The Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) has announced the 40 winners of the 2021 District of Distinction Award, naming Spring ISD among the list of honorees for the third year in a row. The award, given to just 20 Texas school districts for the first time in 2019, recognizes districts committed to providing a well-rounded curriculum that supports strong visual arts education across all schools and grade levels.
“Spring ISD was honored to be among the first winners of this award two years ago, and we’re so excited to see our district’s visual arts program receive this recognition for a third year running,” said Director of Performing & Visual Arts Dr. Joe Clark.
“We’ve absolutely got some of the best, most talented art teachers in the state working right here in Spring ISD,” Clark said. “When you add to that the incredible support from our superintendent, our district leadership and our Spring ISD Board of Trustees on behalf of strong arts education and arts integration, our students are the ones who reap the benefits.”
A leading advocate for visual arts education, TAEA has long honored outstanding individual teachers for their work in the classroom. This is the third year the organization has honored districts that meet the rigorous District of Distinction criteria. Each participating district submitted documentation showing how they performed across various aspects of the program’s 14-point rubric during the 2020-21 school year.
Out of more than 1,100 districts eligible for the 2021 award, only 40 met the standard – putting Spring ISD in the top 4% of districts in the state for art education, according to a statement released by TAEA.
“Spring ISD has set a high standard for visual arts advocacy, integrated visual arts curriculum, encouraged creativity, community participation and student growth,” said Stacia Gower, chair of the administration and supervision division of TAEA. “The past school year, educators faced a great many challenges associated with constantly changing guidelines and instruction procedures as well as participation in contests and visual art events. It is a true testament to our visual art educators’ skill, dedication, and flexibility that the quality of their programs continued strong and comprehensive.”
The award recognizes not just excellence in the classroom, but also districtwide efforts to engage all students in meaningful encounters with the visual arts, both on campus and in the community. Examples include districts where students actively participate in regional and state events such as TAEA’s Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE), Junior VASE, and Texas Elementary Art Meet. The organization also looks at field experiences, community service and community exhibitions, along with other elements, as part of the rigorous criteria for the award.
“I’m incredibly proud to be part of this small group of school districts that are now three-year recipients of the District of Distinction Award,” said Spring ISD Visual Arts Coordinator Amanda Byers. “It’s really become something we are driven toward. We keep it in mind in our planning, and it’s something that guides and encourages us to push ourselves to keep getting better and better at what we do as arts educators.”
The 40 winning districts, including Spring ISD, will be honored during the TAEA Fall Conference General Assembly in November.