Zion Rumble raced in disbelief through the hallways at Jefferson Elementary in the West Jefferson Hills School District. The hallways were wider, lockers bigger and there were multiple floors for just the elementary kids. Gadgets filled the STEAM lab; students have an art room and lots of bathrooms.
At Clairton Elementary, where Zion attended fifth grade, everything seems smaller, and they have less. The kids repeatedly talk about how the elementary art teacher position was cut, and the art room was turned into a music classroom. Kids now learn art in their other classes, while teachers are also trying to teach English and math.
As part of Pittsburgh Public Theater’s Creative Dramatics program, kids from two districts of different socioeconomic backgrounds — like Clairton and West Jefferson Hills — have the chance to learn an adaptive Shakespearean work, rehearse and perform together, tour each other’s schools and get to know one another.
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