Arts for Learning Maryland's Summer Arts for Learning Academy (SALA): A Unique Space for Learning

SALA student
September 11, 2023 |

Arts for Learning Maryland (A4L MD), the Baltimore-based affiliate of Young Audiences Arts for Learning, was featured in an op-ed piece in the Baltimore Banner. The piece was authored by certified classroom educator Elaina Gomez-Alcala, who took part in A4L MD's 2023 Summer Arts for Learning Academy (SALA).

"The Summer Arts for Learning Academy has provided me with a new perspective on integrating the arts into learning. This unique approach to education has supported my growth and a deeper appreciation of how creative skills can affect student engagement and passion for learning."

- Elaina Gomez-Alcala, BCPSS Special Education Teacher

For the past nine years, SALA has been helping Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPSS) students fight summer learning loss. In partnership with BCPSS, SALA is offered as a free, full-day, six-week program centered on arts-integrated literacy and math instruction, open to students in pre-K through grade six. In addition to offering students an engaging, creative, and fun-filled summer learning experience that introduces them to new art forms and new ways of learning, SALA motivates local educators like Gomez-Alcala to incorporate arts-integrated approaches to teaching math and literacy in their classrooms through hands-on creativity in partnership with teaching artists.

"My teaching practice has been affected by incorporating an artistic lens to promote student self-expression and demonstration of learning," writes Gomez-Alcala. "I envision myself starting with art, where opportunities present themselves. Going forward, I will carry the program's philosophies and values into the school year to create a classroom environment enriched with creativity." 

In 2020, SALA was recognized by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) with its prestigious New York Life Foundation Excellence in Summer Learning Award. The award honors exceptional programs, models, and systems across the nation that keep children and youth learning, safe and healthy during the critical summer months.

Read the op-ed piece.