Arts Integration: A PAFE Grant Highlight

Humans have different learning styles (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic), so a high-quality education should be well-rounded to engage each learner.

Funding for art has taken a back seat to other subjects such as reading, writing, and math. These are important subjects, and art is no exception, so we are happy to help our educators bring this into the classroom.

The Arts Integration Grant at Northside Elementary School draws on students’ strengths while exposing them to ideas that stretch their minds and nurture their creative needs that might not be addressed in the general education curriculum. 

Take, for example, one student, said third-grade teacher Mrs. Shantelle Gillis, who immediately comes to mind. She dislikes reading and struggles in the classroom. “Art is something that engages and gives her confidence. It’s incredible to see her come to life,” she said.

This program is a collaboration between Shantelle Gillis and arts specialist Jan Riley, who integrate art skills with Social Studies and English Language Arts studies for all Northside Elementary students K- 6th grade from special education and Title I to gifted/talented. 

Nine teachers are involved, impacting 170 students. The grant funds Mrs. Riley’s talent and art supplies like paint, clay, glaze, watercolor paper, charcoal paper, foil, paper plates, bowls, rubber cement, tissue paper, glue, erasers, crayons, and watercolor paints to supplement what they have on-hand.

According to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, “Arts Integration is an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both.” 

Jan Riley is a retired 2nd grade teacher (34 years at Hope Elementary) who brings a skill set into the classroom that teachers don’t have because they work diligently to stay on top of reading, writing, and math! She takes the time to interact and teach each student, as shown in the video below. 

Students learn to work with clay, watercolors, oil pastels, and learning techniques that help them integrate with their general education curriculum. 

They learn the elements of art, art history, varying artists, and different techniques and media that provide a foundation of art skills and complement the LPOSD curriculum. 

Even better, the finished works of art brighten the hallways in the school and will culminate with an art gallery exhibition at East Bonner County Library so the community can enjoy these works.  

We never know what program will inspire which student!

Our teacher grants support Lake Pend Oreille School District educators to bring creative and innovative programs to the classroom. Because they are teacher-led ideas and not mandated by outside parties, they have a far more significant impact on the students. These grants fill gaps in funding with innovative programs to amplify our impact. If you’d like to support this, you can donate here.