2013 Winners Announced for Arts Education Schools of Excellence!

Statewide Honors Awarded to Seattle and Tacoma Schools for Outstanding Arts Programs

Stafford Elementary in Tacoma and Seattle Academy of Arts and Science recognized as “Schools of Excellence in Arts Education”

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

Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Grades K-5 (Tacoma): Arts instruction is an essential part of student learning — integrated throughout the curriculum and written into in the School Improvement Plan — at this diverse inner-city elementary school in the south end of the Tacoma school district. A wide range of activities engage students, parents, and staff including mosaic projects, art displays, and multiple opportunities for students to perform. The diversity of the community is embraced and utilized involving a high level of parent participation and involving students in projects and performances around the city. One recent example was a school wide origami study connected to a display of over 1,000 paper cranes for the re-opening of the Point Defiance Pagoda. The school was recently identified as an Innovative School by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences (6-12): This independent college preparatory school located in Seattle was noted for its extensive list of course offerings. The arts are not extracurricular; they are one of the four key pillars of the school along with academics, athletics, and service. Seattle Academy champions its “Culture of Performance” in all areas of study, not just the arts, requiring student demonstration of what they are learning. Guest artists from every discipline come to work with students, from Bolshoi Ballet dancers to local potters and craftsmen, cast members from Broadway shows to college lecturers. Students are out in the community in full force working at internships at local arts institutions, performing with the academy’s Dance Company, Jazz Choir, and doing coursework and community service. A no-cut policy ensures that any student interested in an art form or performance opportunity will be included.

Both schools were celebrated for  for teaching all components of the arts – dance, music, theater and visual arts – as vital parts of their students’ education. Awards will be officially presented to the schools later this month as part of the statewide recognition of Arts Education Month.

“Every student benefits when the arts play a prominent and integral role in the curriculum, as they do at these Schools of Excellence in Arts Education,” said Una McAlinden, Executive Director for ArtsEd Washington. “Research shows that arts learning increases student engagement and stimulates higher order thinking. That’s why it’s so important to celebrate the pivotal leadership of these principals in ensuring that every child receives such opportunities.”

“The leaders of these schools have bucked the trend of squeezing out arts programs in favor of more reading and math,” said AWSP Executive Director Gary Kipp. “Congratulations to them for realizing that engagement in the arts enhances learning in all subjects.”

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 with exemplary arts education programs throughout Washington state. For more information or to read the full submissions of the 2013 Washington winners, visit www.artsedwashington.org.

About ArtsEd Washington

ArtsEd Washington is a statewide nonprofit organization devoted to advancing and increasing arts education in K- 12 schools, working to ensure that all students in Washington are provided a complete education that includes the arts: dance, music, theatre, and visual art. ArtsEd Washington is a member of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network. www.artsedwashington.org.

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.

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