Crayola and NAESP are proud to help principals Champion Creatively Alive Children and support arts-infused education.

Arts-infused education teaches children the four Cs — communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity — skills they need to understand our increasingly interconnected world and thrive as 21st century citizens.

NAESP and Crayola have awarded 20 NAESP members with grants valued at $3,000 to help principals implement and document innovative arts-education projects at their schools and share best practices for arts education with fellow educators.

2012-2013 Winners


Visual Thinking Strategies Improve Writing Skills
Ridgeway Elementary School
Columbia, MO
Ben Tilley, Principal

“What if” characters jumped off a painting and sparked a fierce conversation about art and writing?  “What if” boys who never enjoyed writing before used ancient drawings, mystical statues, and their own paintings to stimulate their creative writing? With assignments like monster conflicts and “Letters from Dracula,” boys are energized and become proficient writers. Students in the Ridgeway Boys Writing Club will use art and Visual Thinking Strategies to close the writing achievement gap.  The girls’ basic literacy assessment scores consistently exceed boys’ scores by 20 points at Ridgeway. This program includes professional development for teachers on the research-based Visual Thinking Strategies teaching method.  The Boys Writing Project is developed in partnership with the University of Missouri Art Education Department.

Design Thinking Solves Problems as Students Create Literacy Games
Tomoka Elementary School
Ormond Beach, FL
Julie Johnson, Principal

Tomoka Elementary students will use Design Thinking and Visual-Lingual interpretations to create literacy games for peers to play. They will collaborate with other schools in the U.S. and India as they design their literacy games. This program, based on Common Core Standards, is being developed in partnership with University of Central Florida/Daytona State College. Students will learn to “read and write art” and use global insights to develop innovative learning games that others enjoy playing. The results will be showcased at the spring “Children’s Carnival of Creative Curiosities”. Students will assess their ability to “game-ify” the content, using assessment rubrics.   

Cross-Continental Study of Ancient and Contemporary Civilizations
Valley Elementary School
Eden, UT
Dave Hales, Principal

At Valley Elementary School, SKYPE connections will provide virtual field trips for sixth graders to explore ancient and modern civilizations. Through the multi-disciplinary lens of social studies, art, language, math, science and technology, students will discover cross-cultural insights. They will create museum exhibits, murals, architectural constructions, and design publications to express their understanding of other societies in relation to their contemporary lifestyle. Students will use art as a language and engage in art-based wordless debates.  Follow their exploration online as they design and post web pages, blogs and art-based debates.

Building School-Wide Capacity for Arts Infusion
Madrona K-8
Seattle, WA
Farah Thaxton, Principal

A broad set of community partners, parents, and artists is helping Madrona K-8 build their capacity for deeply embedding art across the curriculum. Working closely with ArtsCorp, the Principal Arts Leadership program, and ArtsEd Washington, teachers will collaboratively develop a curriculum that is richly infused with the arts. Professional development will strengthen classroom teachers’ arts-integration capabilities and confidence.   Model lessons and implementation tools will be established.  The grant is contributing to a holistic program that forges a long-lasting, intensive, collaboration that will result in a concrete set of teaching tools and increased level of comfort as classroom teachers use the arts to reach academic goals.

Exploring Multiple Ways of Using Art to Increase Literacy Skills
Irving Elementary
Derby, CT
Jennifer Olson, Principal

Irving Elementary will use two research-based programs, the Braidy emergent narrative model and the Olshansky Artists-Writer Workshop model to assess which best supports student’s literacy skills.  The program includes a partnership with the Yale Center for British Art, two local Derby libraries and the Valley Shore Arts Center. Parent involvement is a key objective in the program. Students will share their visual decoding and interpretation skills with parents during the school’s Literacy Night and parents will continue to support their child’s work within and beyond the classroom. 

Art History Explored Through Humans’ Relationships with Animals
Sacred Heart School
Lake Worth, FL
Candace Tamposi, Principal

Sacred Heart’s K-8 students will explore how humans’ relationships with animals and nature are portrayed through art—throughout history. Examining architecture, drama, music, painting and literature from various eras, students will see patterns in art, history, myths and religions.  How has the bull, as an animal, symbol, myth, and metaphor been used by artists and authors through the centuries? This and other key questions will be explored as the school collaborates with the Norton Museum of Art, the Marshall Foundation’s environmental center, and the local Science Museum in this multi-disciplinary exploration.

Making Connections with Chinese Culture
Valley Park Elementary School
Valley Park, MO
Dr. Bryan Pearlman, Principal

Valley Park students will connect with a school in China and share Artist Trading Cards that celebrate diversity through art and language.  Students will be introduced to the Chinese culture through art, music, reading, history, language and writing in both English and Chinese. Parents of Chinese descent in Valley Park’s PTO will help design and implement the year-long art-based program and work with the arts specialists on the culminating Chinese Culture Day.

