THE IDENTITY PROJECT

fostering hope and weaving identity through documentary storytelling

Washington D.C.

The Identity Project launched in Washington D.C. in 2013 and continued sustained semester programming through 2016. During that time we partnered with a variety of educational non-profits. Examples of partnerships include the following. 
 

The Literacy Lab
As a an early learning literacy intervention program, The Literacy Lab proposed the design of a new iteration of The Identity Project to enhance students understanding of literacy as multi-dimensional (including reading, writing, speaking viewing and listening. Founding Artist & Director, Alesandra Zsiba, worked closely with literacy specialists to craft a residency model that inspired students to self-actualize through a curriculum fusing documentary storytelling and project-literacy learning. While in partnership with the Literacy Lab, our partner schools included the following. 

  • Maury Elementary
  • Smothers Elementary
  • CW Harris Elementary 
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"Alesandra Zsiba conducted The Identity Project with our high-need elementary students in Washington, DC. For a population of students who have experienced a high degree of trauma and loss in their short lives, The Identity Project provided them with a way to see themselves positively and literally through a different lens. Alesandra expertly guided the students to build their confidence, and she wove in literacy themes as students explored their self worth and individuality through poetry and photography. In our final showcase of each student's work, the auditorium erupted in smiles and cheers from students and parents alike as each student's portrait appeared. The students walked out of The Identity Project experience with their heads held higher and their backs a little straighter than when they began thanks to the careful development of the curriculum and the thoughtful and skillful implementation by Alesandra Zsiba."

Ashley Johnson
Co-Executive Director
The Literacy Lab

Young Playwrights Theater
As a school-based playwriting intervention program, Young Playwrights Theater invited The Identity Project into their classrooms to help deepen students learning through our project-based literacy curriculum. While in partnership with YPT, we brought The Identity Project to the following partner schools.

  • Harriet Tubman Elementary
  • Takoma Adventist Middle School
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"I have taught in DCPS for the last 14 years, among some extremely talented people.  Never before, however, have I been as impressed as I was last week upon seeing Alesandra Zsiba's work with the Maury first and second graders through the Literacy Lab program.  The pictures she took and poems she facilitated with the children truly capture the essence of each child and, I feel, childhood.  After 115 days together I feel like I know my students pretty well.  After reading one of my student, Max's words, 'if you tear your shoe you're looking at the universe...' I had a chance to see a side of him he does not show in class."

Nathan Havner

2nd Grade Teacher
Maury Elementary School