VSA is Massachusetts' go-to organization for training in how to provide opportunities for students with and without disabilities in the arts. VSA is part of an international network of VSA organizations serving 35 states and over 50 other countries. VSA is affiliated with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Originally known as the National Committee Arts for the Handicapped and formerly named Very Special Arts, VSA arts changed its name in 1999, eliminating the use of the word "special" to honor the progress made by members of the disability community since the organization's inception. The letters VSA now reflect the Vision of an inclusive community, Strength in shared resources and Artistic expression that unite us all.
DeAnna Pellecchia consults with VSA Massachusetts as a teaching artist, designing new curriculum for arts integrated education to support learning and inclusion in Boston Public Schools. DeAnna helped to create professional development curriculum for VSA's COOL Workshop, MOVING THE STANDARD: A Kinestetic Approach to Learning for Students of All Abilities. Participants learn the guiding principals and foundation behind the effective use of creative movement and kinesthetic learning in an inclusive interdisciplinary model of curriculum. Addressing ELA Common Core State Standards, Boston Public School teachers learn how to integrate dance/movement vocabulary into their classroom to stimulate the writing and interpretation of original poems, bringing similes alive through movement.
The COOL model creates classrooms where students and teachers have a Creative Outlook on Learning. Through the arts students have a variety of ways to experience academic content, express what they know, and engage in learning. The model engages students and teachers through the arts to transform schools into inclusive communities.