Kris Holsen, Birch Grove School for the Arts’ drama teacher, was recently invited to be part of a national professional learning community called the Connected Arts Network (CAN). A professional learning community, or PLC, is a collaborative, professional network of teachers interested in improving their teaching practice and enhancing student learning.
Holsen has been Birch Grove’s drama specialist since 2008. She grew up creating, performing and watching her grandparents in community theater shows, and her love for the arts stuck with her. She received her undergraduate degree in theater and art, then began graduate school for scene design before shifting career goals.
“I realized that it was the people, the learning and the working with others to create, that made me most happy in the arts,” Holsen said. “That’s when I realized educational theater was, and always had been, my home.”
Holsen changed her graduate degree focus to a master of arts in teaching, then taught middle and high school art, art history and theater before coming to Birch Grove.
As the only elementary drama teacher in the district, Holsen said the opportunity to be part of CAN gives her an important avenue to work with and learn from people across the country who do her same job.
“Birch Grove has an amazing team of arts colleagues who have been our own PLC and try to find ways to connect what we do, even if none of us teach the same arts area,” she said. “I’m hoping the connections I make through CAN will benefit us all.”