HOUSTON – Sept. 16, 2020 – The Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) has announced the 42 winners of the 2020 District of Distinction Award, naming Spring ISD among the list of honorees for the second year in a row. The award, given to just 20 Texas school districts for the first time last year, recognizes a commitment to providing a well-rounded curriculum that supports strong visual arts education across all schools and grade levels.
“We’re so proud to have Spring ISD again named a District of Distinction,” said Director of Performing and Visual Arts Dr. Joe Clark. “It’s not something every district can do, and it really speaks to the continued support of our arts programs and our Arts Integration initiative from our board members, our superintendent and all our district and campus leaders. COVID-19 has hit arts programs hard all over the world, and this honor is especially meaningful as we work to continue offering outstanding arts education to our students during this time.”
A leading advocate for visual arts education, TAEA has previously honored outstanding members for their work in the classroom, but this is only the second year the organization has honored districts that meet the rigorous District of Distinction criteria. Out of more than 1,000 districts eligible for the 2020 award, only 42 met the standard – putting Spring ISD in the top 4 percent of districts in the state, according to a statement released by TAEA.
“Spring 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.”
An important criteria for the award involves student participation in a range of visual arts shows and competitions across the region and state. That participation, in turn, leads to portfolios that can open up scholarship opportunities, according to Spring ISD Visual Arts Coordinator Amanda Byers.
“We have so many talented kids. It’s amazing how much talent we have in Spring ISD as far as visual arts goes,” said Byers. “Our participation in the District of Distinction program means more opportunities for our students to get their work out there, to compete and exhibit and have their work seen, and that’s really why we do it.”
The award also recognizes Spring ISD’s commitment to collaboration between the visual arts and other content areas, as well as the district’s work to engage the community through the arts. TAEA will honor the 42 winning districts during its annual conference in November, to be held online this year due to COVID-19.
“We have some of the best art teachers in the state of Texas, and this would never have been possible without their drive and dedication and commitment to students,” Byers said. “We’ve worked really, really hard for it. It’s a lot of work, but that’s how you get better.”