The Arts Thrive at PAL Alumni Parkwood Elementary

“When Brian is dancing, he communicates.  When he is dancing, I see him totally being a kid.  The arts are helping us reach kids that we simply weren’t reaching before.”

Dear friends of ArtsEd Washington,

My name is Laura Ploudré. I’m the Principal of Parkwood Elementary School in Shoreline and I’m writing today on behalf of all teachers, staff, students, and parents to share our story about how ArtsEd Washington’s programs has helped to fundamentally transform arts education at Parkwood Elementary.

Parkwood Elementary was in the right place, at the right time to participate in ArtsEd Washington’s Principals Arts Leadership (PAL) program, which works to guide principals and schools in building sustainable arts education programming. Prior to PAL, our commitment to the arts had been strong, yet haphazard, and unsustainable. We had occasional artists-in-residence, but we weren’t growing our arts instruction.

ArtsEd Washington equipped me with the support and tools to become the instructional leader for the arts at Parkwood Elementary, and with their guidance I was able to lead my school team in developing an all-inclusive, ongoing arts plan for our school.

Today, the arts are now an instrumental piece of our long-term education plan for the school; resources and tools are now available in every classroom; and the arts are taught by every teacher, year after year.

The entire culture of our school has changed because of the PAL program. Our comprehensive arts programming has broken language and socio-economic barriers, and highly engaged our students – some of whom would not come to school consistently unless the arts were being taught.

We serve a large number of students with disabilities – both cognitive and physical. The arts offer them different ways to communicate, learn, and flourish. Brian is one example; he has severe autism. He’s not social, and doesn’t personally connect. But Brian is thriving in dance. When he is dancing, he communicates. When he is dancing, I see him totally being a kid. The arts are helping us reach kids that we simply weren’t reaching before.

When I consider Parkwood Elementary’s growth and success in the arts, I know that it would not have been possible without ArtsEd Washington.

Warmest Regards,


Laura Ploudré, Principal
Parkwood Elementary

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