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What is START?

START (Students Teaching in the Arts) is a program that matches Dartmouth student volunteers with local 1st-8th grade classrooms. Over six classroom visits, volunteers develop and deliver original arts integration activities that complement regular classroom curriculum, enhancing the learning experience for students. START is active in fall, winter and spring terms.

Check out this video from one of our partner teachers, Miss Cherie Blessing, from Mid Vermont Christian School in Quechee, VT:

Who Can be a START Volunteer?

START volunteers are Dartmouth undergraduates who are passionate about the arts and want to share their time and talent in a leadership role in Upper Valley classrooms. While volunteers do not need to be experts in an art form, they do need to be creative and collaborative. START values volunteers that stretch their imaginations and the imaginations of their students. More than just arts and crafts, START wants to provide students with “outside the desk” thinking so that students connect sit-down subjects to on-your-feet activities.

Interested in learning more about what we do? Click here for volunteer information, past projects, and a term overview!

Who Can be a START Classroom?

START works with grades 1-8 in classrooms within a 25-30 minute travel radius of Dartmouth. While the START volunteers develop and teach the lessons, continued teacher support and presence throughout the term is essential to a strong partnership. Teachers also give valuable feedback to the volunteers throughout the term and help manage the classroom during individual START visits. START volunteers often supplement classroom curriculum as requested by the teacher—through art, we’ve explored geometry, poetry, outer space, ecosystems, democracy, and even grit!

START visits classrooms during regular school hours, once a week for six weeks during the fall, winter, or spring season. These visits can be up to 60 minutes, depending on the classroom schedule. Each term the availability of volunteers shifts; the more flexibility a classroom has in terms of the scheduling, the more likely we’ll be able to place a START group. While the season-to-season volunteers may change, START seeks to create lasting collaborations with teachers and schools. Many of our teachers have been with us for over 5 years!

Interested in learning more about what we do? Click here for sample lesson plans, past projects, and a schedule overview!


2018/2019 START Calendar

NEW Volunteer Training
Wed, Sep 19, 3-4pm
Thu, Sep 20, 5-6pm
NEW Volunteer Training
Mon, Jan 7, 3–4pm
Tue, Jan 8, 5–6pm
NEW Volunteer Training
Wed, Mar 27, 3–4pm
Thu, Mar 28, 5-6pm
ALL Volunteer Training
Thu, Sep 20, 6-8:30pm
ALL Volunteer Training
Tue, Jan 8, 6-8:30pm
ALL Volunteer Training
Thu, Mar 28, 6-8:30pm
(dinner provided)
Classroom visits (1x/week)
Week of Oct 1-Nov 9
Classroom visits (1x/week)
Week of Jan 21-Mar 8
excluding winter break
Classroom visits (1x/week)
Week of Apr 8-May 20
No visits week of April 15
Reflection Dinner
Thu, Nov 8, 6-7:30pm
Reflection Dinner
Tue, Mar 5, 6-7:30pm
Reflection Dinner
Thu, May 23, 6-7:30pm

Interested in learning more?

Click here for sample lesson plans, past projects, and a schedule overview!

Click here for volunteer information, past projects, and a term overview!

Become a START classroom!

  • Email Felicia with your name, school, grade and any other information to start the conversation

Contact Us!

START Senior Fellow

Steffi Colao ’19
Steffi has been with the START program since 2016 and has worked in 2nd-6th grade classrooms teaching anything from the Civil Rights Movement to geometry. She values START as a time to get off campus and to engage meaningfully with the surrounding community, as well as a chance to refresh her 3rd grade math skills. Though a Geography major, Steffi loves painting and can usually be found in the VAC. Steffi joined START as a way to participate in art while not taking studio art classes but soon realized she is also passionate about teaching and education policy. Her favorite START project was creating “stained glass windows” to illustrate radial symmetry. When she’s not with START, her favorite place in the Hopkins Center is the Donald Clafin Jewelry Studio.


Visiting Artist Residency
School Matinee Series
HopStop Family Series
Assembly Outreach
Curricular Connections
Community Venture Initiative