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 21stcentury citizens.

NAESP and Crayola have awarded 20 NAESP members with grants valued at $3,500 to help principals implement and document innovative arts-education projects at their schools and share best practices for arts education with fellow educators.

2013-2014 Winners


Art Builds Literacy Skills
Gardens Elementary
Pasadena, Texas
Celia Fleischman, Principal

The school’s Chief Creative Officer and Creative Leadership Team will provide professional development for teachers on how art builds literacy skills. They will use illustration as a storytelling tool and fine art as a catalyst for original poetry and stories. The plan is focused on transforming the school culture into a place that is rich in art and creativity. Teachers will rediscover their personal creativity and feel how this empowers them. Classroom portfolios will document the teachers’ and students’ growth.

Connecting Inuit Art across the Curriculum
Ecole St. Avila School
Winnipeg, Canada
Gordon Campbell, Principal

This school is developing workshops for faculty and lessons for students to deepen understanding of Inuit art and help them connect this traditional art across the entire curriculum. The Creative Leadership Team’s goal is to “move beyond pockets of art-motivated teachers” and embed art-infused teaching throughout the entire school. In partnership with the Winnipeg Art Gallery, they will share the content that is built around the museum’s collection.

Leonardo da Vinci Inspires Innovative Teaching and Learning
New Egypt Primary School
New Egypt, New Jersey
Richard DeMarco, Principal

Inspired by a Leonardo Taxonomy, this school’s Creative Leadership Team will help colleagues see how artists explore infinite possibilities, solve problems, and create with discovers’ spirit. Every teacher in the school will learn how to create art-infused, project-based lessons that are based on art standards as well as math, language arts, and science. Attitudes about learning as well as the tangible projects will be assessed to measure the impact this creative genius has on how the entire school plans, teaches and learns.

Memorable Math Infused with Art
Harwich Elementary
Harwich, Massachusetts
Sam Hein, Principal

The school will form a Creative Leadership Team focused on coaching teachers and linking students’ curiosity and math to artistic creations—making multi-modal learning memorable. “This isn’t about writing or using new lessons—it’s about changing our approach to thinking—both teachers’ and students’ thinking.” The art teacher will co-teach with classroom teachers to deepen creative capacity in the school. The Assistant Principal will lead a book club so faculty and parents can reflect on how theory translates into practice—starting with “Celebrating Every Learner”.

School-wide Art-Infused Education
Churchill Road Elementary
McLean, Virginia
Don Hutzel, Principal

The school’s Creative Leadership Team includes liaisons from each grade level. They are focused on getting every teacher to “buy-in” to increased creative collaboration and art-based learning. The faculty’s comfort and familiarity with art content will be assessed pre and post, with yearlong art-integration professional development, creative collaboration, and coaching. A rubric will be established to assess how newly developed art-integrated lessons address standards in the arts and other subjects. They believe that involving classroom teachers in developing art-infused lessons and assessments will build their confidence and commitment to creative experiences and art appreciation.

Teacher Leaders Champion Reflective Thinking
John F. Kennedy Elementary
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Waleska Landing, Principal

An ambitious group of teacher leaders proposed a vision of being a school that values art, makes time for it during professional development and classroom lessons, allocates resources to it and celebrates the accomplishments of teachers who embrace art-infused education. Reflective thinking is the basis of their plan—reflecting on their team curriculum planning process and how art integration can enrich the entire learning community. Based on a survey, 100% of their teachers are interested in integrating art but need help overcoming time and expertise hurdles. They plan to fundamentally change the culture of the school and become an Innovation Center—focused on project based, collaborative learning with art at the core of teaching and learning.

Partnerships Propel Art-Infused School
Alexandria Elementary School
Alexandria, Alabama
Rebecca Grogan, Principal

This Creative Leadership Team is reaching beyond school walls and asking parents, the local university, and community artists to help teachers learn how to implement hands-on art throughout the curriculum. Neighboring schools will be invited to attend their monthly professional development meetings, where teachers will personally explore how art enriches learning and can be used in classrooms.

