Full STEAM Ahead!!

Carlisle Education Foundation Supports Innovation in the Visual Arts

Courtney Longaker (right) assists Susie Brinner and Wendy Stack with an art project at the in-service.
Courtney Longaker (right) assists Susie Brinner and Wendy Stack with an art project at the in-service.

The Carlisle Visual Arts Department continues to enrich students’ art experience with support from the Carlisle Education Foundation. Middle school art teacher Courtney Longaker was awarded a generous grant from the CEF to attend the 2013 National Art Educators’ Convention in Forth Worth, TX. Ms. Longaker, along with elementary art teacher Rachel Levy, attended the four-day event. The annual convention is the largest professional development opportunity worldwide for art educators and administrators, bringing together nearly 5,000 people.

Attendees chose from over 1,000 sessions that showcased the latest in research and practice and provided interactive learning through hands-on workshops, museum tours and other special events that support learning in and through the arts. Within the 1,000 concurrent sessions offered at the 2013 NAEA National Convention, there were numerous sessions specifically targeted to the Carlisle Public School (CPS) art department’s professional goals including strategies for enhancing student achievement, interdisciplinary learning, assessment, curriculum, and instruction.

On returning from the convention, Longaker and Levy focused specifically on creating interdisciplinary lessons for supporting STEM education and making connections between art and the skills students need to succeed in STEM.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, was created to improve the nation’s competitiveness in technology development. It is the philosophy of the CPS visual art department that art makes STE(A)M complete.

Scientists, engineers and artists create things through a process that requires the systematic use of a technique or a skill and involves the testing of ideas and theories. In their respective fields, artists, engineers and scientists study materials, nature, and people to create something new; this requires critical thinking and creativity.

After the convention Longaker and Levy developed and implemented a course taught to other faculty members. The course is designed to explore an interdisciplinary approach to how the scientific process relates to art production. The goal is to introduce a variety of classroom-friendly art integrated science, math and engineering lessons to help broaden student understanding of certain concepts. The visual and hands-on experience helps embed the idea and concepts into the student’s knowledge.

Ms. Longaker also held a workshop for special educators and classroom teachers to share with them showcased ideas from the conference about new art techniques and materials that could be incorporated into and enrich current classroom lessons.

Ms. Longaker and Mrs. Levy thank the Carlisle Education Foundation for their continuing support of the middle school and elementary visual arts department. A strong visual arts education promotes the skills children need to be successful. Exposure to art education promotes self-directed learning and sharpens critical and creative skills. As students imagine, create, and reflect, they are developing both verbal and nonverbal abilities necessary for progress in school. While at the same time, they are developing problem-solving abilities and higher-order thinking skills.

A CPS student works on a project derived from the conference.
A CPS student works on a project derived from the conference.

Spring 2013-Fall 2014 Professional Development and Innovation Grants Awarded


The Carlisle Education Foundation awards grants each year to encourage new and innovative programs which are consistent with the Carlisle Public School goals but beyond the scope of the regular school budget. These grants fall into two categories, Professional Development Grants (partially funded by the Davida Fox-Melanson Fund) and Innovation Grants. Grants are awarded in a continuing effort to:

• Enhance and promote exceptional teaching in the Carlisle Public Schools
• Encourage creativity and leadership from teachers and administrators
• Support programs that impact a significant number of students
• Support professional development and innovative programs that have a lasting benefit on the Carlisle Public Schools
• Empower the Carlisle education community to “think outside the box.”

CEF has awarded over $48,000 in professional development and innovation grants since Spring 2013. Below is a summary of these awards:

CEF has approved a grant of $5,787 for 5 members of the Middle School Math Department to attend the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Convention in New Orleans from April 9-12, 2014 (pending acceptance by the Carlisle School Committee). Goals for the conference include: identify current best practices for teaching mathematics in the middle school, fully understand the Common Core State Standards and their impact on our middle school math curriculum, meet with publishers and other districts to discuss and evaluate new math programs for the middle school that align with the Common Core, to evaluate new math applications for the ipad and to attend workshops with nationally recognized experts in the field of mathematics.

CEF provided a $10,000 stipend during 2012-13 for a part time consultant, Ginny Lamere, to work with faculty and students to help assimilate engineering into the curriculum. As a result of the success of her work, CPS created a part time engineering aide faculty position for 2013-14. CEF has awarded an additional $9,250 to fund half of the salary for the 2013-14 academic year.

CEF awarded $9,100 for 30 faculty members to attend the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Convention on November 22, 2013 in Boston. The theme of this conference was (Re)Inventing the Future of English. With the increasing use of technology in teaching and in personal use, the art of writing is changing, so it is hard to predict exactly how teachers will refine their practice and, therefore, how to evaluate it. New standards in reading and writing permeate every curriculum area. Experts in the field presented cutting edge research that will help our teachers stay abreast what is current and how to infuse it into the curriculum.

Sue Bober and Dennet Siddell were awarded $4,700 to attend The Teacher’s College Coaching Institute in October 2013. Their goal in attending was to learn effective techniques to coach teachers to help accelerate their students’ reading development and to teach them to use performance assessments to lift the level of comprehension and rigor in reading workshop. This will help us to more fully achieve the expectations of the new Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.

Mimi Gleason, fifth grade teacher, was awarded $1,600 to participate in the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project Summer Reading Institute from July 1-6, 2013 in New York City. The summer institutes are designed for educators, classroom teachers, school/district administrators, and curriculum specialists who are committed to turning classrooms into richly literate reading and writing workshops. Together with Project leaders and staff developers, participants study methods, plan curricula, revitalize their thinking, and create rigorous models of best practices.

Sixth Grade Language Arts teacher Liz Gray was awarded $1,545 to attend an internship course at The Center for Teaching and Learning from October 21-24, 2013. Objectives for this internship were to acquire new insights into helping students become strong readers and writers. These insights might include ideas for curriculum, management of lessons, materials, techniques for student feedback, student expectations, and struggling readers and writers.

Teachers Emily King, Kendra Katz, Caryl McCabe, Jason Naroff, Chris Denaro and Liz Perry were awarded a grant of $3,000 to invite KnowAtom trainers in-house to model lessons to 4th and 5th grade students then debrief with teachers. Carlisle Public Schools began implementing KnowAtom curriculum in 2012 and teachers feel it most beneficial to see best practices modeled by those who created and developed this curriculum to implement it most successfully.

Susan Bober, Donna Clapp, Linda Vanaria, Cindy Morris, Emily King, and Connie McGrath were awarded a grant of $2,370 to attend the Summer Literacy Institute on Achieving the Common Core State Standards from June 25-28, 2013 at Boston University. The teachers attended two all-day workshops in an effort to learn how to support student achievement with the Common Core State Standards.

CEF awarded the elementary school teachers a grant for $9,600 for to have a Heinemann consultant come to our school to provide three days of training in the Leveled Literacy Intervention system. They are currently using the program with some students and have had success; however they feel that training in the program would increase their skill with the program and help students make greater gains in their reading skills.

Librarian Maya Bery was awarded $614.50 to attend the American Association of School Librarians Conference. The AASL National Conference & Exhibition is the the only national conference devoted solely to the needs of school librarians. Held every two years, AASL is the primary continuing education activity of the division and a leading professional development event for school librarians, as well as an excellent educational and business forum for the entire library community.

Choral Director Tara Callahan was awarded $1,000 to attend the regional American Choral Directors Conference in Baltimore in March 2013 which included workshops, clinics, performances, networking opportunities, and advocacy to promote excellence in choral music.