Transforming a School into a Museum
Silverton Paideia Academy
Cincinnati, OH
Susan Bunte, Principal

“What if…” Silverton Paideia Academy transformed the school into a museum? Beyond exquisite exhibits that showcase students’ projects, how does pedagogy change when students are challenged to deeper understanding? How do assessments change when students are expected to translate their knowledge into galleries that communicate meaning? This grant is not a singular project, but instead solidifies a methodology for learning that uses real world objects and art as the students’ tools for navigating the word. The grant becomes part of the fabric of the Museum School concept with students in the driver’s seat, diving deeply into content and creatively communicating with clarity. Treating students as ”lead explorers” who become knowledge experts prepares them to be future world leaders.

Civil War History Through the Lens of Native and African Americans’ Art
St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School
Greenville, SC
Catherine Noecker, Principal

Third through sixth graders at St. Anthony of Padua school will study Civil War history through the lens of Native and African Americans’ storytelling, poetry, and visual arts. They will focus not just on “what” happened but “why” it matters in their 21st century lives. They will experience the importance of voice in the telling of history and the voice that can be heard through art. Student journals will record their personal reflections as they research history through art. Partners include Greenville Metropolitan Arts Council, Greenville County Museum of Art, professional storytellers, poets, writers, visual artists, musicians, parents and classroom teachers who will align the cross-curricular lessons with standards.

Art Bridges Canada and Peru
Edgewater School
Pincourt, Quebec, CANADA
Liz Rivard, Principal

Edgewater School students will study the art of a culture, as opposed to the art of individuals to gain deeper understanding of the significance and value of what they see—the richness of emotion and history that comes from knowing others’ culture through their arts. As these students study the art of South America they will connect directly with students in a sister school in Peru, sharing an art exchange that includes visual arts, music, historical context and use of language for a rich learning experience.

Arts-Infused Education as Foundation for School-Wide Professional Development
Cherry Valley School
Polson, MT
Elaine Meeks, Principal

The Cherry Valley School Creative Leadership team believes that teachers’ knowledge about art is the foundation of a 21st century interdisciplinary curriculum. This grant program is designed to increase classroom teachers’ understanding in the value of art as a central integrating factor in the school’s curriculum.  This rural Montana school is located on an Indian Reservation and serves Pre-K-1st graders. The school mission has a strong commitment to the arts as key to brain development and academic achievement. They are focused on providing a solid structure and expectation that all their teachers will infuse the arts across the curriculum and that their school-wide culture will celebrate the arts. Intensive professional development will be provided in collaboration with Native American arts specialists and Salish Kootenai College. Not a brief workshop, but an ongoing in-depth program which requires classroom teachers share their arts integration experiences each month ensures school-wide commitment to art-integration is sustained.

Discovering Roots Let’s Us Branch Out
Ridgeway Elementary School
Hamilton, OH
Kathy Wagonfield, Principal

Ridgeway Elementary school’s symbol is a tree— iconic to their belief that when students know their roots, it enables them to branch out. Their grant program has several branches that include professional development using the Champion Creatively Alive Children series to ground teachers in how art builds 21st century skills. They continue to “branch out” to families and their PTO with quarterly Family Reading Nights that “meaningfully weave art and writing.” Their art teacher, who serves as the school’s Chief Creative Officer, is building a strong community collaboration that includes Fifth Third Bank, the Belcan Corporation, the Mayor’s office, and the Chamber of Commerce as well as the Fitton Center for Arts and PTO. This broad based group shares a mutual interest in nurturing children’s understanding of who they are: creative, curious, exploring individuals with the capability to do miraculous things!

Art in Transit –Engaging the Community in Literacy-Based Art
Summit Elementary
Smithfield, UT
Mark E. Daines, Principal

“What if” students could experience art with every story they read by creating a souvenir art project for each story?  “What if” their art was reproduced and showcased on bus placards that travel around the city?  Summit Elementary is committed to building students’ literacy via art and to simultaneously engage the entire community in a deeper understanding of how art builds critical literacy skills. Students will make literature response journals and will learn to assess their work with a rubric, as well as group critique discussions. They will learn from self-reflection and peer feedback. Yet the role of students as teachers for the entire community—helping others understand how art links to literacy— will keep the message moving forward each time the Art in Transit program pulls out of the station.

Common Core, Art and Multicultural Experiences
Meadowview Elementary School
Eau Claire, WI
Delesa Boley, Principal

“What if” 420 K-5th grade students had significant choices and were key decision makers about their art-based literacy instruction? Meadowview’s art teacher will work closely with the English Language specialist and classroom teachers to select literature for this art-integration program. They will develop new assessment tools that document how students use literature and art to deepen their literacy skills. Using Common Core English Language standards and Bloom’s Taxonomy as the basis, these arts-rich literacy lessons will reflect the community’s cultural diversity and be the focus of the school’s professional development series and family involvement events.

