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“Hip Hop is the triumph of personal expression
over the bonds of repression.” – Paul Rodriguez

Grades 5-8 and 9-12


            StreetWise: The 5 Schools of Hip Hop is a program that uses five elements of Hip Hop to inspire children to be self-learners through the power of their own creativity. 

It starts with the history; kids learn how past generations innovated an astounding Hip Hop culture against all odds. It recognizes Hip Hop as five distinct and powerful forms of artistic self-expression: DJing (instrumental music), Beat Boxing (vocal percussion/music), Rapping (poetry), Graffiti (visual arts), and Break Dancing/B-Boying/B-Girling (dance). The program takes advantage of Hip Hop's popularity and familiarity to capture students' imaginations and engage them in a deep and meaningful learning experience.


The program identifies five schools to absorb participants in carefully considering where, when, why, and how they learn in their everyday lives. It expands their understanding of who their teachers are in all aspects of life. Most importantly, the program makes each participant aware of their crucial role in educating themselves.

The 5 Schools in the program are:


  1. Home/Family

  2. Religion/Spirituality

  3. Recreational Activities/Community

  4. School/Friends

  5. Pop Culture/The Streets 

The program revolves around the production of the plays, The Playground Peace Conference (grades 5-8) and The Neighborhood Peace Conference (grades 9-12). Using the five elements of Hip Hop for everything from sets to songs, the plays are written, choreographed, and performed by students as original, one-of-a-kind productions. The Playground Peace Conference (grades 5-8) provides more structure for the development of the theme by offering a potential storyline and source material. The Neighborhood Peace Conference (grades 9-12) is a more open format that allows participants to develop the theme of their play based on their experiences at home, in school, and in their community. Participants work as individuals, in small groups, and in one large group as part of their production company. The plays are in-depth project-based learning lessons. 

The program's goal is to empower kids with a belief in their ability to learn and make positive choices with what they learn. This is achieved by cultivating self-education skills such as focus and grit and social-emotional learning skills such as compassion and mindfulness. Empowered with these skills and just enough structure and guidance along the way, the StreetWise program can help them become successful in whatever they are passionate about. Ultimately, they can use their success to give back to their communities and make a positive impact like the Hip Hop pioneers who paved the path that they are following. The lesson learned is, "Just like hip hop cannot be stopped, who you are inside cannot be denied!"

“Just like hip hop cannot be stopped,

who you are inside cannot be denied!” – Paul Rodriguez

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