2011-2012 Winners:
Gardens Elementary
Dr. John Grieco Elementary
Umonhon Nation Public Elementary
Eastridge Elementary
Kate Bond Elementary
Waverly Park School
McIlvaine Early Childhood Center
Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School
Sunnyside Elementary
North Side Elementary
PS 245
Manhattan Charter School
Twin Valley Elementary Center
Roger Clap Innovation School
Anderson Elementary School
Greenfield Elementary
North Street School
Crellin Elementary
Lake Forest Elementary
Emma L. Arleth Elementary


Literacy: Linking Arts, Reading, and Families
Gardens Elementary
Pasadena, TX
Celia Fleischman, Principal

       “What if” students learned to read with a paintbrush and write through songs?  What if they built literacy skills through movement, music and art?
       By linking stories to classical music and art, students will make real world connections beyond the pages of a book.  Using a school-created curriculum, their Linking Literacy program, students will creatively express themselves in response to literature.  Art activities will be incorporated into Family Literacy events, and a Multi-Media Resource Center will be created.


Art Installations Focus on Natural History and Environment
Dr. John Grieco Elementary
Englewood, NJ
Jeff White, Principal

       "What if" Englewood Elementary students were able to work collaboratively with community leaders and construct innovative, contemporary art installations from recycled materials and focus that art on Englewood's natural landscape and habitats?
       Students will explore the importance of preserving their environment, research the habitats within their community, partner with the local Recycling Division of the Department of Public Works, and create art installations that reflect their cross-curricular explorations.


Celebrate Arts, Heritage, and Culture of Umonhon Nation Tribe
Umonhon Nation Public Elementary
Macy, NE
Broderick Steed, Principal

       “What if” students could embrace and celebrate their unique native heritage and use art to explore the “four hills of life” traditions of the Umonhon Nation Tribe?
       Students will explore local cultural arts and partner with community elders and cultural leaders to create heritage-based art projects.  Visiting artists from the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln, NE, will extend this experience, contributing specialized materials that will allow students to elaborate on their creations.


Arts Teach Citizenship Principles
Eastridge Elementary
Lincoln, NE
Deb Dabbert, Principal

       “What if” students’ interests in the arts could be developed and recognized by integrating dance, theatre, music and visual arts into school-wide citizenship assemblies?
       Practicing artists will support and discuss the Three Goals for Life behavior program.  Students will observe how artists have implemented the Three Goals for Life citizenship principles in their lives and careers.  


“Think Shows” Infuse Art into Science Curriculum
Kate Bond Elementary
Memphis, TN
Lyle Conley, Principal

       “What if” all students were assessed not only by paper and pencil, but by how their creative thinking enhanced their science understanding?  
       Student art projects will utilize various mediums to explore scientific theories and concepts.  Creative thinking propels both art and science. Their integrated projects will be showcased at “Think Shows” and permanent “creative thinking” displays.


Art Builds Global Awareness: Celebrate our Similarities and Differences
Waverly Park School
East Rockaway, NY
Lucille McAssey, Principal

       “What if” a demographically diverse community used art to increase global awareness and strengthen bonds between new neighbors?  What if universal art and literature motifs could be explored through art and lead to better dialogue, acceptance and respect?
       Students will research their personal heritage as well as the cultural similarities and uniqueness in their community which has become a micro United Nations.  Engaging of the arts of multiple cultures uncover the common roots and lead to a series of lesson plans that will be shared.


Family “Creation Stations” Increase Parent Involvement
McIlvaine Early Childhood Center
Magnolia, DE
Sherry Kijowski, Principal
       “What if” parents could see the value of creative play and arts-infused education?  What if they could participate in hands-on experiences and reach their own epiphanies as they engage in art activities alongside their children?
       Monthly parent events will feature interactive “Creation Stations”.  Students and families will assess their projects based on their ability to collaborate, communicate, critically think, and develop creative ideas.  Each event includes a take-home component that will keep the creative spark alive long after the event is over. 


