Our Stories

Teacher Grant Flashback: You Can’t Stop the Prints for Hairspray at Eliot Arts Magnet Academy

Students loved generating a list of phrases, slogans, and sayings that meant a lot to them now and that also worked for the context of Hairspray. They also loved that they would be on the sets as bricks and windows, like hidden messages. Students were very reflective on how the issues of race, body image, and segregation are still reiterated in our world today, and through the making of these prints, they chose their favorite messages—the ones they felt were most important for the show as well as good reminders for our present. Micol Issa | Drama Teacher, Eliot Arts Magnet

by Brianna Chu

Find out more about PEF Teacher Grants and apply.
As the 2021-2022 school year begins back on campus, our wonderful PUSD teachers are heading back into the classroom to innovate, create, and inspire. To celebrate our visionary teachers, here is a flashback to a fantastic Teacher Grant from the 2018-2019 school year:

For the larger-than-life musical, teacher Micol Issa decided to up the ante and incorporate a new way for her students to add flair and meaning to their set and costumes with screen printing. After diligent research on 60’s pop stars and art, the civil rights and feminist movements, and careful reading of the text, students came up with the following sets of phrases to create into foundational prints: “Love is Here to Stay,” “TV is Black & White,” “Every Body is Beautiful,” and “Think Big.” They then designed and styled the text into stamps with which they decorated their set and even some of the costumes. These phrases might not have been as distinguishable from a distance, but the research, thought, and meaning behind them made the show and set more meaningful to the performers.

The screen printing process was a little challenging to figure out and required some trial and error, along with some help from a local screen printer. However, Ms. Issa felt that navigating the difficulties also provided an opportunity for her to remind her students that art is a process, involving experimentation and critical thinking. Once they got printing figured out, even students who weren’t a part of the musical wanted to come along and help out! Now that she’s gotten the hang of screen printing, Ms. Issa is excited to continue using the technique to enhance future productions.

The Pasadena Educational Foundation’s Teacher Grants help inspirational teachers throughout Pasadena Unified take their creative projects from idea to reality by providing resources to enhance the classroom experience for their students. The grants, provided directly to the teachers, benefit thousands of students in Altadena, Pasadena, and Sierra Madre. 

For our 2018-19 grants we were proud to provide more than $200,000 for 125 grants to 190 educators including 14 school-wide grants. PEF Teacher Grants are made possible with generous support from the College Football Playoff Foundation, Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, FEDCO Charitable Foundation, California Community Foundation, and individual community donors. Find out more here: http://pased.org/teachers.

Brianna Chu | Digital Storyteller

Brianna Chu was born and raised in Pasadena, California, only leaving her hometown to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where she earned her Master of Arts degree in International Relations and Psychology. Upon returning to the States, she began sharing stories of local restauranteurs and their food for the Pasadena Independent. She now also holds the role of Digital Storyteller for the Pasadena Educational Foundation.