Northwest ISD has been named a 2020 District of Distinction by the Texas Art Education Association, an honor given to Texas school districts that advocate for and integrate visual arts curriculum in their schools.
Only 42 districts in the state received the award from more than 1,000 districts eligible. NISD will be honored at the TAEA conference, which will be held virtually on Nov. 21, according to a district news release.
Northwest ISD’s visual arts program engages learners of all ages in art education. NISD students are taught by certified art educators at each grade level. All Texas schools are required to teach art, but Northwest ISD makes it a priority, said Rebecca O’Donovan, director of fine arts.
“Art is important because it touches on a part of kids’ brains that aren’t always reached in our core classes,” she said. “It allows students to creatively express themselves. It stretches students. It allows them to see the world through new perspectives.”
TAEA, the leading advocate for visual arts in the state, asked districts to share projects highlighting student involvement in visual arts advocacy, community service, field experiences and district art exhibitions. This is the second year that TAEA presented District of Distinction awards.
“Northwest ISD has set a high standard for visual arts advocacy, integrated visual arts curriculum, encouraged creativity and community participation,” said Stacia Gower, chair of the administration and supervision division of TAEA. “With the challenges educators faced this past school year it is a true testament to their skill, dedication, and flexibility that the quality of their programs continued strong and comprehensive.”
Art projects across the district utilize various techniques and mediums — including clay and ceramics fired on campus in kilns — to allow students to find their artistic voices.
NISD showcased how last year students at Justin Elementary School painted portraits of animals available for adoption at a local shelter, that the district’s 2019 holiday card was designed by Eaton High School student Chelby Lewis, that student art was showcased at Celebrate Roanoke last year and more.
“Our teachers work so incredibly hard to build our students up and give them the best experiences possible,” O’Donovan said. “This honor is a testament to our teachers and what they do every day.”