Rahn pumps up its annual show
It’s school’s first show as an arts and tech magnet
by John Gessner
Rahn Elementary School in Eagan is known for its annual music and dance performances, which for the past three years have been held at Burnsville High School’s Mraz Center for the Performing Arts.
If performing on a big-league stage isn’t enough, the school has even more to offer this year.
It will be the school’s first performance as an arts and technology magnet school. The fifth- and sixth-graders of the Rahn Elementary School of Arts and Technology will perform afternoon and evening shows on Feb. 2.
The theme of the show is “The Elements,” also a school magnet theme in physical education, music and art. The four fifth- and sixth-grade classes will represent Earth, Air, Fire and Water with numbers that will include singing, dance, tumbling, playing of instruments and some nifty light and slide shows.
It’s a pumped-up version of Rahn’s annual show, according to physical education specialist Cindy Hart, who is again teaming up with music specialist Rachel Lucius to direct.
“This one is a little bigger because of the arts and technology,” Hart said. “One of the reasons I think our school selected this magnet theme is we’ve always had a history of performances, a music and dance performance, and our students are really excited about that.”
This year’s show will also feature a student art exhibit in the Mraz Center corridor before the evening show.
The arts and tech magnet is part of a larger School District 191 effort to pump up enrollment at Rahn and better utilize space across the district’s 10 elementary schools. Two years ago the district introduced incentives for district students to attend Rahn, including free or discounted-priced full-day kindergarten.
Enrollment has grown by 75 students over the two years, with 425 students in a building with capacity to hold 525, Principal Elaine Mehdizadeh said.
Nestled in an aging neighborhood, the school wouldn’t have seen such growth without the incentives and the magnet, Mehdizadeh said.
A parent survey helped guide the school toward its arts and tech magnet theme, she said.
The theme “built on strengths we already had,” Mehdizadeh said. “It was responsive to what our families were interested in doing. Our staff could take ownership of it because they already had a great deal of interest in those areas. And it would be responsive to the needs of our children in terms of being 21st-century leaders.”
Each grade level has arts and technology integrated into three themed units of study, the principal said. The units give students “equal access at every grade level.”
Activities include Web exploration, research and observation at the Minnesota Zoo, digital photography, and sketching and writing at Caponi Art Park.
“Not every child learns best through paper and pencil,” Mehdizadeh said. “They need to have that hands-on, interactive learning. And arts and technology can provide that.”
Rahn will present “The Elements” at Burnsville High School at 12:15 p.m. Feb. 2 for Rahn students and other guests. A 7 p.m. performance will be held for parents, the general public and prospective students.
The student art show will be from 6 to 7 p.m. It will include a silent auction of local artworks to raise money for next year’s artist in residence at Rahn.
John Gessner is at firstname.lastname@example.org.