2010-2011 Winners:
Pittsburgh Carmalt Science & Tech Academy
Estelle Elementary
Jonathan D. Hyatt P.S. 154
Orems Elementary
Zane North Elementary
John P. Oldham Elementary
Oxford Elementary
Springville K-8 School
Harriet Gifford Elementary
Evergreen Mill Elementary
Flocktown/Kossmann Elementary
RJ Richey Elementary
John D. Shaw Elementary
Public School 315 - School of Performing Arts
East Glacier Park Grade School
Pennington Elementary
Mitchell Elementary
Monticello Intermediate
Norwood Elementary
Bower Hill Elementary

 

Principal Sandra Och
Pittsburgh Carmalt Science & Tech Academy
Pittsburgh, PA

“What if” students could see the impact immigrants had in the creation of their contemporary communities and meet with community historians to identify the relationship between architecture and the community?

Students will explore the history of communities and the roles that architecture and arts play throughout Pittsburgh neighborhoods. They will create 3D replicas of buildings and a video that relates art and social studies. In collaboration with the Pittsburgh Mayor’s office and Carnegie Mellon University, students will study history, arts and architecture of their community, develop site plans and design their own community. They will write and video tape a commercial to promote their "new" community, share their live commercial with other schools in the district and throughout the U.S. via distance learning.

 

Principal Jacqueline Daniilidis
Estelle Elementary
Marrero, LA

“What if” we could help the children who have experienced significant loss due to the oil spill and hurricane Katrina to become more resilient? What if we could empower our students and residents to address these serious issues that affect our lives?

Students will study the Louisiana eco-system and the impact of the oil spill and Katrina on our homes, habitats, and livelihoods. They will contact the wildlife and wetland preservation associations and public officials to learn how natural resources can be protected. They will also explore nature & human error impact on wildlife. They will create a mural that reflects key learnings of the impact human error and nature have had on wildlife. They will generate an advocacy campaign that integrates art, science and civics education.

 

Principal Marsha Elliott
Jonathan D. Hyatt P.S. 154
Bronx, NY

“What if” our Character Education curriculum could be integrated with our literacy program and we could explore the world of puppetry to help students find their individual voices as important tools in communications—both literacy and visual arts?

Using the theme of "Puppetry in Our Community" and by partnering with Central Park’s Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre and City Parks Puppet Mobile, the students will bring our Character Education curriculum to life.

Students will explore the history of puppetry, its uses in different cultures, and as a “self-identity” tool to help children define who they are and what they want to contribute to their community. Each student will create an original puppet and perform with classmates. This arts-infused collaboration program combines visual art and literacy skills, script writing, puppet creation, and performance experiences into a robust creative expression and communications program.

 

Principal Marcia Wolf
Orems Elementary
Baltimore, MD

“What if” students are able to create meaningful connections between core content areas and visual art in order to share their learning and artistic expression with each other, parents and their community?

Students will create a "Library within a Library", featuring their originally authored and illustrated books. "Orem Authors" is a project that would provide students with an opportunity to write, illustrate and publish their own books as well as work in collaborative teams on the production and sharing of their original tales. Taking responsibility for publishing their team’s work will help students solve problems and appreciate the unique talents each individual brings to the group process. They will build written and visual art literacy skills as they transform their thoughts into storylines and visuals that communicate. Teachers and students will discover ways to combine writing skills, visual communication, team work processes, and creativity.

 

Principal Thomas Santo
Zane North Elementary
Collingswood, NJ

“What if” a caring school community was created by developing positive relationships? What if the arts became a key means of sharing thoughts and feelings, helping students feel connected, and enhance their understand of interpersonal communication? What if creativity inspired a vision of resourcefulness? What if nurturing was fostered through the arts? What if learners were challenged to address their civic duty?

Students will use problem solving skills to address personal fears. Zane North Elementary School kindergarteners will be paired with high school arts students to explore a collaborative arts based expression of feelings and relationships. Students will be inspired by famous artists via exhibits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They will critique famous artists and discuss feelings with their buddy partners. Maya Angelou and Jean-Michel Basquiat's book, "Life Doesn't Frighten Me" will provide the springboard for students to create art on personal, collaborative canvases.. They will learn to appreciate core values that support positive relationships, creativity and individuality.

