PUSD Teachers Attend the National Arts Education Association Conference in New Orleans

Art Conference“Markers. Paper cup. Tape. Electric Toothbrush. Paper… Ready, set, go!

In the Integrating Art and Engineering Workshop I attended, groups of teachers were charged with building an Artbot with five easy-to-find materials. The only direction given was to engineer a simple machine that would leave a mark on the paper. In collaboration with two other teachers, we were able to construct an Artbot that drew nearly perfect circles on butcher paper. This was a fun challenge that I know our elementary students will enjoy!” (Phong Ung)

Phong Ung was one of eight Piedmont staff members who attended the NAEA conference to learn about the new national arts standards. Teachers and administrators chose to travel to New Orleans because the national conference is where the country’s leaders in art education gather to share the latest research in the field. Given the release of new national art education standards, which align to Common Core, this was the perfect time to seek out this professional development.

Gillian Bailey, PHS art teacher, had this to say about her experience: “Piedmont USD stands out as one of very few public districts that has a K-12 Visual Arts program, due in large part to the support of the Parents Club and PAINTS. Receiving such generous support from PAINTS made it possible for art teachers & specialists, elementary teachers, and administration to attend the NAEA Conference and speaks volumes as to how PUSD values the contribution of the arts as a part of a well-rounded education. As new standards, Common Core, and new technology influence how our students learn and process information, it is crucial that the visual arts evolve, support, and expand upon these new educational guidelines. Attending the conference made it possible for me to network with like-minded teachers throughout the nation, as well as those within the district, to continue to develop the arts curriculum at the high school.”

Susan Simonds, high school ceramics teacher, enjoyed sitting in on conversations with the 3D AP readers. “It gave me a greater understanding of the grading process,” she said. “I also learned about a unit where the art and English teachers collaborate to teach personal dialogs in book making.”

Aileen Finney (Havens) implemented a strategy as soon as she returned from NAEA. “My fourth-grade students now add quick sketches to their note-taking in social studies. They choose the one part they see as most important and add color to it so it stands out. Since doing so, I have noticed increased engagement by many students when they get to add quick sketches or symbols to their notes. I plan to carry this practice into our new science unit.”

Katy Polvorosa, a second year art specialist at Havens said she was honored to be able to attend the NAEA conference. “I gained a deeper understanding of how art is a connective tissue that joins all school subjects. Many things I do in the classroom were reinforced, and I also learned more ways to provide a holistic learning experience into each art period. Moving forward, I will work on incorporating other subject matter into my projects while collaborating with classroom teachers.”  Leigh Symkowick, art specialist at Beach, also looks forward to implementing new projects that she learned from the conference.

Each conference participant had a powerful experience in New Orleans and all of us were grateful for this learning opportunity. Tracy Broback, third grade teacher and science specialist at Beach, expressed what many of us experienced from this conference.

“I was drawn to the NAEA convention as an artist and former art teacher. What I found was a myriad of resources that would enable me to use the arts not only as enrichment for students but also as a fundamental access point and means that allows young scholars to take time to observe, question, interact with, and absorb the challenging academic standards we have for 21st century learners. I look forward to incorporating what I learned in my third grade classroom and work with all Beach students through my role as elementary science specialist. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to increase my knowledge of best practices in art education, as well as to collaborate with our Director of Curriculum, Piedmont art teachers, and classroom teachers from all three elementary schools. It was a transformative experience!

Many thanks to all of the teachers for their time and dedication to expanding their knowledge and best practices in art education.  We are fortunate to have you on our staff!


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