info@spiritseries.org

The Program

A BREAKTHROUGH…

drama-based values and literacy initiative, SPIRIT SERIES delivers rigorous academic intervention and character education during regular school hours, in grades four through eight, with inspiring one-act historical biographies that students study, co-write, stage, and perform. Six original titles are currently offered in the SERIES, each celebrating the human spirit as expressed through the world’s great wisdom traditions. Now in its 14th year, the program achieves high-impact outcomes at public, charter, and independent schools from Maine to California, addressing over 70% of ELA Common Core Standards in each grade level we serve.

“SPIRIT SERIES IS ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING CURRICULA I HAVE SEEN IN MY FOUR DECADES OF PUBLIC EDUCATION. EACH AND EVERY STUDENT WAS TRANSFORMED BY THIS FABULOUS PROGRAM.”

— Janet Chapman, Principal, Rosewood Elementary School

SINCE 2001, SPIRIT SERIES HAS:

  • Delivered, in regular school hours, 350 successful three-week residencies
  • Taught 20,000 hours in over 1,300 classrooms at more than 60 partner schools
  • Transformed nearly 40,000 4th through 8th grade students coast to coast
  • Grown by more than 300% since its incorporation as a not-for-profit in 2005
  • Garnered thousands of endorsements from educators, parents and students, as well as United Teachers Los Angeles — Retired, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education

“IN NEARLY 30 YEARS OF TEACHING, I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED ANY PROGRAM AS MULTIFACETED AND WITH SUCH LONG-REACHING EFFECTS AS SPIRIT SERIES… A TRULY AMAZING EXPERIENCE THAT TOUCHES EVERYONE DEEPLY— PARENTS, TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND, OF COURSE, STUDENTS MOST OF ALL.”

— Robin Winston, 4th grade teacher

NOW POISED TO GO NATIONAL… SPIRIT SERIES CAN:

  • Grow by 10-fold to serve 35,000 students at 300 partner schools per year
  • Achieve an operating budget of $3,200,000 annually
  • Saturate operations in three locations across America
  • Engage hundreds of retired teacher-volunteers to reduce program cost by 22%
  • Quantify and leverage its impact to position the organization for full-scale expansion

“SPIRIT SERIES IS PROFOUND. BEYOND COMMON CORE, IT ADDRESSES A MORE ELUSIVE STANDARD: MORAL ENGAGEMENT.”

— Paul Cummins, Founder/CEO Coalition for Engaged Education

CARLOS WAS ALWAYS IN TROUBLE…

He was small, disruptive, a poor reader and easy prey for bullies. It took courage for him to show up at his inner-city middle school each day, let alone play Prince Siddhartha in “Buddha Walks.”

He struggled with every word. Still, day after day, Carlos stuck with it, enduring endless abuse. Even when he did master his lines, he would forget to recite them or could barely be heard. The day before the performance, he finally buckled under the pressure, hiding in the back of the auditorium, refusing to come on stage.

“Who do you want to be, Carlos?!” the SpiritCorps leader challenged him.
 A student cried out: “Give him a break!” The leader turned: “No, I will NOT give him a break. Carlos is a great prince! And like the prince, now he must make a great choice!”

Then…the magic. Spontaneously — maybe in recognition of his valiant efforts — the class began to chant “Car-los… Car-los…” urging him up, coaxing him past his fear and back onstage.

Their performance the next day was quite good. But, the real triumph had already been won: by embracing the least among them, an entire class had been transformed. They had experienced true compassion. The teachings of the Buddha had come to life for them all that day.

“AN ANALYSIS OF POTENTIALLY SIMILAR PROGRAMS [NATIONWIDE] FOUND NOT A SINGLE ONE WITH THE SAME AIMS AND METHODS, MAKING SPIRIT SERIES A STAND OUT.”

— 2011 Evaluation, Harvard Graduate School of Education