b'the support of Seth Boyden Principalbasichistoricalandculturalback-ShannonGlanderandVicePrinci- ground of stepping. Capped by a finalFor Your Plumbing & Heating Needspal Sheila Murphy, the PTA appliedperformance in the schools Outdoor for and received a $10,000 Artists inLearning Center, it was clear that theCALL TORO TO THE RESCUE!CALL TORO TO THE RESCUE!Education Residency Grant Programschool community, in perfect unison, (AIE)award,underwritingdaytimehad literally and figuratively stomped,Steam Heating Specialistsplacementofprofessionalartistsinclapped, snapped, and chanted its wayNOW BOOKING!the school for 20 days or more in thethrough the pandemic to a truly inspi- Pre-Season Boiler Start-Ups2020-21schoolyear,thegoalbeingrational experience. Maintenance and Upgradesenhancement of arts education for stu- GiventheunequivocalsuccessofComplete System Evaluationsdents and faculty. theprogram,thePTAagainapplied As it turned out, when the steppingforthegrantsoanothergradelevel program was set to begin for the newcouldshareinthisremarkableop- 973-672-1000school year, students were still learningportunity. And once again, they were remotely. Instead of delaying the pro- awarded a grant, this one covering the gram, the school and the PTA deter- 2021/2022 school year.mined it would continue. They hiredBy now school had returned to in-SoulDefined,aWashingtonMetropersonclasses,andMaxineLylewasRobert is areaartsorganizationspecializinginasked to implement the grant. Ms. Lyle percussivedance,toteachAfricanbelieves deeply that step is a fun, dy-AmericansteppingtoSethBoydennamic entry point for children to learnan Absolutethird graders online. about themselves, experience personal And while children always appreci- growth and expand their worldview. ate the opportunity to move, the tim- As a person of color she believes thatGem.ing could not have been better. Theseitisespeciallyimportantforyoung 8-and9-year-olds,alreadyreelingpeople to see people like me represent-from issues caused by the pandemic,ed in the arts and see us teaching them were more than ready to stop sitting inart. I didnt see that diversity as a child, front of a computer and move. Rose- and I want to change that for the next maryConnell,athird-gradeteachergeneration.at Seth Boyden, and one of the stew- Working predominantly with Seth As first-time ards of the program, explains that theBoydens fifth graders, Ms. Lyle, withhome buyers, physical aspect of stepping allows kidsthe assistance of the fifth grade teach-with a ton of energy to release it in aers, combined sharp and concise per- he listened schoolsetting.Wewerealsotaughtcussivemovementswithhip-hop interesting ways to incorporate kines- rhythms, resulting in an uplifting andto our needs, thetic learning of multiplication andmemorable performance for the school writing using the rhythms and beats. and parent community. itselfisproviding us Sotwiceaweekforeightweeks,Ofcoursethestepping SethBoydenstudentsexploredfun- asighttobehold:over60childrenguidance and damentalstepmovesaswellasthemoving in unison, in perfect rhythm,insight everystep of the way- Dani & IsabelMaxine Lyle, the founder and co-director of Soul Steps, directs Seth Boyden fifth grad-ers as they perform their step routine. Photo credit: Anna Herbst Photography.feature story /29'