 

Principal Wesley Manaday
John P. Oldham Elementary
Norwood, MA

“What if” the Oldham School teachers could shift the focus of instruction back to inspiring students to being creative in their learning by linking art with English Language Arts specifically in story writing? When children's stories are driven by rich visual images, their writing is transformed in many powerful ways. Children can really astonish themselves and others by what they create.

Using the University of New Hampshire literacy expert, Beth Olshansky's Center for the Advancement of Art-Based Literacy program, Oldham will create a story-making program. Students’ learning in literacy is also connected to their knowledge in the other major content areas of Math, Science and Technology, History and Social Studies. This program will help illuminate a way to show that creativity can flourish and transform an "underperforming" school into a “high performing school.”

 

Principal Jeff Clay
Oxford Elementary
Oxford, MS

“What if” we could build a team of teachers who did not think of the arts as "fluff" but rather, as a core subject that is a powerful tool that can teach the required objectives in an authentic, meaningful, and memorable way? What if we could better meet the needs of all of our students, from the students who struggle the most to learn and need to feel the power of success to the highest performing students who need new creative challenges to feel engaged?

By developing and implementing a school wide cross-curricular unit on Walter Anderson, a Mississippi artist, we could give teachers and their students an exciting new way to think about the arts, how they teach, and how students learn.

The plan is to create an invigorating new culture that believes in an arts-infused curriculum, using interdisciplinary lesson plans and assessment rubrics. The culminating experience will be a student-created museum exhibit and opening reception at the Ole Miss University Museum.

 

Principal Cheryl Ames
Springville K-8 School
Portland, OR

“What if” Springville staff all worked toward creating a "culture of quality"? What if this culture of quality included infusing the arts into other curriculum areas, resulting in students who learned the skills of inquiry, developed perseverance in creating high quality work, and increased achievement in reading, writing, science and social studies? What if we created standards for performance for each student product? What if we spent a good deal of time learning and practicing artistic skills with our students? What if we invited local experts to teach our students the artistic skills related to specific products? What if we could create a school in which visitors would comment: "Wow, there's a culture of quality in this place."

They will embed the arts into "Learning Expeditions"—big units of study that merge art, science and social studies learning. Each expedition will result in at least one "high quality" product, for example: student authored books for school library and posters to beautify the school and excite other students to want more information. The program will create assessment standards for "high quality academic learning" and artistic "craftsmanship."

 

Principal Joe Corcoran
Harriet Gifford Elementary
Elgin, IL

School data for the 2009-10 school year indicated a high rate of disrespect toward peers, adults and learning. Further investigation revealed the majority of students being referred were African American and Hispanic males who were struggling academically. Currently there is a district initiative in place to mentor boys in Grades 4-6 who are at most risk of not graduating high school. “What if”... 20 of those boys were given the opportunity to work together once a week on social skills, cultural awareness, and team building?

Twenty high risk boys will be engaged in this new after-school program. The boys will help define ownership of the club, visit art galleries and museums, and gain a better understanding of their personal heritage and community culture. As the culminating experience they will create original in-depth projects on their personal family heritage that reflects pride in themselves and tolerance for others. They will learn to use artistic expression and visual communications to deal with anger, frustration and disappointment. Success metrics include diminished number of disrespect referrals, improved grades and classroom participation, and attitude/behavior scores that show the boys gained pride in themselves and their ability to achieve.

 

Principal Laurie McDonald
Evergreen Mill Elementary
Leesburg, VA

“What if”... an entire school community worked creatively all at one time. What if every student, every teacher and each of the support personnel periodically stopped what they were doing; dropped everything, and begin to create? What incredible creativity could be unleashed at Evergreen Mill Elementary School? As individuals; in small groups; as classes; and as a whole school, we would work to creatively solve problems using a variety of art materials. This infusion of creative experiences will help students make connections between various disciplines. They will write about their creations and create in every discipline. This program will encourage students to take risks in creatively solving problems and facing challenges in a visual fashion. Students will self-assess their creations from a multi-discipline perspective.

Each month students would be given a challenge or problem to solve, visually. They would be challenged to use artistic skills to think creatively, to solve and to create. By making creativity a focal point of our school and of our teaching and learning, STOP, DROP and CREATE would help Evergreen Mill students be better prepared for being active, involved and responsible citizens of the 21st Century world. The program builds collaborative work and community/parent participation into the plan, increases the broader understanding of the value creativity brings to education.

