Monthly Archives: May 2016

NJ Students & Educators to be Honored for their Creativity, Talent and Leadership at 36th Annual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education

The honorees have been announced for the 36th Annual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education, recognized nationwide as the states highest honor in arts education.Honoring excellence, promoting awareness and appreciation of the arts, recognizing the creativity, talent and leadership of the award winners.

Winners receive their awards on Thursday, May 26th 2016 at The Patriot’s Theatre at the War Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey. There will be a reception immediately following the award ceremony. Mark Biedron, President of the State Board of Education and Nicholas Paleologos, Executive Director of the NJSCA will be on hand to present the medals to the award winners. Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick will be recognized with the Lifetime Contribution Award.

Special Performances By: Morgan Mastrangelo, Ridgewood High School, James Morris, Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy, Brandon Lyons, Hoboken High School, Ricky Persaud, Jr., Shepard High School, Ryan Hernandez, Governor Livingston High School, Danielle D’Abundo, Charter Tech High School for the Performing Arts, Kimberly Lee, Summit High School, Maressa Park, Mary Help of Christians Academy. Amanda Edore, Morris County Vocational School District, Candance Eason, The Wardlaw- Hartridge School, Julia Foti and Joy Giuffre, Passaic County Technical Institute, and Lianna Shimoun, Ridge High School.

Bob Morrison, Chair, New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, commented, “These young men and women have shown that creativity sparks a passion for learning. They serve as great examples as we recognize the critical role arts education plays in the development of our young citizens.”

Not only will the students be receiving awards but also parents, and leaders throughout the state will be recognized for their exceptional work in keeping arts education alive in New Jersey. As a nominee, “Rodney Gilbert is a parent who’s been an exemplary arts advocate/teacher/mentor. Through his work as a theater educator and as a catalyst in the Newark Mural Project, he has inspired countless young people to use their artistic talent to better the greater Newark community.” said ArtPride NJ

Past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, Wendy Liscow of the Geraldine R Dodge Foundation stated, “So to all the past, present and FUTURE Arts Education awardees – revel in the limelight. You represent the creative potential and sustainability of our state. Enjoy this recognition and spread the word about the power of the arts to transform individuals, schools, and communities.”

The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education is grateful for its partnership with the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, the New Jersey Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by: Art Educators of New Jersey, New Jersey Music Educators Association, Dance NJ, ACT-SO Program New Jersey, Arts Administrators of New Jersey, New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, New Jersey Forensic League, New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC); Writers Theatre of New Jersey; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; VSA New Jersey and Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania. The cooperating organizations, award sponsors and individual members of the planning council dedicate their time to make sure that excellence in the arts is rewarded, and work tirelessly throughout the year to plan this special event. The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education ceremony are a major collaborative effort of the arts, education and state government.


A Complete List of the 2016 Winners


Good Bye Common Core and Core Curriculum Content Standards! Hello New Jersey Student Learning Standards!

After a year of reviewing the standards formally known as Common Core, the New Jersey State Board of Education approved a revision to language arts literacy and math standards and a renaming of all content standards under the umbrella of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards bringing to a close a controversial and confusing six years.

The benefit to the arts education community is significant. No longer will arts educators and supporters have to argue about which standards are required. Having both Common Core State Standards for two content areas and then the Core Curriculum Content Standards for seven other content areas led to widespread confusion and misunderstandings regarding which standards were required. Many education leaders wrongly believed that only the Common Core standards were required leading to art program reductions and/or neglect. The new naming brings all of the content standards under one roof and does away with the idea that “only common core matters.”

Now all content standards matter!

Under this name change only the Language Arts Literacy and Math Standards were revised (as part of the Governor’s plan to move away from Common Core). The revisions will go into effect for the 2017/2018 schoolyear. All of the other standards remain the same… just with a new name!

For the Visual and Performing Arts Standards, the current standards will remain in force until the current revision process is completed and adopted by the State Board of Education expected sometime in mid 2017.

Arts Ed Now: Creating a radiant New Jersey

Aligning Title 1 Goals and Arts Education Goals: A Workshop Report

On April 11th, the NJ Principals and Supervisors Association/Foundation for Educational Administration hosted a workshop entitled – Achieving Title 1 Goals: The Role of Arts Education.

Invited to attend were: Principals, Supervisors and Teachers of the Arts, Curriculum Directors, Superintendents, School Business Administrators, Title I Administrators and representatives from Arts Education Organizations.

Presenters included Karen L. Campbell, Director, NJDOE, The Office of
Supplemental Ed. Programs, Dale Schmid, Ed.D., NJDOE Visual &
Performing Arts Coordinator and Laura Smyth Ph.D., Lead Consultant, Title 1 Initiative, California Alliance for Arts Education.

This workshop came about in large part due to California’s success in demonstrating how a robust arts education program is an effective and extremely powerful way to meet the Title 1 goals: Student Achievement, Student Engagement, School Climate and Culture, and Parent Involvement.

The California Alliance for Arts Education has been most willing to share their work in this area and NJ has had the benefit of working as a partner state with California on the American’s for the Arts State Policy Pilot Program (SP3).

The workshop on April 11th was filled with information and examples from the NJ Department of Education representatives. Karen Campbell provided an overview of the program including new regulations, the concept of supporting vs. supplanting, what potential barriers need to be overcome, unearthing resources, creating a needs analysis and opening up new possibilities.

In addition to providing background and a history of the Title 1 program, Dale Schmid led the group through an overview of the extremely informative website created by the California Alliance – title1arts.org.

Participants had an opportunity for small group work on needs analysis and ways to leverage various types of resources. To view the workshop materials go to tinyurl.com/Title1-Arts.

