Tacoma School of the Arts Receives School of Distinction Award!


The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced the Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA) as one of four recipients of its National Schools of Distinction in Arts Education Award for the 2010-2011 School Year. The award recognizes successful arts programs, and the integration of the arts as an essential aspect of the school curriculum.

SOTA, Carnation Elementary School and Elk Plain School of Choice, were submitted to the Kennedy Center’s national awards competition earlier this year after receiving top state honors from ArtsEd Washington and the Association of Washington School Principals, as part of the State School of Excellence in Arts Education award.

In determining top performing school across the country that are best implementing these arts education components, the Kennedy Center examined individual school components such as the imaginative learning environments for teaching and learning through the arts, the level of parental involvement in education, and how the school provides cultural learning opportunities through the arts.

More information on SOTA and the other national award recipients can be found in the corresponding press release from The Kennedy Center.

Information on the official presentation of the national awards is still to be determined.  Stay tuned to ArtsEd Washington for more information.

National & State Award Information

2011-2012 Washington State School of Excellence in Arts Education Awards Application Announcement

ArtsEd Washington and AWSP will administrate the state level award and recognition for outstanding arts programs within Washington state schools for the 2011-2012 school year.

Information regarding the application process and deadline for the Washington State School of Excellence in Arts Education awards will be announced later this year. Schools may request a notice of application posting in advance by contacting info@artsedwashington.org.  Please include your name, school name, phone number, and email where the application announcement may be sent.

Interested schools may also access last year’s state award requirements as a guideline.

Media Inquiries & General Information

Una McAlinden, Executive Director
ArtsEd Washington
206.441.4501

una@artsedwashington.org

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      Three principals shared their experiences working with the PAL program in Title I schools including Tracye Ferguson (formerly of Franklin Elementary and now Director of Title I/Early Learning for Tacoma Public Schools), Alan Matsumoto (Garfield Elementary in Yakima), and Farah Thaxton (formerly of Madrona K-8 in Seattle). ArtsEd Washington Executive Director Una McAlinden moderated the panel as they offered their leadership perspective and insights on how arts learning and specifically the PAL program has helped them improve their schools and can impact students and schools statewide. The session was introduced with pride by Gayle Pauley, Title I Director of Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

      “Integrating arts education strategies in reading, mathematics, and the sciences is having a positive impact on the achievement of students who are struggling academically. Title I, Part A programs are demonstrating how this integration has a positive impact on student achievement,” said Pauley. “I am a musician myself and know first-hand the impact arts education has on student success.”

      Like many other schools across Washington State, Garfield, Madrona, and Franklin have used the PAL program to grow their arts capacities, impacting overall academic success, school culture, and student/family engagement. The panel shared their experiences in building effective arts plans, visions, and real world tactics to turn their schools into vibrant, successful places for their students to engage and learn. The session also covered tangible strategies to advance this instructional change and demonstrated a simple infrastructure for team-building, vision development, and planning for student success.

      “Including the arts in the school day improves student engagement, academic achievement, attendance, graduation rates, and overall success,” commented McAlinden. “The fact that our session was chosen for this national conference demonstrates the growing understanding among education leaders that the arts are a path to both student and school success.”

      The goal of the PAL program is to empower schools to create the fundamental systemic change that will ensure that the arts play a vital role in a complete education for all students, now and for years to come. PAL trains principals, as instructional leaders in all areas of curriculum, to expand their own capacities in arts leadership, to develop arts teams, visions, and plans, and to implement concrete strategies to integrate and sustain arts instruction for every student in every school.

      Thaxton’s experience at Madrona K-8, where more than three quarters of the students fall below the poverty line, demonstrated the remarkable impact of arts learning.  Citing more confident, engaged, and perseverant students at Madrona (which had limited arts offerings before she began work with the PAL program), Thaxton observes that the climate and culture of the school were transformed by the arts. She also sings the praises of the professional development she received through the program.

      Notes Thaxton, “It was one of the most focused professional development experiences I’ve had as a principal. PAL brought everybody’s voice together and was a key strategy in our success.”

      ArtsEd Washington is currently in the process of revamping the PAL program to be implemented at a district-wide level instead of the slower school-by-school approach. As part of the Creative Advantage, Seattle Public Schools has just begun implementation of PAL in its Central Pathway and will continue rollout to the whole district over the next few years.

      For more information, call 206-441-4501 or email office@artsedwashington.org