Tag Archives: In the Community

ArtsEd WA Principals’ Peer Forum: Arts and the Common Core

Arts-Integrated Instruction Aligning Your School’s Creative Lessons with Common Core State Standards A principals peer forum presented by ArtsEd Washington and the Association of Washington School Principals Come learn how to align the power of creative learning through the arts with Common Core State Standards at this lively half-day forum geared specifically for principals and […]
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Introduction to Design Thinking

How can design be used to make great experiences that promote learning and cultivate lasting, positive change? Design thinking is an approach to problem solving that combines empathy and creativity to answer messy, world-sized problems through innovation and collaboration. Design is no longer “nice to have;” it’s now “must have” in fields including education, business, […]
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Educator Preview: Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough

The Seattle Art Museum presents this Educator Preview: Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of the Kenwood House, London.  This FREE event is open to all K–12 educators interested in getting a sneak peak to the special exhibition. Gain free resources, make art, take a tour, and get creative in a community of peers. Admission […]
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WASA Small School Conference

Bringing it Together for Students: Systems Coherence The Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) is hosting their Small Schools Conference, and ArtsEd Washington will be in the Exhibition Hall showcasing our K-6 curriculum, Art Lessons in the Classroom (ALIC).  This exceptional literacy and visual arts curriculum is aligned with state standards and provides foundational concepts, […]
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Art Goes to School: Building a Community of Thinkers Summit

Join Seattle Art Museum for the 2nd Annual Art Goes to School: Building a Community of Thinkers Summit. This free, one-day professional development opportunity is designed for educators, parents, community members, cultural organizations, students, funders, policy makers and artists to join this critical conversation focused on providing creative learning for all students. Learn from national […]
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Arts & Heritage Day

Arts & Heritage Day is February 6 in Olympia, WA.  Join ArtsEd Washington staff and Board of Directors, along with other arts advocates around the state, to meet with legislators and talk about arts and heritage issues in the current legislative session, and the cultural concerns in our communities and schools. The key way the […]
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BrainDance Variations for All Ages

For participants familiar with the BrainDance, this will be a chance to spice up and enliven your BrainDance repertoire! New and fun BrainDances will be shared. Learn BrainDances that disguise themselves as fast and easy folk dances. Find ways to use props in meaningful ways. Learn how to integrate technique and different dance styles into […]
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Easy Informances & Recitals for Studios & Schools

Dancers need to share their work and accomplishments beyond the classroom or studio, but recitals can become overwhelming for dancers, families, and teachers!  Continuing to teach – and not drill – as performance time draws near is a fine art. This workshop will offer effective and easy tools to make your recital/informance as stress-free and […]
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Seattle Teaching Artist Network Meeting

Topic:  Professional Teaching Artists:  Supporting Active Learning in the Museum Setting Agenda: 4:45-5:00: initial meet and greet with snacks in the “Rec Room” EMPs group teaching space. Please invite your colleagues working in all sectors as teaching artists!  EMPs education programs employ 10-15 teaching artists per year for in-museum classes, outreach classes in schools,  as […]
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WSSDA Annual Conference Session: The Arts – A Strategy for Student Success

The Washington State School Directors Associationn’s (WSSDA) Annual Conference is November 14-17. ArtsEd Washington Executive Director Una McAlinden and OSPI Program Supervisor for the Arts Anne Banks, along with local School Board Directors, present Hidden in Plain Sight: The Arts – A Strategy for Student Success; a session focusing on the arts as a tool […]
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  • Random Posts

    • PAL Spotlight On: Madrona K-8 School

      Madrona kids picture

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

      The Arts are Alive Thanks to Strong Leadership and PAL

      Throngs of students fill the halls with busy footsteps and the buzz of chatter as part of the daily routine at the Madrona K-8 School in Seattle.

      It’s a familiar scene in schools across Washington state. However, less typical – especially for a school where more than three quarters of its students fall below the poverty line – are the joyful musical strains that fill the air in every corridor.

      At Madrona, the halls are indeed alive with the sound of music and the arts are thriving, due in large part to the leadership of its school principal, Farah Thaxton, and ArtsEd Washington’s Principals Arts Leadership (PAL) Program.

      A Leap of Faith Shifts the Tide

      Prior to Farah’s leadership, Madrona had limited arts programming during the school day. Determined to shift the tide, Farah began to build out core arts classes, community arts partnerships and integrated arts learning opportunities. Farah hired a full time K-5 music teacher and a part-time instrumental teacher to bridge the arts opportunity gap, and build a path for her students into high school music programs. With support from the Central Office she purchased instruments and supplies, and through a Dept. of Education Grant began a 3-year partnership with Arts Impact to provide K-5 integrated arts teacher professional development focused on literacy and mathematics.

      Within a short period of time, the Madrona school day was infused with the arts but Farah recognized resources and strategies weren’t coordinated or leveraged.  She realized that, as principal, she needed to expand her own capacities in arts leadership, if the efforts were to build and sustain. Taking a leap of faith, she then applied to ArtsEd Washington’s PAL Program.

      “We absolutely wanted our commitment and practice of providing arts education to our students to be sustainable,” notes Farah, “which is why I jumped at the chance to get Madrona on board with PAL.”

      Farah paired PAL’s strong support and resources with a new School Arts Team, comprised of teachers, parents, and a community partner from ArtsCorp. Working with their PAL Coach (a PAL Program alumni principal), the team enthusiastically engaged in purposeful arts planning, creating a vision for the arts at Madrona and laying out three-year arts expectations of what the school would provide for students.

      Momentum and Enthusiasm Grows

      “PAL gave us the momentum and framework,” comments Farah. “The program helped us articulate and determine what Madrona should look like around the arts – it was a big achievement.”

      As enthusiasm grew, so did Madrona’s Arts Team, and the group dived into development of the school Arts Plan – including setting actions and benchmarks to achieve the arts vision.

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

      “A-Ha” Moments and Student Benefits

      Efforts are paying off and there are lots of “a-ha moments.” Through the arts, students are increasing their engagement, developing perseverance, and growing in their self-assurance.

      “For students challenged to excel in more traditional learning methods, the chance to shine in their natural abilities is a big thing,” says Farah. “For example with music and poetry curricula, students have to get up in front of their peers and this gives their confidence a boost.”

      Thanks to their work with PAL, Madrona has transformed its climate and culture. Dynamic school-to-neighborhood arts programming now reaches into the heart of the community and includes an Art Walk, showcase of student art at local restaurants, and an Art Room for families at school open houses.

      District Level Involvement

      Farah has also leveraged her PAL involvement to further the arts within Seattle Public Schools. Last year she was one of several district principals involved in the Leadership Work Group. Under the facilitation and guidance of PAL founder and ArtsEd Washington Executive Director, Una McAlinden, the group identified the supports principals need to build and sustain the arts system-wide, leading to vision and planning work at a regional level in the Central Pathway.

      “PAL is really outstanding and I’m proud of what we did at Madrona,” says Farah. “I’m excited about this kind of focused arts planning at the higher district level and committed to see it happen.”

      Madrona Fast Facts

      Location: Seattle, WA
      District: Seattle Public Schools
      Principal: Farah Thaxton
      Grades: PK-8
      Students: 320
      Teachers: 25 Certified

      Student Demographics

      • 76% Free or Reduced-Price Meals
      • 15% White
      • 70% Black
      • 3% Asian/Pacific Islander
      • 8% Hispanic
      • 4% Two or More Races

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