"The teacher of Theatre can be the loneliest position in a school; nobody quite knows what you do, nobody else is doing it, there is no one to bounce ideas off of. This organization gives a chance to share in a community; a well of fellow professionals with whom to collaborate and share ideas."
Jeff Davis,
Director of High School Theater program

The National Association of Theater Arts Educators (NATAE)

Theater arts educators constitute a drastically underserved professional community. Because they haven't coalesced as a group into a formal organization they don't have support of networks, they can't learn from one another and it's often difficult to develop sound ways to advocate for their programs. Therefore, school boards, administrations, and academic colleagues may not fully appreciate the significant academic and psycho-social benefits achieved by students who participate in theater arts programs. The goal of the National Association of Theater Arts Educators is to help members elevate their professional identity and ability to maximize their students' educational potential.

What is the mission of NATAE?

"The mission of the National Association of Theater Arts Educators is to support, develop, and strengthen the professionalism of the field of theater arts and its members with the purpose of ensuring that students reap a comprehensive range of academic and psychosocial benefits as a result of participating in school-based theater arts programs."

How did NATAE get started?

Arts Across America offers a comprehensive workshop, Enhancing Academic Performance through Theater Arts, to school administrators and teachers. Since 2005, the workshop has been conducted for hundreds of educators in various locations throughout the northeast United States. It has been extremely well received; workshop participants have gone back to their schools ready and able to build theater arts programs or strengthen and enhance their existing ones. Workshop participants, however, expressed frustration at not feeling connected to their field. They feel professionally hampered because of a lack of a formal organization which would enable them to interact with and learn from colleagues. We have heard the need, a resounding call, for a formal, strong and organized resource for these educators.

Why is there a need for a professional association?

Often, theater arts educators are the only teachers in their schools without easy access to colleagues in their field. They develop curricula without meaningful opportunities to consult other theater arts educators. They do not have easy access to the full body of research which identifies the academic and social benefits for students who participate in their programs. As such, building support for their programs is challenging. As a result, they may find themselves competing at a disadvantage for space and time in their schools. Professional development activities are not as available to theater arts educators as they are to teachers in other academic disciplines. Career opportunities in the field are not disseminated from a single reliable source. And perhaps most significantly, educators of theater arts have few opportunities to network with one another. Teachers in other academic disciplines do not function in such a professionally isolated manner. NATAE has been developed to fill this void and will provide theater arts educators with an organization dedicated to satisfying their professional needs.

Who is behind the inception and development of NATAE?

NATAE is a grass roots organization. The advisory board consists of theater arts educators and professionals in related fields. We serve all theater arts educators at every level.

What makes NATAE unique?

We have designed a wide-ranging approach to allow theater arts educators to obtain support in many areas, including:

professional networking
program advocacy
career opportunities
curriculum design
teaching strategies
resource sharing
professional development
access to research identifying the academic and psychosocial benefits to students
program support strategies
selection of performance material
program design and program enhancement

Who should join NATAE?

Educators in all fields who use theater arts to provide students with the best possible academic experience are invited to become part of this association. From full-time teachers and program administrators to directors of after-school programs and everyone in between, all will benefit from membership.

When will it launch?

NATAE is projected to launch in 2008.

What are the membership fees?

Arts Across America is a non-profit organization and operates with the commitment to make membership available to all educators with an interest in belonging to a professional community. Therefore, membership fees are projected to be modest and affordable. Actual fees will be established closer to launch.

What are the benefits of membership?

The association will provide a comprehensive range of resources and benefits to achieve this goal:

a bi-monthly newsletter updating teachers on the research that is being conducted throughout the country as well as innovations in the field

a professional journal with articles ranging from scholarly works identifying the impact of arts on student development to practical applications

an annual conference with educational activities for members as well as networking opportunities to advance the discipline; regional conferences and more local networking opportunities are also under development

scholarships to students and programs based on criteria related to economic need, special achievement, program development and other criteria consistent with the mission of the association

recognition programs honoring educators for noteworthy contributions, for example, by developing and instituting a unique or innovative approach to teaching and incorporating theater arts in their school's curriculum

significant opportunities for networking

lists of career opportunities and job vacancies in the field of theater arts education

How can I get involved in NATAE prior to the launch?

Over the course of the development of NATAE we will be looking for contributors of journal articles, anecdotes for our newsletter, presenters and speakers for our conference, as well as committee participants for our various services, activities and benefits. If you would like to be involved please contact us.

How can I contact NATAE?

by phone 732-723-2330
by fax 732-723-2798
by email amy@artsacrossamerica.com
by snail mail 35 Buffalo Run, East Brunswick, NJ 08816
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