Sara Gascho

OMA (Opening Minds through the Arts) brings the arts to students through collaboration with classroom teachers and reinforces what the students are already learning. By presenting classroom material with a different approach, students may learn in a way that is more meaningful to them. OMA brings learning alive, while accessing and developing different parts of the brain that may not be otherwise used.

Each student has time with Ms. Gascho, the OMA Arts Integration specialist, and with visiting OMA Artists. Grades K-3 meet with Ms. Gascho at least once a week. Ms. Gascho sees 4th and 5th graders one semester each, once per week. 4th and 5th graders also work on public speaking skills through the process of putting on a theatrical performance.

Kindergarteners work with a woodwind duo, which not only exposes them to professional musicians, but reinforces concepts such as pattern recognition, syllable practice, and sounding out words.

First Graders work with three trained Opera singers to expand their vocabulary and experiment with self expression. The students write the music and the words for an Opera they perform at the end of the session.

Second Grade’s Dance/Movement brings to life the life cycles of animals, place value in math, and helps children be more comfortable “in” their bodies.

Third Grade has been activating fine motor skills while learning to play the recorder through “Recorder Karate” and other supplementary learning from Ms. Gascho. Playing the recorder improves note reading (which reinforces reading in general), while building confidence and self-esteem.

Fourth Grade Orchestra and 5th Grade Band meet twice a week with Ms. Lucy Huestis, who has over 20 years of experience teaching instruments to children of all ages. Learning these instruments continues fine motor skills development, as well as encourages working with others to create a “bigger” product.


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