ArtsEd Washington is thrilled to shine the spotlight on Black Diamond Elementary , a Year 2 school of our Principals Arts Leadership (PAL) program.  We recently sat down with Principal Gerrie Garton to learn about what changes she’s seen in the school, the staff, and the students since participating in the program.

Q & A with PAL Principal Gerrie Garton

How has the Principals Arts Leadership (PAL) program helped you in your role as the school’s instructional leader?

Working with PAL has confirmed the importance of arts education; providing validation that what we’re doing is right. It has also provided solid research and evidence, and connects participating principals with their counterparts, which helps a principal and school obtain successful results. I’ve personally had the opportunity to interact with a network of other principals and PAL has given me excitement and hope. At a time when we’re all caught up in test scores and more, we’re finding the arts are a core tool that’s helping us reach our goals. We have to remember it’s about cultivating the whole child and recognizing different abilities whether it’s excelling in a performance, or drawing a picture.

How do you work with staff to support the arts within the school?

Starting with our Arts Plan created through PAL, we share best practices on our arts education programming as the impetus for our staff to really come together in a team effort. After a teacher has completed one of the arts lessons, we’ll discuss it as a group at our next staff meeting. We review the results and impacts, and teachers talk about what the students were able to achieve and how other classes may benefit. We’ve come a long way, it’s exciting.

Read more about Black Diamond Elementary’s story, and share it with your community!

Photo credit: Black Diamond Elementary