2014 Winner Announced for Arts Education Schools of Excellence!

 Statewide Honor Awarded to Olympia School for Outstanding Arts Education

Avanti High School recognized as “School of Excellence in Arts Education” 

Avanti accepting award-banner

SEATTLE – ArtsEd Washington in partnership with the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) today announced Avanti High School in Olympia as the winner of the fourth annual Schools of Excellence in Arts Education Award, honoring K-12 schools providing exemplary arts education to their students.

Avanti High School in Olympia School District is a small alternative high school of 156 students and 7 faculty. For the past fourteen years, Avanti has been integrating arts education throughout all subjects to balance and deepen the learning experience for students.

wu3pic“It is our view that the arts serve as the foundation for all inspiration and creativity, which are two important core values of the school,” says Principal Mike Velasquez.  “At Avanti, we encourage our students to explore their passions and find their voices; we find that the arts is the best medium to produce well balanced, healthy, and productive adults.”

Artistic collaboration is fostered at Avanti to teach teamwork, communication, and peer support.

The school has been recognized as a School of Distinction twice in recent years by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“Our arts education program serves a diverse group of learners, each allowed to work in whatever medium is right for them,” observes Velasquez. “Students are becoming independent, reflective, inspired learners that are fully engaged inside and outside of school.”

Recent group projects include the “Earth, Air, Fire, and Water” mosaic series, completed by the freshman class, now adorning the Olympia School District board room. Avanti’s theater program presents a school play every spring in which students learn all aspects of theater production from stagecraft to performance, while also learning how to work together, manage time, critically assess challenges, and find creative solutions.

KevinGlasspic“Schools like Avanti demonstrate how the arts can transform the culture of a school and the experience of its students,” notes Una McAlinden, Executive Director for ArtsEd Washington. “Their students are gaining essential capacities for life that deepen all of their learning and prepare them for success long after graduation. That’s what makes Avanti a true School of Excellence.”

“The arts are crucial to whole-child development,” adds AWSP Executive Director Gary Kipp. “We are proud that so many schools in Washington State recognize the value of arts education, and we are especially proud that this year’s award winner is just around the corner from our office.”

Inspired by a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Schools of Excellence in Arts Education Awards are open to all K-12 schools throughout Washington State with exemplary arts education programs.


About ArtsEd Washington

ArtsEd Washington is the only statewide nonprofit working to create enduring system-wide change to ensure that the arts – which include dance, music, theatre, and visual art – play an integral role in the education of every child in every school. No other organization is more adept at empowering schools to provide high-quality arts education and at building public support for arts learning. ArtsEd Washington is a member of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network.

About Association for Washington School Principals

The Association of Washington School Principals is a professional association serving principals, assistant principals, and principals in training. Formed in 1972, the association includes more than 3,400 members from public and private elementary, middle, and high schools statewide. It is governed by a board of practicing principals drawn from the elementary, middle, and high school levels. www.awsp.org.

Print and share press release

This was posted in the category ArtsEd WA News, Headline, News, Press Releases.
  • Random Posts

    • PAL School Receives Crayola Grant!

      ArtsEd Washington is pleased to announce that our Principals Arts Leadership (PAL) program participant, Madrona K-8 School, was recently awarded a grant from the Crayola Champion Creatively Alive program!

      Under the leadership of Principal Farah Thaxton, and with guidance of our PAL program, Madrona has enlisted an active group of parents, community partners, and artists to assist in their capacity building to integrate the arts into all aspects of their curriculum. As they head into their second year of PAL, and now with the support of the Champion Creatively Alive grant, Madrona plans to continue developing their arts plan that will:

      • Establish model lessons and implementation tools;
      • Strengthen teachers’ confidence in facilitating arts-integrated lessons; and
      • Set standards around long-term, sequential arts programming, and more.

      When asked how the PAL program was a contributor to their grant application , Principal Thaxton said, “Our work through PAL enabled our Arts Team to clarify our priorities, to be very intentional in what we plan to achieve in the years ahead. Working with an experienced Coach, we created a realistic, practical plan, with benchmarks each trimester. This is critical in achieving the transformation we have envisioned for Madrona. We were able to show Crayola and NAESP that we are taking concrete steps to teach our students critical skills, like resourcefulness and inventiveness, which strong arts education provides.”.

      Congratulations, Madrona!

      A special thank you to Crayola and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) for providing opportunities for schools to foster creativity through the arts, as part of a basic and complete education. We appreciate all that you do to support arts education for every student at every school!