that maintains a dual focus on both individual and collaborative creative writing and art-making.

    -Teams of two trained CWP teaching artists work collaboratively with classroom teachers, assisted by two teaching artists-in-training. This 6-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio provides students with the individual attention that they need to succeed.

    -The youth we serve are often coping with instability in their lives. Through our long-term commitment to our partner schools, CWP provides a sustained experience, which gives at-risk students opportunities to create, learn, and grow.

    -Because at-risk children must have teachers who are fully prepared for the opportunities and challenges of working in struggling schools, all of our teaching artists have completed our rigorous teaching artist training program.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Guided by these outcomes, CWP measures a number of indicators of student skills development, using formal observations twice over the course of each residency to ensure that benchmarks towards our student outcomes are being achieved (for example, students are taking leadership roles in collaborative projects, students are listening respectfully to each other's ideas, students understand the importance of revising their work), to assess teaching artists' classroom management and teaching skills, and to give the teaching artists feedback in follow-up meetings.

    Along with the surveys, Community-Word Project uses several other methods to assess the success of our residency program. Before the residency even begins, our evaluation manager administers an initial assessment tool that includes a short written description of an image. The tool is then administered at the end of the residency in order to see how much CWP students have improved in their overall writing techniques. In addition, three times each year, we collect writing samples and evaluate them based on CWP-developed rubrics in order to assess the quality of the work in connection with lesson plan that generated the work.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    1. Students are Leaders:
    -100% of CWP residency classrooms will offer students opportunities students to take leadership roles with regard to the presentation of culminating events
    -75% of CWP students will self-identify as having taken leadership roles during the course of the residency
    -75% of CWP students will self-identify as having been inspired by their peers to make their work stronger during the course of the residency

    2. Emotionally Intelligent Students:
    -75% of CWP students will demonstrate an expanded ability to articulate emotions in their work
    -85% of CWP students will create work that focuses on topics relevant to their lives (including sensitive topics) and explore these personally relevant topics using their authentic point of view
    -100% of CWP residency classrooms will exhibit an increase in students' use of empathy in their creative work

    3. Literate Students:
    -75% of CWP students will demonstrate an expanded ability to articulate emotions in their work
    -75% of CWP students will demonstrate the use of creative devices explored during the residency (such as simile, personification, metaphor, etc.) to enhance the communication of their intended meaning

    4. Students as Critical Thinkers:
    -100% of CWP residency classrooms will exhibit an increase in students' ability to participate in discussion focused on analysis of texts and other works of art, demonstrating an ability to notice specific aspects of the work and offer specific evidence for their opinions about the work
    -100% of CWP residency classrooms will exhibit an increase in students' ability to make use of feedback received from their peers to strengthen their work
    -100% of CWP residency classrooms will exhibit an increase in students' ability to use critical thinking skills to apply to their lives, surroundings and experiences

    5. Student Citizenship:
    -100% of students will contribute to collaborative writing and/or art-making projects
    -80% of CWP students will self-identify as feeling that their creative risks were supported during the course of the residency
    -100% of CWP residency classrooms will exhibit students working together to accomplish collaborative writing and/or art-making projects and culminating events

    6. Culturally Aware Students:
    -100% of CWP residency classrooms demonstrate an increase in students' ability to explore personally relevant topics in their work using authentic point of view
    -100% of CWP residency classrooms demonstrate an increase in students' willingness to make powerful statements about their lives, surroundings and experiences through their work
    -75% of CWP residency classrooms will use the arts as a tool to explore local concerns/issues
    -100% of CWP residency classrooms will exhibit an increase in students' ability to articulate a strong sense of their communities through their work (including their hopes and fears for those communities)
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    1. Students as Leaders: Last year, 84% of students reported that they led or helped lead an activity in their CWP class.

    2. Emotionally Intelligent Students: Last year, 91% of students reported that they learned new ways to express their feelings. 90 percent of students reported that the work they created had meaning or relevance to them or that they got to include what was important in their life.

    3. Literate Students: Last year, 87% of students (3-5 grades) reported that they improved their writing because of the work they did with Community-Word Project.

    4. Students as Critical Thinkers: Last year, 95% of students (3-5 grades) reported that writing poetry in the CWP classes allowed them to use their imagination.

    5. Student Citizenship: Last year, 92% of students reported that the teachers and teaching artists helped them work more effectively in their CWP work.

    6. Culturally Aware Students: Last year, 88% of students (3-5 grades) reported that, because of Community-Word Project, they wrote poems about what was important in their community.

    The evidence we have gathered indicates that students are more engaged in learning, have improved artistic skills and awareness of the arts, have a greater excitement and enthusiasm for the arts, an increased ability to work as a team and assume leadership roles, and a growing sense of community and positive peer relationships after participating in the Arts Residency Program.
Service Areas

Self-reported

New York

Community-Word Project serves New York City public schools, libraries, and community-based organizations in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island.

Social Media

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External Reviews

Source: greatnonprofits.org

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

COMMUNITY WORD PROJECT
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

COMMUNITY-WORD PROJECT INC

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

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  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2015 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
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Executive Director

Michele Kotler

BIO

Michele Kotler, Executive Director, founded Community-Word Project in 1997, for which she won an Echoing Green fellowship. A graduate of the NYC public school system, Ms. Kotler won a scholarship to attend Sarah Lawrence College. She received an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she also taught creative writing. She is a part of the NYC Arts-in-Education Roundtable's Board and The Catalog for Giving. Her poetry has appeared in the anthology, Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds, The Teachers of WritersCorps in Poetry and Prose, Washington Square Review and Painted Bride Quarterly.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Robin Alperstein

Becker, Glynn, Muffly, Chassin & Hosinski LLP

Term: July 2016 - June 2017

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?