Leading from the Middle semi-regular musings from NAEA's Middle Level Division

April 2018

CONVENTION highlights

Our division was very busy in Seattle. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with our fellow division members and re-energize ourselves as we return home with new ideas for our students.

Middle Level Medleys
Three roundtables at once! View from "Medley I : An Artroom for All"

Our team of medley presenters represented the Middle Division well! Our presenters generously shared their content multiple times, spending about ten minutes with a small group, then moving to the next group to do it all again. It's a lot to ask of our presenters, but our participants are able to connect with our experts in a more personal manner.


MEDLEY I: An Artroom for All

Patty Bode, MA | Tara Rousseau, Toronto, ON | Kathy Bareis, WI


MEDLEY II: Promising practices

Leslie Flowers, CT | Mari Atkinson, WA | Shelly Hallsted, WA | Ericka Ryba, TN | Hannah Salia, WA


MEDLEY III: Action & Advocacy

Marisa Pappas, VA | Carolyn Dooley, RI | Janis Nunnally, TN | Catherine Campbell, SC


Middle Division Awardee Showcase

Our national and regional awardees offered their time and expertise in a session called, "Excellence in our Midst: Awardee Showcase." The team presented their personal philosophies and stories, and engaged the audience in a lively Q&A.

(left to right) So Choi (NJAHS), Kirstie Hein Sadler (Southeastern), Marisa Pappas (National), Tamara Draper (Western), Lora Marie Durr (Eastern)

Marisa, Tamara, Kirstie, Lora, and So: Thank you for your candor and perspective. It was great to hear from you and so inspiring to see your passion and dedication to your students.


P.S. It's never too early to start planning for next year's awards! Nomination materials are typically published late Summer/early Fall. Keep an eye out and nominate a deserving colleague for the 2019 Awards Program. There are so many of us doing inspiring work, let's recognize their efforts!

A postcard reminder, or "Nomination Nudge," that was circulated at Convention. People filled out a card to remind themselves of a colleague who deserves recognition, then they put their OWN mailing address on the back. The cards were collected and will be mailed in Aug/Sept to get us thinking about writing a nomination in the Fall.
Conversations w/ colleagues

Our very first session in Seattle set the stage for the rest of the convention, providing attendees the opportunity to meet some fellow middle school educators and discuss some of the pressing topics in our field.

Our poster with discussion topics for our "Conversations" session.

The most vibrant discussions seemed to center around National Junior Art Honor Societies and fostering diverse, inclusive and equitable classrooms, with a particular focus on our students who identify as LGBTQ.

With this helpful discussion and needs-assessment, this session provided some direction for the coming months. Keep an eye out for more resources and opportunities for current NJAHS sponsors and would-be chapter leaders, under the guidance of NAEA's NAHS National Council.

Also, by building a relationship with NAEA's LGBTQ+ Interest Group, we'll be working to connect our members with resources for fostering welcoming and affirming learning environments for our students who identify as LGBTQ. (For example, check out this recent article from NAEA News)

Building on this work, we'll also continue to connect with related interest groups, including, but not limited to, the Committee on Multiethnic Concerns (COMC), Special Needs in Art Education (SNAE) and the Women's Caucus (WC). We'll also work to inform our members of the essential work being done by NAEA's Task Force on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. It is vital to our students that we, as educators, have the resources and support to establish and maintain an art space that celebrates the strengths and perspectives of all our students.

ART Chopped
Examples of sculptures created during our "Art Chopped" session

Division Director-Elect Kathy Bareis organized a new session based on the Food Network's popular show, Chopped, in which contestants respond to a collection of mystery materials. Our participants arranged themselves in small teams and collaborated to construct a sculpture in response to the challenge:

"You have been commissioned to create a sculpture for NAEA to be displayed at the new headquarters. Using materials provided and any other materials you may have brought into this session, you are challenged to create a sculpture that embodies NAEA."

This session, which was planned as a cross-over between both the Middle- and Secondary Divisions, was full of busy energy and creative cooperation. Thanks to Kathy for bringing such a welcome addition to our slate of offerings this year!

Artist Nick Cave opened the Convention on Thursday morning.
Member Cappie Dobyns shared her vision of NJAHS.
Designer/Educator Golan Levin "connected" with us all during Saturday's General Session.

