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BRAINworks Programming

BRAINworks programs are federally-funded, providing professional development in arts integration for Berkshire County educators across PreK-12 classrooms and content by leveraging the region’s existing educational and cultural assets.


Professional development

Integrating the arts into the curriculum is a way to reach a diversity of learners, deepen overall comprehension, explore connections, and create meaningful and fun assessments.

BRAINworks offers sustained professional development in implementing arts integration in curriculum. Participating educators work in a cohort model to explore how rigor is inherent to the creative process, and how integrating artistic practice into core curriculum lessons can help all students meet academic standards. By working closely with experts from the field of education as well as professionals from Berkshire County’s vibrant arts and cultural organizations, educators experience the process of artmaking for themselves—and in doing so learn arts integration strategies they can incorporate into their own classroom lessons, assessments, and practices. 


Summer Institutes

The Summer Institute is an intensive, five-day professional development course for our BRAINworks educators covering focused content, including:

  • arts-integrated teaching strategies for PreK-12th grade

  • rigor in the classroom and using Webb’s Depth of Knowledge schema for increasing academic rigor in lessons

  • skill-building for arts techniques across artistic disciplines

  • strategies for evaluation and documentation of student performance and learning through assessment

  • exploration of Berkshire County arts/cultural organizations and how their programs and offerings can play a role in curriculum development

The content of each subsequent Summer Institute builds on the learning from the previous one.

BRAINworks educators create art at MASS MoCA, summer 2019.

Participants Rebecca Koczela, Nancy Pedercini-Aquista, and Amanda Hartlage create collages at MASS MoCA, summer 2019.

Evening Workshop Series

The Evening Workshop Series offers professional development opportunities to BRAINworks educators that are taught by the staff of our 12 key program partners. These monthly, 3-hour workshops are hosted by arts/cultural organizations across Berkshire County and provide educators the opportunity to experience artmaking strategies for the classroom firsthand. Strategies have ranged from collage to mobile phone video production!  Evening Workshops are led by our partner organizations:

  • Barrington Stage Company

  • Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative

  • Berkshire Museum

  • Berkshire Theatre Group

  • IS183 Art School of the Berkshires

  • Jacob’s Pillow

  • Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center


  • Norman Rockwell Museum

  • The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

  • Tanglewood

  • WAM Theatre


BRAINworks educators discuss arts integration strategies at Berkshire Theatre Group's Colonial Theatre, January 2020.


Lesson Study Seminars

Lesson Study Seminars are a series of immersive workshops where participants explore arts integration and Webbs’ Depth of Knowledge on-site at local arts organizations. In 2018, we held Lesson Study Seminars from October to December. In conjunction with additional online learning components, BRAINworks educators:

  • explored, analyzed, and applied knowledge about academic rigor in lessons

  • continued building skills in artmaking techniques across artistic disciplines

  • delivered presentations to and received feedback from their peers about arts-integrated lessons they had taught in their classrooms

  • practiced evaluation and documentation of student learning through arts-based assessment strategies

  • studied Professional Learning Communities as a method of collaborative peer learning to achieve common goals

The seminars were hosted by three of our key partner arts/cultural organizations: Berkshire Museum, Jacob’s Pillow, and MASS MoCA. 

A participant creates a science-themed protest sign based on an exhibit at Berkshire Museum, fall 2019.

Professional Learning Communities

Each BRAINworks educator works throughout the year in a small group of their cohort members: a Professional Learning Community (PLC). In their PLCs, educators critically engage with their peers about developing arts-integrated curriculum, share experiences about using arts integration strategies in their classrooms, and seek feedback about this work.

PLCs meet monthly and allow BRAINworks educators the chance to work collaboratively with their peers across disciplines, schools, and school districts. The BRAINworks Content Coordinator meets with all PLC groups to offer additional support and guidance.

BRAINworks educators discuss arts integration strategies at Berkshire Museum, spring 2019.

Berk Museum Workshop Photos 019.JPG
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