Statewide Nonprofit Enlisted by the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities to Provide Key Strategies for Successful Delivery of Arts Education in Schools

ArtsEd Washington to share its Principals Arts Leadership Program model at the Turnaround Arts Initiative Leadership Conference

Seattle-based nonprofit ArtsEd Washington (ArtsEd WA) announced its participation with the national Turnaround Arts Initiative, a public-private partnership of the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities designed to narrow the achievement gap and increase student engagement through the arts.

Turnaround Arts enlisted ArtsEd WA’s Executive Director Una McAlinden as a presenter and facilitator at their inaugural Leadership Conference taking place later this month. The program tapped the statewide nonprofit because of their dedicated work with principals and schools in Washington state, the unique and innovative nature of its Principals Arts Leadership program (PAL) and because of McAlinden’s reputation, experience, and commitment to ensuring arts provision as part of students’ complete education.

McAlinden will share her expertise, knowledge and the best practices of PAL with the program’s eight selected low-performing elementary and middle schools, advising them on how best to sustain ongoing arts education programming, and helping to ensure a strong path for success as they start the two-year pilot project.

“We are grateful to have the assistance of Una McAlinden and ArtsEd Washington in our Turnaround Arts Leadership Conference this summer,” said Rachel Goslins, Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.  “The expertise and experience they bring to the conference will be an invaluable contribution to its success in building capacity and programmatic depth in our school teams.”

Una McAlinden leading a PAL training workshop.

“We are honored to be involved in such a prestigious and important project,” says McAlinden. “This is a chance for us to take our highly successful arts education leadership program (PAL) and share its implementation strategies to school leaders on a national level.”

From an initial concept nearly eight years ago, PAL was carried into development by McAlinden based on the simple premise that empowering the principal as a leader in arts education was the key to ensuring sustainable change in schools.

With a customized set of arts leadership and planning resources, PAL is now bringing much needed support, guidance, and tools to schools, allowing a site-based team to build an effective plan that sustains powerful and sequential arts teaching and learning. Most importantly, the program positions the principal as the instructional leader in the arts, empowering his or her role to effectively guide school progress and expectations.

Arts plans reflect the individual school’s characteristics and community, identify opportunities for growth, and define the pathways to offer high quality arts instruction using existing and new resources. Key stages of implementation are designed to ensure successful impacts to students and the community. To date, almost 50 schools in Washington have participated in the program, which requires a three-year commitment.

In addition to sharing elements of the PAL model at the conference, McAlinden looks forward to the opportunity to gain additional insights into this work and learn from the participating schools, as well as from fellow TA presenters.

“The arts are critical in preparing students for success in school, work, and life,” says McAlinden.  “It is my firm belief that if we can continue sharing best practices and expand the delivery of this core curriculum to schools while teaching educators the ways in which they can be successful in sustaining the arts, we can ensure the development of the ‘whole child’ and work towards a day when all students will receive the arts advantage.”

Taking place at the Wye River campus of the nationally acclaimed Aspen Institute, the Turnaround Arts Leadership Conference will provide a capacity-building learning experience for principals and team members from each of the schools. Participants will learn how to achieve a highly effective and integrated arts program and have the opportunity to begin development of their individual strategic plans to maximize and incorporate arts strategies for their students.

About ArtsEd Washington

ArtsEd Washington is a nonprofit organization devoted to advancing and increasing arts education in K-12 schools, working to ensure that all students in Washington state have access to 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.

About the President’s Committee on The Arts and The Humanities

Created in 1982 under President Reagan, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) is an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues. The PCAH works directly with the three primary cultural agencies—National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services—as well as other federal partners and the private sector, to address policy questions in the arts and humanities, to initiate and support key programs in those disciplines and to recognize excellence in the field. Its core areas of focus are education, cultural exchange, and creative economy. Under the leadership of the First Lady and Honorary Chairman, and through the efforts of its federal and private members, the President’s Committee has compiled an impressive legacy over its tenure, conducting major research and policy analysis, and catalyzing important federal cultural programs, both domestic and international.

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