ArtsEd Washington Programs
Schools that embrace the arts become vibrant places of teaching and learning across all content areas. Discipline rates decrease, students are more engaged in learning, and their academic success increases. Family and community engagement also goes up. To help schools get there, ArtsEd WA provides the following services:
Principals' Arts Leadership (PAL) Program: In order to be successful, new ideas and initiatives need a strong and committed leader. Just imagine what could happen in a school when the principal becomes a champion for the arts. Our case studies show that the results are amazing! Our PAL program offers personalized coaching that turns principals into arts champions and provides a roadmap for growing, sustaining, and improving student learning in the arts. The PAL approach is being recognized nationally as a critical way to grow school-based arts.
Art Lessons in the Classroom (ALIC): Teachers need good tools to do their jobs, but when ArtsEd WA conducted a statewide survey asking teachers about their access to arts curricula, 40% of respondents told us they have to “google” for lessons, revealing a major gap in resources and questions about quality. Locally developed, ALIC is a complete best-practice visual arts curriculum that integrates math, science, and literacy concepts as part of the learning process.
smARTS for students: Parents are their children’s most powerful advocates. School boards and elected officials listen when energized parents express opinions about their children’s education. Many parents don’t know how to go about this, though, so ArtsEd WA offers resources to help them. Our smARTS for students program helps parents learn how to talk to school leaders about their expectations for arts instruction — using online advocacy tools, workshops and presentations, and our annual Arts Education Month celebration.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
We recently collaborated with the WA State PTA to launch our new smARTS for students handbook, an easy-to-use arts education advocacy guide for parents and families. We are excited to expand on this and build a complete toolkit to support those smARTs crusaders who will now be mobilized to stand up and speak out for the arts in our schools.
Our PAL program has been identified as central to the implementation of the Seattle Public Schools’ new arts plan. It’s also been featured in the national principals association’s magazine and our Executive Director was tapped to help the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities launch their Turnaround Arts schools last summer.
Our main challenge is capacity. We need to engage the voices of all families, of all backgrounds, and also support all principals in being leaders for the arts in their schools. There are more than one million students enrolled in Washington state’s 2,600 schools. At our current size, we can only serve a handful of these. Yet every school should provide a creative learning environment. And every student deserves to benefit from the lessons the arts teach. ArtsEd WA is ready to act: to expand the impact of effective programs, to catalyze and support a diverse cadre of advocates, to pursue strategic partnerships, and advance the understanding of how the arts impact students. To do these things, our small but effective organization needs your investment to help us grow and replicate our successes on a much broader scale.