 

Principal Michael Craver
Flocktown/Kossmann Elementary
Long Valley, NJ

“What if” artistic creativity and mathematical concepts were linked in teaching and learning so that the two mutually foster wonderment and understanding for students? What if the concepts in mathematics and explorations in art mutually reinforced learning so students are more skilled in both disciplines?

The plan is to apply "authentic mathematics" and artistic analysis skills to "Problem Based Learning Units" that incorporate math and art knowledge. Students will create personal portfolios that document their learning, communicate with peers using wikis and by publishing their projects in electronic formats. Students will learn to appreciate the value of artistic knowledge to solve real world problems, for example the Cartesian plane.

 

Principal Jill Wittekiend
RJ Richey Elementary
Burnet, TX

"What If… We cranked it up a notch?" is an innovative, sustainable project that integrates art and science by building observational skills, descriptive vocabulary through analogy and creative approaches to learning. It is a means to strengthen skills for visual literacy and expression through which nuances in design are perceived and shared. It teaches students to see!

Students will learn about Leonardo da Vinci, Rube Goldberg, and other artists who combine visual arts, language arts, and science to solve problems. They will develop a heightened awareness of textures, patterns and structures, integrating these observations into their individual works of art, which will then be displayed in collaborative installations in the community. This project addresses needs by engaging students in activities from across the curriculum, reinforcing skills in observation, expression, interpretation and reflection. By implementing artistic problem-solving and creative vision through collaborative effort, their work will celebrate the exploration of art in science and of science in art.

 

Principal Karl Schleich
John D. Shaw Elementary
Wasilla, Alaska

“What if” tolerance could be taught? What if we made time for families in our school community to gather, talk and create? How could collaborative visual arts experiences foster understanding and tolerance? What if a school community spent time together focusing on what we do have in common, creating art, and learning about each other?

"Salmon on Parade" will enhance communication between staff and families in our community where Russian, Ukrainian and English language and culture live side-by-side. This project will stimulate conversations about how our families came to Alaska, the culture each came from and this community’s culture that brings together our heritage into a fishing town. Families will attend a workshop on salmon migration and family migration, seeing parallels between our livelihoods and our lives. Each family will receive a 15 inch wooden salmon as their artistic foundation and represent their heritage in visual arts and storytelling.

 

Public School 315 – School of Performing Arts
Brooklyn, NY

“What if” schools relied more on project-based authentic assessment rather than the standardized tests?

In this world of standardized testing and using data from high stakes, one-time assessments, we are now seeing that students are not ready for the rigors of a four-year college education. Project based assessments would be one way to achieve this. Project-based Learning emphasizes the importance of relationship-driven classrooms where adult mentors help students engage more deeply in the learning process and develop rigorous positive attitudes towards academic achievement - something standardized tests can't measure.

Third grade children will do a case study of an African community. They will collaboratively research and create projects in the form of: Choice Boards, RAFT, (Role, Audience, Format, and Topic), WebQuest, Learning contracts or cubing. The culminating experience will be sharing these projects in a Museum Sharing event.

 

Principal Karlona Sheppard
East Glacier Park Grade School
East Glacier Park, MT

“What if” we could teach the importance of cultural heritage through artists and their work, in the past and present? “What if” artistic talents and creative abilities were awakened and nurtured by schools? What if we introduce students to local artists as role models and mentors who could help them integrate the seven essential understandings of Montana's American Indian Tribes in a fresh, innovative arts curriculum?

This program will teach East Glacier Park students (as well as others around the country who engage in the promising practices developed here) an authentic curriculum on the twelve Montana American Indian tribes. Students will use a variety of 2-D and 3-D art forms) to solve problems, expand their creative thinking, and work like a collaborative community. They will visit galleries and examine how art is studied, created and displayed. They will learn about their heritage and present their cultural background both in a historical and contemporary context.

 

Principal Carolyn Wood
Pennington Elementary
Nashville, TN

“What if” we could help the families of this community heal from the devastating flood that impacted over one-third of our school population. What if we could help children overcome their fears of water and become more resilient to crisis? What if we could help families create scrapbooks that help them regain the memories lost to the floods?

