Following ArtsEd Washington’s participation in the Turnaround Arts Initiative, in which Executive Director Una McAlinden shared best practices from our Principals Arts Leadership (PAL) program, Una and the PAL program have been featured in a special issue of the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ (NAESP) Principal magazine, sponsored by Crayola.
The article From Intuition to Action on page 8 focuses on the importance of principals being effective instructional leaders in the arts – as they are in other core subjects – the mission of the PAL program! Una discusses how the PAL approach of building a system of equitable delivery for arts learning creates positive lasting change in schools:
“We try to teach them that they need to be thinking about this as a system of provision and about building the school capacity to provide the arts effectively, sequentially, and equitably. Just adding ‘a little bit of art’ won’t sustain.”
The article goes on to endorse the key stages of the PAL program, articulating the need for development of a shared vision, an action plan, and the building of a school infrastructure for the arts.
The Crayola supplement provides important encouragement for our school and district leaders actively engaged in restoring their arts instruction. In another article, Arts Opportunity Gap, (page 5) Gail Connelly, executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals endorses this important step:
“The Elementary and Secondary Education Act identiﬁes the arts as one of the 10 core academic subjects, which means that the arts contribute just as signiﬁcantly to children’s learning and development as subjects such as math and reading,” she said. “That’s why it’s important that pre-K-8 principals of all schools—regardless of the demographics of their students—strive to become champions of the arts in their communities.”