Strategic Planning and Measurement to Document Sustainable Leadership Program
Rosa L. Parks Elementary
Hyattsville, Maryland
Tara Minter, Principal

Anchoring a school in creative leadership and making sure the program is sustainable is the goal of this school. They will collect data using the Burnaford “Evidence of Arts Integration in School” and survey parents and teachers to document the impact of their 3-year Creative Leadership plan. “This grant serves as the catalyst for putting the initiative into sustainable practice.” Systemic change takes time and expertise. This school’s partnership with the University of Maryland and the Prince George Art & Humanities Council will enrich the “Artful Thinking” content as the basis for student learning objectives and teacher arts integration objectives.

Connecting to a Displaced Community’s Art, Culture, and History
Dana Elementary
Hendersonville, North Carolina
Kelly Schofield, Principal

When educators at this school learned the history of Gee’s Bend Quilters, a community of slaves who were displaced and forced to walk from North Carolina to Alabama when they were sold, they knew this was a story that needed to enfold their students in learning about injustice, journey, resilience, and honoring the art form that has been sustained by generations of aesthetically gifted quilters. The Creative Leadership Team is using this compelling and relevant piece of history as the foundation for teacher training and student cross-curricular, in-depth exploration.

Using Art Strategies in a STEM School
Seven Oaks Elementary
Odenton, Maryland
John Ceschini

What if a school that is focused on Science-Technology-Engineering-Math adopted artistic principles and trained their teachers as artists? What if they devised action research projects to collect data and illustrate the impact art-infusion and artistic-reflection had in implementing the school’s goals? What if their curriculum maps aligned the new art standards with Common Core and the Next Gen Science standards? They plan to publish lesson plans, assessment rubrics, and data that show the impact of adding Creative Leadership to a STEM school. “We plan to change the way teachers teach and provide them with increased opportunities to use their own creativity in their classrooms—in ways that excite educators and students.”

Exemplar Artwork and Visual Thinking Strategies Deepen Learning
Horace Mann Elementary
Sedalia, Missouri
Todd Fraley, Principal

When classroom teachers adopt Visual Thinking Strategies, use artwork and enduring questions, the reflection builds tolerance and creative writing skills. Decoding artwork becomes the basis for robust conversations and contextual learning. The insights then translate into enriched original writing. The Creative Leadership Team will help classroom teachers explore how art can deepen learning and building compassion in their rapidly changing community.

One Hundred Languages of Children’s Art--Inspired by Reggio Emilia
Redwood Early Childhood Center
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Jody Velt Edrington, Principal

This school serves as the district’s early childhood center and they lead the early childhood classrooms in the district’s other eight elementary schools. This grant was inspired by the renowned Reggio Emilia program, which began in Italy 40 years ago and has become one of the most highly acclaimed approaches to education, world-wide. Based on a visual symbolic system and child-centered exploration, teachers guide children’s discovery and support children’s use of the 100 languages of art. The Redwood Creative Leadership team will engage teachers in experiential professional development that is based on collaboration between children and teachers and helps master teachers support their colleagues.

Teaching Teachers the Culture of Critique
Bridges Public Charter School
Washington, DC
Olivia Smith, Principal

This school’s Creative Leadership Team is focused on “Artists’ Inquiry and Critique” professional development to help teachers embrace simple yet deep ways of integrating the arts into other content areas—and assessing their teaching using the critiquing processes that artists use. “We believe giving teachers new ways of seeing and discussing art will help them build more substantive and engaging learning opportunities for students and will enrich the creative culture in the entire school”. Quarterly, the faculty will use portfolios and assessment rubrics, and conduct collaborative inquiry protocols to closely examine student work and identify how to modify teaching practices based on that critique. Commitment to this process is tangible as the school recently established a new role, Arts Integration Specialist, to serve as liaison with teachers and deepen arts-integration within classrooms.

