In a transformational year of growth for ArtsEd Washington, 2013-2014 is also promising to be a very big year for the arts in schools.

For starters, our flagship Principals Arts Leadership (PAL) program is making the jump this year from a school-by-school implementation model to a districtwide model.

Why does that matter? Well, PAL has long proven to be a powerful tool for over 50 schools (serving nearly 25,000 students annually) in developing the leadership, commitment, strategies, and plans necessary to provide great arts learning to their students. However, with so many schools in need around Washington, going school-by school across the entire state would be a slow process indeed.

Once the redesign is done, PAL will be ready to empower entire districts at a time to build capacity, vision, plans, and resources to provide high quality arts education to all students. More schools, more students, more impact!

And now it’s official! ArtsEd Washington is teaming up with Seattle Public Schools (SPS), the largest district in Washington, to begin implementing our PAL program all across the Seattle. As the districtwide K-12 arts plan moves into action, SPS will be using our PAL tools and resources to help every public school in Seattle to build leadership teams, visions, and plans to deliver high quality arts learning to every student.

Last Spring, Executive Director Una McAlinden helped Seattle’s Central Pathway, one of the most diverse pathways in the district, to create their own arts vision using the same process used in PAL. In January 2014, the Central Pathway will begin to realize that vision as the revamped PAL program is launched there first, before moving on to other pathways in the years to come. Can’t wait to see how Seattle students shine with their new Creative Advantage!

Meanwhile our K-6 visual arts and literacy curriculum, Art Lessons in the Classroom (ALIC), is also getting a facelift this year. Not only are the lessons being revised to align with new Common Core standards in literacy and math (in addition to state standards), but they’re also being rewritten to include connections to nearly 80 masterworks from major museums and public collections all over the state.

The curriculum already comes with step-by-step lesson plans, assessment tools, teacher training and tips, family letters, and much more. An online portal with helpful lesson how-to videos, teacher forums, and images of the masterworks will also include the updates so that subscribers with earlier versions of the curriculum will be able to access the new, improved lessons as well. Revisions are scheduled to be completed later this year, and when they are, look out. ALIC will be an unbeatable resource for schools and teachers.

Each of these school programs has already impacted thousands of students in Washington, and with a year of updates and expansions ahead, we’re just getting started!