The plan is to help students understand water supply and conservation. We will form an Environment Club with students and parents focused on understanding the Nashville water supply, why floods occur, and the impact of floods on our community. They will explore the infrastructure around the two rivers and learn what tools are in place to prevent every rain from becoming a community crisis. They will study a historical perspective on living in our community with a visit to the Buchanan Log Home in Donelson. There will be several tangible outcomes--scrapbooks that explore both family history and history of our community. These will help families to rebuild memories that many lost during the flood. Science, social studies and art will be integral to the project. But the most positive outcome of this venture will be building children’s inner strength to move forward despite the hurdles and barriers that families continue to face.

 

Principal Luis Soria
Mitchell Elementary
Chicago, IL

“What if” the art room was transformed into an art studio where students are given choice regarding materials, mediums and subject matter? What if the art program focused on problem solving and idea generation to teach 21st century learning skills? What if art students focused on process and could articulate their thinking through artist statements? What if professional artists worked alongside elementary students in the art studio and became mentors? What if we regard students as artists and offer them real choices for responding to their own ideas and interests through the making of art? What if students explored Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings in the art studio?

The proposal challenges a traditional way of teaching elementary school art and transforms their art room into a true studio. This innovative “choice based” model enables students to pursue a passion that inspires them, urges them to work at their individual pace and to collaborate on design and executing ideas. This model focuses on mastery instead of sampling in a student driven art education program. Students will be introduced to the basic vocabulary and techniques, but will be treated as adult artists would be--to explore in depth the areas that most spark their interest. The outcome will be students' will have knowledge of the role art plays in civilizations, past and present and they will have a deep personal connection to the art form they chose to immerse themselves in.

 

Principal Mary Donaldson
Monticello Intermediate
Monticello, AR

“What if” our students were empowered to develop an educational community that replaces apathetic participation with passionate, active learning through real world, applicable projects by integrating content and curriculums? What if our school expanded their sense of community in local, state, national and international partnerships? What if our teachers felt confident in a child's ability to manage their own education independently? What if we taught in a truly child-centered environment with conviction and released ourselves from the podium-pressure of "will it be on the test"?

"Clay Castles" project "takes an instinctually creative, playful act and turns it into an extensive scientific research experience." Students will be applying information in 5 subject areas to one arts-infused project and use "surveillance monitoring" to watch the project evolve over time/overnight/over web, real time. Using technology (Weather bug Station, webpage, and blog) students won't stop learning about the project when the bell rings at 3 pm. The school will partner with University of Arkansas at Monticello's science department chair, Professor Edson, as a geology resource for this cross-curricular project.

 

Principal Patrice Goldys
Norwood Elementary
Baltimore, MD

“What if” our fifth grade students could build their leadership skills and become ambassadors for our school? What if our students could communicate and share their cultivated creative ideas with the broader community? What if our students could collaborate with one another and use their critical thinking skills to solve artistic problems? What if our students were to reach out to other children, gifting their work for the benefit of another person? How would that affect our students? Would it help them to be more compassionate to one another? Would it help our fifth graders become better leaders in our 21st century school?

Students will explore techniques and gain inspiration from the Baltimore American Visionary Art Museum artist, Jennifer Strunge. They will design original "critters" and create storylines for the characters, focused on problem solving themes. Students will create book illustrations for their stories and study book binding techniques to create collaborative storybooks. To gain communication, compassion, and leadership skills, they will then share their critters and homemade DVD movies with patients at University of Maryland Children's Hospital.

 

Principal Kelly Gustafson
Bower Hill Elementary
Venetia, PA

“What if” Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, and Vincent van Gogh visited our science class? What if third grade science inquiry was meaningful and also beautiful? What if each student could get others to see what moves me? What better way to learn about scientific observation skills and deductive reasoning than to be immersed in an outdoor school-garden filled with flowers, vegetables and butterflies while studying the inspiration behind famous artists' masterpieces?

Just as Monet and other impressionist artists gained their artistic inspiration from their gardens, so too will the children at Bower Hill Elementary. Students will work on their mobile, outdoor, folding easels and personal canvases to bring their scientific observations to life artistically. The science and art teachers will work with enrichment facilitator and library media specialist to teach children how to gather plant data, make careful observations, and apply what their garden teaches them to art.