Exploring History and Culture through Northwest Coast Native Art Forms
Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School
Castle Rock, CO
Deborah Lemmer, Principal

       “What if” a sense of belonging could be cultivated through learning about and emulating the culture of a Native American society?
       Students will study the meaning of belonging to a society through the lens of the Pacific Northwest Coast Native Americans and their traditional artifact, the totem pole.  They will construct a clay cylinder imprinted with textures, symbols and words that represent their individuality with a deeper understanding of cultural symbols.


Using Art to Restore a Flood-Devastated Community
Sunnyside Elementary
Minot, ND
Cindy Cook, Principal

       “What if” we could use creative experiences to support our families who suffered great losses in recent floods? What if art would help parents engage in our school, bring our community closer together, and ultimately increase in graduation rates?
    Monthly Family Nights will engage parents and students in thematic art activities designed to encourage creative thinking, parent-child collaboration, and family communication.  Helping parents see the potential to partner with teachers to keep students engaged in school long term, is an over-arching goal.  Faculty will work with families between events to reinforce opportunities for creative explorations at home so they can achieve goals together.  


Access to Art with Adapted Equipment and Instruction
North Side Elementary
Harrisburg, PA
Dr. Mary Nardo, Principal

       “What if” students who have multiple physical challenges could produce art entirely by themselves, without having aspects of the process taken over by an aide or another adult?  What if the art teacher and special education teacher could collaborate to give these students a voice to be heard and understood?
       An innovatively adapted art room with a high sensory component and uniquely modified equipment will be designed according to the students’ needs.  “Out of the box” thinking will inspire staff to generate appropriate lessons and art creation techniques that enable students to express themselves in ways never possible before.  Innovative lessons will be shared as inspiration for other schools.


Math and Art Based Visual Projects
PS 245
Brooklyn, NY
Patricia Kannengieser, Principal

       “What if” students used art projects to deepen their understanding of math and to communicate their expanded knowledge of mathematical concepts?
       Collaborative teams will explore the math in art museums and create visual projects based on math concepts.  They will explore three-dimensional artwork, collage, painting, templates, bookmaking and architecture to illustrate a variety of mathematical concepts.  Projects will be shared at an Art-Math Expo and incorporated into a 100th day celebration.


Artist Explorations of International Cultures
Manhattan Charter School
New York, NY
Genie DePolo, Principal

       “What if” a visual arts program could take students “Around the World in 180 Days”? How can we provide children with a wider view of the world during a year-long exploration of the arts in five countries’ cultures (Italy, France, Poland, Puerto Rico and China)?
       This cross-curricular exploration of other countries and cultures will align with instruction units in art, humanities, English language arts and world languages and will culminate with an exploration of these countries’ contributions to Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibits.


“Listen, Move and Create”—Communicating through Rhythm and Self-Expression
Twin Valley Elementary Center
Elverson, PA
Gail Porrazzo, Principal

       “What if” students combined their mental and physical energy and capabilities to create visual, musical and kinesthetic works of art?
       Inspiring students’ creative thinking and self-expression becomes a whole body-whole mind experience in the Twin Valley Elementary “Listen, Move and Create” program.  Students will work in collaborative groups to examine the interrelated aspects of art, music and kinesthetic movement. The assignments will require verbal, visual and gesture communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking to create tangible outcomes. Lessons and assessment rubrics will be shared.


Architecture and Design Connect School to Community
Roger Clap Innovation School
Dorchester, MA
Justin Vernon, Principal

       “What if” the unique architecture and design of this 115-year-old school building (the second-oldest school in Boston) became the foundation for studying the powers of observation, visual literacy, history, community change, and creative expression, as well as aligned with the math, language arts and social studies curriculum?
       Using the school building and surrounding community as a learning laboratory, students will build analytical skills and deepen their understanding of how the past and present interconnect.
       This innovative, hands-on learning program will enable students to express their thoughts through original books, collages, drawings, paintings, and three-dimensional art, as well as creative writing.

