Seattle Public Schools Arts Newsletter   | March, 2020
March Focus: Events Impacted by COVID-19
Photo of a mural in process at Emerson Elementary
This issue includes:

  • COVID-19 Update
  • For Community Arts Partners: Apply for The Roster
  • Regional Arts Festivals
  • Arts Professional Development
  • Arts Grants

Photo at right: Detail from a mural in process at Emerson Elementary where Amaranta Sandys of ArtMaranth Mobile School is working with 3-5th graders on a mural for the school stairwell.

COVID-19 Update
In alignment with SPS and Public Health, a number of Creative Advantage events are cancelled for now in response to COVID-19. SPS is canceling all events and trainings that bring large groups of students, adults, and community members together. This includes but is not limited to large school community events, school day assemblies, all student travel, and activities outside school hours (i.e. overnight field trips and competitions). This restriction goes into effect on March 9 until further notice. These include:

  • All Creative Advantage school arts team planning meetings that have been scheduled for during the school day must be moved to after school or postponed. Which to do is up to the school arts team and their Arts Leadership Coach. If arts planning meetings are held after school, teachers and parapros are eligible for extra time.
  • The Southeast and Central Regional Arts Festival are cancelled for now. Once the cancellation of community events is lifted, we will collaborate with schools and partners to reschedule the events. We are also exploring the possibility of filming performances and visual during the school day. We are committed to celebrating and showcasing the amazing visual and performing arts that students are creating! 
  • The 5 remaining workshops in the Arts Integration Professional Development Series are cancelled for now and will be rescheduled once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. For workshops scheduled in April and May, please hold the spots on your calendars in case we are able reinstate them.
  • Also noteThe Elliot Bay Music Educators Association (EBMEA) has cancelled the following high school and middle school music festivals/events to align with Seattle Public Schools directives around large gatherings:
  • March 10: Middle School Band Festival (location: Whitman MS)
  • March 12: High School Orchestra Festival (location: Seattle Pacific University)
  • March: 26: High School Band Festival (location: Seattle Pacific University)
  • March 27: Middle School Orchestra Festival (location: Whitman MS)
  • April 5: Middle School Solo & Ensemble Festival (location: Rainier Beach HS)

SPS is posting daily updates here . Please contact Creative Advantage Project Manager ( ) with any questions or concerns specific to The Creative Advantage.
The Creative Advantage Roster is open for new partners to apply until March 11th

Spread the WORD to teaching artists, community artists and arts ed organizations you know! 

Educator Opportunities
For Arts Partners and SPS Teachers:

Unpacking Literacy to Empower Student Identity

Friday, April 24: Location pending
Saturday, April 25 : Location pending
Sunday, May 3: Location pending

In this workshop, we will:
  • Explore Perceptions: Expand our definition of literacy in order to build on students’ strengths and increase inclusivity in the classroom.
  • Make New Connections: Integrate art forms to benefit various learning styles and open doors for culturally responsive experiences.
  • Empower Self-Expression: Establish a safe and brave space that promotes authentic sharing to create a community of engaged and empowered learners.

This workshop is open to all teaching artists, teachers, school administration, community organization staff, and cultural workers. The same content will be offered on three separate dates.

Participants will receive a $100 honorarium, lunch, and five (5) Washington State Clock hours for participation.

More info and application here
Applications close March 15. Participants will be notified by April 1

Because these workshops are in late April and early May, they are currently still on, however we will monitor any changes and cancel if needed. 

For: K-5 Music Teachers:

Conversational Solfege Workshop

June 29-Jul 1: Fairmount Park Elementary. 2 Graduate Credits Available Through Seattle Pacific University

From Ken Pendergrass , Music Specialist at Fairmount Park Elementary ...

Why would you want to attend this workshop? If you are a general music teacher, or any teacher that is looking for an effective way to create fully engaged, independent musicians who can hear, understand, read, write, compose, and improvise, I highly recommend this workshop.
This is the start of my third year using Conversational Solfege in my grades 2-5 classrooms and the ear before eye approach to rhythm and pitch learning used in this method has had a remarkable impact on my students. They can dictate 4 beat quarter note and/or paired eighth note patterns on one hearing using the process of decoding. My instrumental students who have used the program with me are also decoding pitches and rhythms at sight which leaves more time for focusing on tone, dynamics and other elements of music. I’m sold on this method and hope you will consider attending this workshop. If you would like more information about Feierabend’s work, check out his website: or contact me personally if you want to hear more success stories about this program at my school.

For more information or to register:
Southwest Regional Arts Festival
Over 400 students, families and other community members attended the first Southwest Regional Arts Festival at Chief Sealth International High School on February 6th, featuring art and performances from 10 schools.

Read more here (SPS Story)

See more photos and video (West Seattle Blog)
Funding Opportunities
ArtsWA Gives Early Learning Classrooms an Opportunity for a Creative Start

Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) has launched Creative Start , a statewide arts integration and early learning program. The program is designed to bridge the opportunity gap by implementing culturally responsive arts integration practices in early learning communities across the state. Creative Start will support early learning educators, teachers, teaching artists, and leadership with grants, gatherings, and professional learning opportunities.
Creative Start is launching with two grants: Site Grants (open now) and Regional Grants (opening in March).

ArtsWA FY21 First Step Grants Now Open

ArtsWA is now accepting applications for their Arts in Education First Step grants. These grants support emerging and new community partnerships committed to arts education as part of basic education for K-12 public school students in Washington State. Grant amounts range from $1,000 - $5,000. Applications are open now through March 17, 2020:

As you work to expand the arts in your school community, here are a few websites and people you can look to for help:

The Creative Advantage Page on the SPS website
Resources and tools for arts teams, Creative Advantage news and archived newsletters.

The Community Arts Partner Roster is a vetted list of teaching artists and community arts and culture organizations approved to work in Seattle Public Schools through the Creative Advantage.

The Creative Advantage Website Provides an overview of The Creative Advantage and the value of arts education.

If you can't find what you need on-line, contact the Creative Advantage staff:
Audrey Querns -SPS project manager for Creative Advantage (for questions about arts teams and planning, arts partner logistics like contracts and funding)
Tina LaPadula - Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Arts Education Manager (for questions about the Arts Partner Roster and working with teaching artists and arts organizations) 

Gail Sehlhorst -SPS Visual and Performing Arts Manager (for questions about arts staffing, curriculum and assessment, and supports for arts teachers)

Ashraf Hasham -Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Youth Arts Manager

Pam Ivezic - SPS Music Specialist (for questions about supports for music teachers and programs)

Masao Yamada - Regional Arts Festival Event Manager (for questions about participating in the 2019-20 Southwest, Southeast or Central Regional Arts Festivals this Winter)