Friday, January 19, 2018

Oshkosh area students and staff to experience Hocus FocusTM

[We are happy to post this press release on behalf of the Oshkosh Area School District]

Oshkosh area students and staff to experience Hocus FocusTM

Upcoming visit from leading authority on the educational and therapeutic benefits of magic
Oshkosh, WI - World renowned teaching artist and master illusionist, Kevin Spencer, will spend three days working with students and staff in the Oshkosh Area School District through a residency presented by The Grand Oshkosh. On January 29th and 30th, area classrooms will experience the therapeutic and educational benefits of magic and area educators will learn how to engage and teach students with diverse learning needs. This opportunity is being made possible by a sponsorship from the Boldt Foundation, with additional support from the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, Oshkosh Area Community Foundation and the John E. Kuenzl Foundation.

Linda Pierron, the Director of Special Education, said the OASD is eager to work with Spencer because this type of creative instruction aligns with the district’s ongoing efforts to support a personalized learning environment and strengthen academic and behavioral supports for students.

During his time in Oshkosh, Spencer will visit eight special education elementary classrooms and lead students through 50-minute sessions of engaging, magical and hands-on learning. Having developed an entire curriculum called Hocus FocusTM​, Spencer uses magic tricks to bring transformative educational experiences to students of all abilities by tapping current research on neuroscience, learning and the arts. With the understanding that magic tricks offer a creative means for stimulating the senses in special education students, this classroom approach enhances the learning experience and encourages creative problem-solving skills, observational techniques and critical thinking.

Spencer will also spend time working with OASD special education therapy staff – discussing the benefits of the arts in the development and retraining of the brain and teaching staff various research-based methods and exercises to further connect with students.
“It is an incredible opportunity for us to host such a groundbreaking thought leader,” stated Pierron. “Our students will not only get to experience the wonder of magic, but they will be able to engage their curiosity and strengthen their cognitive skills. And our educators will be able to add more tools to their toolkit and brainstorm new ways for us to keep meeting the individual needs of our students.”

In addition to bringing an innovative learning opportunity to the OASD, this visit will also allow Spencer to complete a portion of his doctoral research - focused on validating an assessment instrument capable of measuring student outcomes in cognition, motor skills, communication and social skills, while developing creativity and flexible thinking.
Kevin Spencer’s residency contributes to the educational and Community Outreach Programming presented by The Grand Oshkosh. Each season, over 20,000 community residents, students and underserved members of the community benefit from these social and educational initiatives.

About Kevin Spencer:​ Kevin Spencer is an educator, artist, consultant, and social entrepreneur. After more than 25 years as an award-winning touring artist, he now devotes his time to using the power of the arts to provide access and opportunity to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. In addition to working with performing arts organizations and school districts, he is faculty in the special education program at Carlow University (PA) and has earned an M.Ed. in Arts & Interdisciplinary Academic Education and a Certification in Autism Studies. He is widely considered the leading authority on the educational and therapeutic benefits of magic tricks in the classroom and is an authorized speaker for the U.S. State Department on arts integration for special populations. His work has taken him around the world where he has conducted professional development training for educators and interactive classroom activities for students. He is a regular speaker at international education conferences and believes in the power of the arts to bring transformative educational experiences to students of all abilities. For more information visit  

About The Grand Oshkosh
The Grand Oshkosh is a collaborative and innovative leader in providing entertainment, social and educational opportunities for the community. Designed by local architect William Waters, the building is on both the State and National Historic Registers. Owned by the City of Oshkosh and operated by the Oshkosh Opera House Foundation, The Grand Oshkosh hosts over 100 performances and events every year, including arts education events, local and regional arts events, student performances, corporate meetings and weddings. For more information visit


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