In all, it was an extremely informative and valuable workshop on how Title 1 goals and Arts Education goals can be aligned to improve the overall education of our students. According to Laura Smyth and Joe Landon of the California Alliance, “Four years in, we’re delighted to see that the initiative has taken root around the state, as well as resonating with some other states pursuing similar agendas, particularly in anticipation of ESSA’s devolution of much decision-making power to the state level.”

Dale Schmid of the NJ Department of Education noted, “It is important to note that it is not about how Title 1 can be used to support arts education but how the arts can be used as an intervention strategy to improve school climate and bolster student success. This is a major shift in education policy.”

Judging from the comments of a few of the participants, the workshop was a success.

“The half-day format was perfect. The information disseminated was thorough; review of guidelines & application process for Title I, research based information, practical application of examining data. Cannot praise FEA/NJAEP enough for providing this opportunity for stakeholders to gain first-hand information regarding the important aspects pertaining to applying for funding. I am so pleased to see the way NJPSA/FEA is becoming the “go-to resource” for administrators that did not exist when I stepped into my first administrative role so many years ago & had to rely on a “hunt-seek-find” approach with colleagues who could share information about their experiences. Bravo!”

“It was informative. I definitely learned more about Title 1 funds than I knew before attending the workshops.”

Those are certainly the type of comments we want to hear. And according to Dale Schmid, “I was delighted with the turnout and impressed with how ready the participants were to dive in to examine new pathways to school improvement strategies.”

Thank you to our partners at NJPSA/FEA. There is certainly more to come on this topic as we start to create our own models here in New Jersey and continue to work with other states who are leading the way in collecting research, examples and data on how arts strategies successfully address Title 1 goals.


Blog: Attention all Past, Present, and Future Governor’s Awardees: Be Proud and Loud!

The 2016 New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education are just around the corner. You can join the celebration of talent, creativity and leadership on May 26 at the War Memorial’s Patriots Theatre in Trenton. Approximately 80 students will be recognized for their exemplary work in creative writing, speech, dance, music, theatre and visual arts, along with 20 educators and leaders who will be honored for their exceptional commitment and contribution to arts education.

When I was growing up, my parents schooled me about the importance of humility. I still hear a voice in my head warning me that “nobody likes a braggart and certainly no one likes an immodest winner.” Yet, when I think back to when I received the 2015 Governor’s Award for Distinguished Service, I can’t help but let a silly smile creep across my face. And I want to share why I will forever treasure this award.

I was sincerely honored to be recognized by my peers for doing what I love, and humbled to be in the company of fellow honorees Larry Capo (for his lifetime commitment to arts education) and Bari Erlichson (for her work at the New Jersey Department of Education to ensure arts education data is part of the state’s School Report Card). I continue to be moved and overwhelmed by all of the talent represented on stage that day and by the palpable pride that families and friends were feeling as they watched teachers and students receive their awards.

This kind of talent and leadership is why the Dodge Foundation is committed to ensuring that every New Jersey child, no matter their circumstances, has the opportunity to receive a sequential and well-rounded arts education. We believe that participating in the arts will help students discover their creative core, help them engage with others, and help them become comfortable with the pursuit of new ideas and the trial and error of artistic practice. They will be our future artists interpreting the world around them. They will become nation builders and leaders. We also know that adults have the ability to nurture or quash a young person’s creative spirit, so we support ways for teachers to infuse the arts in to their teaching practice, develop their own creativity, and, in turn, spark student creativity.

I believe if you want to see these kinds of positive outcomes for all teachers and students, you have to shine a spotlight on them. The Governor’s Awards recognize excellence and achievements in Arts Education that would otherwise go unnoticed. By honoring the good work of students and their teachers, award ceremonies help families appreciate their children’s gifts and ordinary citizens to see the power of the arts to change lives.

Recognition events can also inspire individuals to push themselves to new heights and mastery. I confess, when I attended the Governor’s Awards five years ago, I was so moved by the honorees that I remember asking myself, “am I doing my best work, reaching outside my comfort zone, and having the intended impact on others?” I didn’t make it a goal to win an award in five years, but I did challenge myself to work harder and to be worthy of the efforts of the winners on that stage.

I realize that for every student receiving an award on May 26th, there are countless others who have worked hard in pursuit of their art. Many are equally talented and must be encouraged to continue to follow their passion. We must also pay tribute to the many parents, teachers, and dedicated adults who encouraged these students, helped pave the way for them, and nurtured their talents. They too deserve to be honored, although I suppose the joy, so clearly seen on their faces, has its own reward.

Perhaps it is this awareness of all the noteworthy talent, teaching practice, and leadership in New Jersey that my parents wanted me to ponder when they cautioned me about arrogance. I realize now they did not mean I should not enjoy the recognition or not feel proud. They just wanted me to know that I was standing on the shoulders of my family, friends, and teachers.   So to all the past, present and FUTURE Arts Education awardees – revel in the limelight. You represent the creative potential and sustainability of our state. Enjoy this recognition and spread the word about the power of the arts to transform individuals, schools, and communities.

We hope you will join us for the awards on May 26 and see for yourself!


Our Guest Blogger

Wendy Liscow, Program Director, Education

Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

Register to Attend the 2016 Governor’s Awards in Arts Education

THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2016, 4:30 PM
One Memorial Drive, Trenton, New Jersey


The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education began in 1980 to promote awareness and appreciation of the arts, recognizing the creativity, talent and leadership of the award winners. Each year, awards are presented to approximately 20 educators and 80 students. National and statewide organizations select the students for their exemplary work in creative writing, speech, dance, music, theatre and visual arts and the leaders for their exceptional commitment and contribution to arts education. The program also recognizes arts educators and arts education advocates, whose leadership has helped nurture the development of students in the arts across the state
Check out the Official Governor’s Awards in Arts Education Website

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