Students Curate Their Own Museum Exhibits
Public School 174 – William Sidney Mount
Rego Park, NY
Karin Kelly, Principal

Students at Public School 174 represent many cultures as their community in Queens is known to be one of the most diverse in the nation. Student teams, grades K-5, will critically examine the narrative behind a range of art forms linked to their social studies curriculum. Their writing will document the inquiry process and responses to art, as they add their personal perspectives to their museum exhibitions. Art from many countries, including Egypt, China, and Latin American nations will spark students’ imaginations and their own artistic creations. Their exhibits will address the art’s relevance to their lives.  Audio and video guides will be created explaining their work based on personal and historical context. This school is designated as a NYC site for academically talented and gifted students and the teachers collaborate on Inquiry Teams that share best practices and reflections with other educators.

Professional Development Based on Arts Integration
Jackson Elementary and the School of the Arts
Jonesboro, GA
Dr. Donna Jackson, Principal

Jackson Elementary’s mission is to “provide a foundation of knowledge for a successful lifetime of learning through the integration of the arts.” They measure success as “when we have 100 percent of our teachers creating and implementing authentic arts integration lessons.” They know that to accomplish this classroom teachers need additional professional development and additional support. Observation and leadership “walkthroughs” will help teachers assess their arts integration progress. Documenting arts impact on student test scores will help convince parents and the community of the importance of art. Every monthly faculty meeting the arts teachers will provide arts-integrated lessons and teaching strategies. Classroom teachers will showcase how their arts integration lessons have been implemented.  This school-wide commitment to embedding the arts into the curriculum is rooted in their vision and delivered with practical coaching and a model of art teacher/classroom teacher collaboration. They will share their database “of proven arts integration lesson plans.”

Creative Experiences Connect Students with Others

Westmore Elementary
Orem, UT
John Shelton, Principal

Westmore Elementary teachers value the power of creative experiences to connect us to others. This Title I school serves families with significant financial needs. Yet this project is designed to increase students’ sensitivity to the needs of others and think of how they could serve those whose situations are even more fragile.  They are adopting a sister school in Pachuca City, Mexico to establish a meaningful connection built on cultural awareness and helping others. The students will design a variety of creative projects (handmade books, jewelry, clay pottery, crocheted hats) and share these functional art forms with the poor students in Mexico. They will learn compassion as well as how art helps them communicate with others.

“Art-Smart” School Instills Confidence in Parents and Community
Jane Phillips Elementary
Bartlesville, OK
Sandra Kent, Principal

“What if…” Jane Phillips Elementary school helped parents understand Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and helped them identify “How am I smart?,” rather than “Am I smart?” “What if…” Art-Smart students and parents felt validated with this exploration and it increased positive self-perception and academic achievement? This school is part of the Oklahoma A+ Schools Network which provides professional development and an arts fellow to infuse art across the curriculum. Teachers have been increasing their arts integration lessons and have seen how art empowers students to be confident learners.  While the grant includes components that deepen the partnership between the arts teachers and classroom teachers, particularly on art-literacy links, there is an emphasis on parental and community “buy in.”  To sustain the program they need to gain community and parental alignment on the arts integration and alternative assessment that is being embedded into the entire curriculum. They will share assessment rubrics, their “Art-Smart” curriculum, and how they build community/parental support.

Students Develop “Arts APPlication”
Traverse Mountain Elementary
Lehi, UT
David Stephenson, Principal

“What if” elementary school students stepped into the role of 21st century app developers, using the arts to develop an education app?  Traverse Mountain Elementary school’s proposal was an “Arts APPlication” that is based on the “Inside Out Learning (IOL)” international non-profit model of inspiring creative thinking and collaboration. This school will collaborate with Brigham Young University programmers and designers to create an art-in-nature app.  And they will share their creative experiences with school children in Kenya, Africa using the Inside Out Learning model of inquiry. Students K-6 will use visual art, writing, filmmaking, 3D art, and core science concepts to create an original Arts APPlication.

Students Explore Math in Nature Through the Arts Lens
Emma G. Whiteknact Elementary School
East Providence, RI
Nadine Lima, Principal

Students at Whiteknact Elementary will be learning about “Math in our World” through the lens of artists and with respect for cultural diversity. They will research and build models of significant art forms including the Rose Window of Notre Dame Cathedral, the Chichen Ixta Pyramid in Mexico and the Petronas Towers of Malaysia.  They will discover the cultural contributions of the peoples who created these art forms. The program includes several collaborative partners, including the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Art Museum, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, East Providence High School and the Whiteknact PTA.