Restoring an Art Education Program
Anderson Elementary School
Dixon, CA
Amy Blakey, Principal

       “What if” students, parents and staff joined together in a collaborative effort to raise funds to restore Anderson Elementary School’s art education program and form the Anderson Academy of Art, Technology and Science?  “What if” students could forget the pressure of test scores and find their inner creativity and their voice for original thought? What if the doors to their imaginations opened and by adding art we changed students’ perceptions of school?
       A team of parents, knowledgeable paraprofessionals, retired and current teachers, and a student leadership team are combining efforts to provide an art education program.    

O’Keeffe’s Art Inspires Study of Native Timucuans and Modern Jacksonville
Greenfield Elementary
Jacksonville, FL
Art Lauzon, Principal

       “What if” students deeply engage in three genres of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work—cityscapes, flora, and archeological artifacts and use this inspiration to explore the history of their community through a fully integrated art, science, and social studies experience?  “What if collaboration between the school, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, Cummer Museum, Jacksonsville Library and Mayor’s office reinforced this cross-curricular approach of using art to understand the current and past cultures of Jacksonville, Florida?
       This cross-curricular program uses an outdoor field laboratory to study Native Timucuan archeology and the context for how they influenced the contemporary city.


International Folktales Inspire Puppetry and Clay Character Animation
North Street School
Windsor Locks, CT
Jeffrey Ferreira, Principal

       “What if” students could use the visual arts to broaden their understanding of their families’ country of origin, particularly the cultures of India and Pakistan, where many of this community has roots?  What if exploring traditional folktales inspired students to create and animate original stories based on similar plots, characters, or settings?
    Students will choose a country of origin to research with specific emphasis on the stories, folktales and artwork of that culture.  They will create original stories and artworks around the common themes that emerge from their analysis.  The school hopes to establish a relationship with sister schools in other countries for the exchange of ideas, stories and animations.

“Operation Conservation” Uses Art Projects to Promote Environmentalism
Crellin Elementary
Oakland, MD
Dana McCauley, Principal

       “What if” families experienced an Energy Expo where the students taught their parents science-based conservation lessons through arts-rich activities?  “What if” this art teacher became the Chief Creative Officer of the school, helping classroom teachers unleash their creativity and creative confidence?
       Through “Operation Conservation”, students will explore environmental studies while using art to communicate their innovative ideas.  Classroom teachers will use the arts to awaken their curiosity and build project-based lessons.  Students will create journals and “I wonder…” charts and build self-assessment rubrics.  The project will culminate with an Energy Exposition that engages families.

Living Galleries use Drama, Visual Arts, and Literature as Tools of Expression
Lake Forest Elementary
Greenville, SC
Cynthia Coggins, Principal

       “What if” students placed themselves in life-sized paintings based on literary works and performed for the local community using stories, scenery, props, and costumes of their own design and construction?  
       Students will hone their creative writing and editing skills while building skills in staging, costume creation, and backdrop planning and construction.  New assessment tools will be created based on teachers’ anecdotal observations, student reflective journals, and peer reviews of the collaboration.  Students will assess how they made artistic decisions and communicated with audience. The project partners include Bob Jones University and local theatre companies.


Programmable Robots Merge Art, Design, Mechanical and Environmental Science
Emma L. Arleth Elementary
Parlin, NJ
Timothy Byrne, Principal

    “What if” students used art supplies, LEGOs, and recycled items plus divergent thinking, problem solving, design and engineering information to create programmable robots?  What if subject matter experts interact with student teams to make the project-approach learning relevant?
     This constructivist view of education uses hands-on learning and collaborative conversations to beget original thought.  Student-generated videos will document the project-based learning and be enriched by unique, student-created musical scores. Lessons plans and videos will be shared, spreading these innovative ideas to other schools.