By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
It is a “huge honor” for the Chase County Schools (CCS) elementary art program and K-8 art teacher Lindsey Tomaso to have been selected to participate in the National Endowment for the Arts funded Model Cornerstone Assessment Pilot Project.
That’s according to Tomaso, who said CCS was one of only 18 schools chosen from 30 states, and the only one in Nebraska, to participate.
The project is partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Model Cornerstone Assessments, a component of the new National Core Arts Standards, was created as a field test for second, fifth and eighth grades and the three high school levels to show student achievement from standards-based education under the new visual arts standards in those grades.
“Because I do teach K-8, I will be using the new standards as a base for lessons in other grades as well, though they will not be officially part of the pilot program,” Tomaso said.
“This is a huge honor for our school and a great opportunity for students to participate in the education process,” the teacher explained.
“The work students turn in as examples will be used to evaluate the standards, helping the national board to adjust or finalize a national standard system,” she said.
CCS will be recognized as a participating school, she noted.
“Student work chosen by the board will also be used as examples for standard proficiency for teachers and programs across the United States.”
The pilot program is now in effect, and Tomaso will begin lessons and projects the week of Feb. 22, focusing on grades two and five.
Eighth grade students are also eligible but time constraints won’t allow them to participate, Tomaso said.
Second grade students will be working on self-portraits and fifth grade students will be working with places of personal significance.
On April 15 Tomaso will turn in 20 examples from each class, or a total of 60 from second grade and 40 from fifth grade.
Student work will not be released without parent-guardian permission. Also, students won’t be identified by name in connection with any data or artwork sent in as examples for the national review board.
“The lessons are intended more as a unit than a single lesson and I should have different examples to give the national board,” Tomaso explained.
Students will also receive a regular classroom grade for their finished projects.
“This is part of the assessment process, to see how the new standards apply to lessons,” the teacher explained.
Tomaso found out about the survey through the Nebraska Art Teachers Association last fall.
The application process involved taking a survey, submitting Tomaso’s resume and a description of how she implements standards in her classroom, and administrative approval.
She learned Dec. 23 that CCS had been selected to participate.
“I’m also very proud to add we are the only school in Nebraska chosen as a pilot program school,” Tomaso commented
“I am very excited for my students.”
The national arts standards are created more as a guideline than a strict standard. The plan, according to Tomaso, is to give teachers a framework to work from, giving students a well-rounded art education.
Anchor standards include creating, performing/presenting/producing, responding and connecting.
“I am very excited to see the finished art work of my students, as well as that from other participating schools, and the outcome of the pilot program,” Tomaso concluded.