Art and Storytelling Celebrate Each Child’s Originality
Mountain Island Charter School
Mount Holly, North Carolina
Beth Keller, Principal

This school’s Creative Leadership Plan is based on their belief that creativity must be nurtured across the entire curriculum and not isolated in a separate room students only visit a few times a week. Their objective is for teachers and parents to examine all aspects of what makes each child a unique individual and encourage them to develop the fine art of storytelling. To build teachers’ creative confidence they have planned a yearlong professional development series focused on “Artful Thinking” and “Deepening Student Understanding through Inquiry and Creativity.” They will engage adults and children in dramatic storytelling experiences that will culminate in significant visual projects, illustrated and published, that integrate several subject areas.

Art as a Window into Global Cultures
Cuba Elementary School
Cuba, Illinois
Angela Simmons, Principal

This school’s Creative Leadership Team plans to build a cross-discipline curriculum planning team, create highly motivating art-based units and authentic assessment guides, to help their rural, low income students see a broader world outside of their county. Their plan is to unite numerous school-wide initiatives into a common direction and become a Professional Learning Community focused on art building global understanding. Their Chief Creative Officer/art teacher will organize a culminating family multicultural night to share their objectives and outcomes with parents.

Visual Thinking Strategies Build Literacy Skills
Redwood Heights Elementary School
Oakland, California
Sara Stone, Principal

For several years this school used the Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) approach to learning to support English Language Learners (ELL). They are confident that this approach to investigating images will advance class discussions and enrich all learners. Their plan is to move this successful approach across the curriculum and to whole classrooms. They will begin by helping teachers scaffold their knowledge of decoding visuals, including art, graphs, maps, and hand-created journals. Working collaboratively, students will co-create “claims and evidence” journals that show their thinking both in drawings and words. The Creative Leadership Team will immerse colleagues in VTS questioning techniques that foster observation, investigation, probing, elaboration, speculation, evidence based arguing, and using those insights to revise thinking. The team will select relevant images and customize assessment tools to align with Common Core and units that can be models for other schools. “Thinking about art is a rich and layered task. Educators learn much more from students when we ask them to write and draw their thinking—than if we only used speaking and listening.”

A+ School Uses Arts-Integration to Enrich Professional Learning Community
Community Charter School
Charlotte, North Carolina
Anissa Miller, Principal

Partnering with the North Carolina A+ Network, this school will use visual art and dance as the foundation for professional development and everyday teaching. The Creative Leadership Team will coach each teacher and conduct monthly walkthroughs to strengthen arts-integration in every classroom. They will share observation rubrics that will be used as teacher reflection tools and measure academic rigor of content in the arts and the integrated subjects.

Artistic Insights Build Global Awareness
Sheep Harney Elementary
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Andrea Adams, Principal

The Creative Leadership Team, in collaboration with the School Design Team, will develop strategies to empower their entire learning community to become creative leaders and creative producers. The school’s mission statement “Soaring to achievement together through the lens of creative arts” will be brought to life in a year-long, school wide exploration of other cultures around the globe. The Creative Leadership Team will co-teach arts-infused lessons to build classroom teachers’ creative capacity and to help them use alternative assessments in evaluating student work.

Calder Mobile as Metaphor for Math, Motion and Mobilizing Action”
Country Oaks Elementary School
LaBelle, Florida
James Sealey, Principal

The grant will help this school establish a newly envisioned Creative Leadership Team whose purpose is to use art to strengthen their creative, collaborative culture. In this first year, the team will focus on Alexander Calder’s mobiles to help teachers see integration strategies and help students design mobiles that integrate art, measurement, geometry, spatial relations, force, motion and simple machines. The “Art in Motion” program will culminate in a community celebration as their new sculpture will be unveiled in the city courthouse and other public venues.

Da Vincian Principles Guide Innovative Teaching and Learning—ARTbot
RJ Richey Elementary
Burnet, Texas
Jill Wittekiend, Principal

This school’s Creative Leadership Team is planning yearlong professional development focused on the Da Vincian Principles: Curiosity, Experimentation, Sensory Exploration, Uncertainty, Kinesthetic Approaches, Integration of Art and Science, and Systems Connections. Teachers and students will use artistic thinking skills and innovative tools, such as the MIT Media Lab Makey Makey board, to build art-inspired robots. These “ARTbots” will bring creative inventiveness to life and be the springboard for descriptive writing and tech-enabled documentation.