Other division news

Njahs happenings
Submissions for this upcoming exhibition are due April 19th, 2018

2018 NAHS/NJAHS Juried Exhibition | Call for Submissions

From the exhibit prospectus: The National Art Education Association is pleased to announce the call for submissions for the third annual National Art Honor Society/National Junior Art Honor Society (NAHS/NJAHS) Juried Exhibition. Showcasing the artwork of talented student artists who are members of the NAHS/NJAHS programs, this competitive exhibit provides a backdrop to a variety of national and local events held at the NAEA Studio & Gallery in Alexandria, VA.

Up to 60 works of art created by NAHS/NJAHS students will be selected by jurors for inclusion in the exhibit. All students whose work is selected will receive an invitation to the exhibition, a certificate of participation, and a press release to share with their local media.

In addition to the juried gallery exhibition, all qualified artwork will be showcased digitally in the NAEA Virtual Gallery.

This opportunity is available exclusively to students who are documented members of NAHS/NJAHS chapters, registered for the 2017-2018 school year.

Questions? Contact Heather Overvold, NAEA Marketing and Communications Coordinator/NAHS Programs Manager, at HRose@arteducators.org or 703-889-1289

  • Our new Facebook NJAHS Sponsor Forum is LIVE! We're looking to connect with chapter sponsors, soon-to-be chapter sponsors, and folks just curious about the whole art honor society thing. Check us out!
Check out our "NJAHS Sponsor Forum" board on Pinterest (screenshot)
  • Follow our "NJAHS SPONSOR FORUM" Pinterest Board. We've begun compiling resources to share, and we hope to build this resource over the coming months and years. If you'd like to be added as a contributor, email naeamiddlelevel@gmail.com
Fabulous Faculty | A Spotlight Series


Laurel Archambault

Henry James Memorial School | Simsbury, Connecticut

We asked ms. Archambault to tell us about the exemplary work she has done in her school. Here's how she responded:

In the year 2000 we were lucky enough to have a new music and art wing added to our school. In doing so we were able to help design the space. It was wonderful to be a part of this process and gave us ownership over the space. We designed an area for pottery wheels, a portfolio slot for each student, and we also designed a shared office, a shared storage room, and a shared kiln room.

But, of course, the best thing about our rooms are the amazing students we get to see every day for a trimester, which meets for 12 weeks in an alternate block schedule. Eight periods a day for 42 minutes – MTF, and 4 block periods for 78 minutes on Wed. (odd periods) and Thurs. (even periods).

This schedule is wonderful because it allows for longer blocks of time and gives us the opportunity to see all classes on certain days. It has also opened up a little more time for students to get down to the art rooms because they have more study halls (And what better to do during a study hall besides art? Right!??).

We switched this year to this new schedule. For my previous 22 years of teaching, we had four quarters for nine weeks of the year with 7 periods a day for 46 minutes. So it’s quite a nice increase in art time!

Over the past 3 years they have been talking about making our school a STEM school, so of course, I have been doing all I can to make it more of a STEAM concept. First, I joined the “STEM” committee, and I always push it as STEAM as much as possible. Second, I began brainstorming all the things that we already do that relate to the STEAM concepts and make them a little more formalized, including a formal STEAM Unit as a focus in our curriculum (before this it was an Interdisciplinary Unit and our transition was very simple).

In our middle school art classrooms, my co-workers, Kristie Arbesman and Stephanie Lauretano, and I already had a few stations that connected with some of the STEAM areas including architecture, 3-D pen design and using iPads to create art. So we decided to push this concept of Creative Art Maker Stations. We created 8 stations that include 2 stations per category: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. And of course, they all include Art in some way. The students love the exploration and experimentation when working at various stations of their choice.

Using iPads to photograph and document all their station creations, we complete a form on Google Classroom to show the artwork and the connections to the STEAM areas for each design created. Our students also load all their artwork to Artsonia so they have a running online portfolio, which is a great way to reach out to parents and families.

