The 2012 Schools of Excellence in Arts Education Awards Presented by ArtsEd Washington in partnership with the Association of Washington School Principals

ArtsEd Washington in partnership with the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) is pleased to announce the top two Washington state school winners of the second annual state Schools of Excellence in Arts Education Award, honoring K-12 schools providing exemplary arts education to their students.

  • Adams Elementary, Grades K-5 (Seattle): Located in the heart of the Ballard community, this diverse public elementary school directly integrates the arts into their curriculum and links it to district and state standards. Generous parent/PTA support and participation, as well as grants, have helped sustain and expand arts integration, and the staff is currently working to develop a systemic, articulated K-5 arts curriculum plan. The school was recently honored with the Mayor’s Arts Award, and in 2005 they were recognized by the King County Arts Commission for their excellence in incorporating art into student learning.
  • Parkwood Elementary, Grades K-6 (Shoreline): Nestled within the central corridor of the Shoreline School District, Parkwood Elementary serves a diverse student base including many students who have severe disabilities. The school has continued their fifteen year commitment to the arts, growing their program from two to three teacher leads to now having all staff engaged in ongoing arts integration. Arts instruction goals are a standard part of their school plan, the arts are offered within the school day, and lessons are aligned with standards. Community partnerships have helped expand school programming, such as with the Seattle Dance Project that resulted in twelve months of dance instruction for every student and included multiple student performances.


The selected schools were specifically chosen for making all components of the arts – dance, music, theater and visual arts – an essential part of their students’ education.  Awards will be officially presented to the schools later this month.

“It is important to celebrate schools, such as these, that are taking active and intentional steps to ensure students receive instruction in the arts during school hours – required learning by law in Washington state,” said Una McAlinden, Executive Director for ArtsEd Washington. “The commitment of the school principals and teachers to provide the arts equitably is critical to the long-term sustainability of these programs and ensures that every student reaps the many benefits of sustained arts participation.”

“With the new expectations of principals and teachers on the evaluation front, the arts are going to be more important than ever,” said Gary Kipp, AWSP’s Executive Director. “ We commend the work of these schools and their respective building leaders who continue to pave the way for arts integration.”

Additionally, ArtsEd Washington and AWSP recognized two other award nominees as “highly commended” for their strong artseducation programs.  Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, an independent 6-12 college preparatory school located in Seattle, was noted for its high level of offerings in multiple arts disciplines and for effectively tapping into Seattle arts institutions to form community connections. Cascade High School, a 9-12 public high school located in Everett, was also acknowledged for their excellent provision of all arts disciplines, as well as the school’s parental involvement and commitment of its Associated Student Body to sharing arts with the greater community.

Students dancing at Parkwood Elementary, courtesy of Seattle Dance Project.

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

Read the 2012 Schools of Excellence requirements.

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Schools of Excellence in Arts Education Awards Archive: read about the 2011 Schools of Excellence winners.