Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Come Work With Us at MAH as School Programs Coordinator

I know, I know. Any job with the word “coordinator” in it sounds like you might spend your time sorting socks into pairs. But this job is really important to the future of our museum, and I’m hoping that you or someone you know might be a great fit for it.

We are hiring for a School Programs Coordinator to wrangle the 3,500+ students and their teachers who come to the museum every year for a tour and hands-on experience in our art and history exhibitions. While we used to have a Director of Education who managed this, we’ve recently restructured our Community Programs department to have a Youth Programs Manager (the brilliant Emily Hope Dobkin), who oversees all experiences that visitors 2-18 have with the museum. School programs fall within this landscape, and our goal is not to see them as completely separate from the other work we do with youth—Kid Happy Hour, family festivals, teen program—but on a continuum. In this role, you will be the thoughtful, creative, detail-oriented lead who thinks about how school groups fit into the bigger ecosystem of youth experiences at the MAH and develops and implements them accordingly.

This job involves administrative management of all things school tours as well as collaboration with a diverse group of volunteer docents and education interns. Because 30% of the students in our school district are English language learners (and the majority of those, Latino), we are seeking someone who is bilingual and able to communicate comfortably with kids and adults in Spanish.

We see this job as a starting point for someone who is cheerfully obsessed with the future of museum education. Like most museums, we’re facing some big questions when it comes to the future of school programs:
  • Buses aren’t cheap, and teachers are increasingly stressed about “proving” the value of expensive field trips away from the classroom. Our school visit numbers have risen over the past few years, but we also hear a lot from teachers about this tension, especially when the teacher is trying to justify an art tour. How should we think about the role of onsite museum experiences in future educational partnerships? 
  • Many families in our area have opted into non-traditional school and educational formats, especially homeschooling. What kinds of programs should we consider providing for these groups? 
  • Not all learning happens in school. How should we think about the balance between formal programs for school groups and youth-centered programs that happen after or outside of school? 
  • We are an interdisciplinary institution that focuses on igniting “unexpected connections.” How can we create school tours that reflect the diversity and interconnectedness of creativity and culture without completely confusing teachers? 
  • We are an institution that focuses on “shared experiences” and social bridging amongst diverse groups. Most school tours are for intact groups—a single class or grade. How can we develop programming that encourages students to make connections with kids of other ages or from other parts of our County? 
  • We care deeply about participatory experiences in which visitors have the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to large-scale collaborative projects. How can we invite students to collaborate with us the way we do with community partners and visitors? 
  • We are transforming our history gallery to be a more dynamic platform for civic engagement. How will this affect our school programs and our work with teachers? 
If these questions excite you, I hope you will consider applying. The application period closes on Monday, July 29.
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