We have an amazing and supportive Art Department family, and we willingly share ideas K-12. We have always had incredible supervisors for our Art Department, and the one we have now is no exception! Shannon Gagne has been with us for three years. She promotes a positive, sharing culture in which we all exchange ideas and help each other all the time. We have very supportive administrators, who do as much as they can to support our area, including allowing us to attend PD like the local and, occasionally, national conferences (if not too far away). They allow us to bring in visiting artists and provide technology for our department when we express the need. For example, when we needed iPads, we were granted 5 per classroom. And due to the written and visual digital work in our curriculum, we now have Chromebook carts in the two art classes.

Of course the students who come in with their excitement, enthusiasm and creativity every day are a huge inspiration for units and lessons developed and created. They certainly feed off the new and creative undertakings we have started like our stations (3-D pen and Architecture) which made us push to incorporate more. They also love to be able to create pottery on the wheel at the 8th grade level in our school.

None of this is created in a vacuum, we constantly feed off of each other, learning from past colleagues and student teachers. We are always, always growing and learning. I believe our entire art department feels as though we are all life-long learners and artists, and we seek out new ways to promote what we do and keep that excitement alive in our teaching.

Thank you, Laurel, for sharing this glimpse into your inspiring program.

If you would like to recognize a Fabulous Faculty or share a bit about your own program, please contact our Eastern Regional Division Director, Leslie Flowers.


NATIONAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE. July 23rd thru 26th in Charleston, South Carolina

The purpose of the National Leadership Conference is to support and enhance the effectiveness of experienced, new, and aspiring art education leaders. The 2018 program has been designed in direct response to the timely interests and needs expressed by you and other NAEA state leaders; time and space have been designated for regional meetings as well as for small group meetings with other state association leaders whose organizations are similar in size and share many of the same challenges. Learn more

NAEA's annual offering of Summer Programs continues to grow!

#NAEA19 WORKSHOP PROPOSALS. It may seem like we just returned from Seattle '18, but it's never too early to start planning for Boston '19! Keep an eye out for NAEA's call for proposals and session submissions. Have a question about the process or want to wordsmith your proposal, feel free to reach out to your division leadership (our contact info is at the bottom of this page).

NAEA DELEGATION TO VIETNAM | October 20-27, 2018

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION. As a delegate, you will have the opportunity to meet with your Vietnamese counterparts to learn about the education system and the place of art within it through professional meetings and daily site visits. This tour will be led by NAEA President Kim Huyler Defibaugh.

Topics of Discussion (from NAEA):

  • Learning about the education system in Vietnam/Cambodia
  • Exploring the ways in which art education fits into the priorities of the education system
  • Observing the ways visual arts are taught at all levels of education
  • Learning about the training requirements for art educators
Did you know NAEA hosts a Career Center for Job Seekers and Employers?
STAY COnnected
Want to connect with our Division? There are many options!
Recent examples of students' work being featured as our social media PROFILE PICS
  • PROFILE PICS. Our social media profiles continue to feature submitted artworks from our Middle Division members. If you would like to share your students' work for an upcoming spotlight, please message us on FB, Instagram or Twitter, or email your attachments to naeamiddlelevel@gmail.com. Please include your name, your school name & location, and the grade level/medium/etc. of the attached works.
  • NAEA NEWS & NEWSLETTER. Have an idea for an upcoming issue of NAEA News or this Newsletter? We'd love to hear it. Email us at naeamiddlelevel@gmail.com and pitch your story ideas! Check out the latest issue of NAEA News, too.

Next issue we'll talk Workshop Proposals, getting involved across the Division, social media check-ins, NJAHS happenings, and another "Fabulous Faculty" spotlight. See you then!

national art education association
  • NAEA Mission. The National Art Education Association advances visual arts education to fulfill human potential and promote global understanding.
  • NAEA's Statement on Diversity & Inclusion. NAEA is committed to the important role of visual art education in providing and promoting more just, inclusive learning communities in local and global contexts, and embraces diversity as an integral part of the mission of visual art education. The mosaic of our global humanity is enriched and expanded by the inclusion of all peoples and cultures and the art forms they create.
Featured Cover Art

7th & 8th grade collaborative project for International Dot Day (in the style of Kandinsky), submitted by Sarah Quartuccio, from Martin T. Krueger Middle School in Michigan City, Indiana


Created with images by Quangpraha - "sunset the sun wooden bridge"

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