CFISD art program earns 2020 TAEA District of Distinction award

Cypress Springs High School junior Samantha Gonzalez won a Gold Key award for her drawing “Discarding Your Feelings” in the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, hosted by the Harris County Department of Education. (CFISD Communications)

CYPRESS — The Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) recently named CFISD a 2020 District of Distinction award winner. Only 42 districts in the state earned a 2020 District of Distinction designation.

More than 1,000 districts were eligible to apply for the 2020 award. Each district was required to submit documentation demonstrating it met criteria from the rigorous 12-point rubric during the 2019-2020 school year. The rubric examined a district’s visual art program from participation in TAEA through membership, exhibitions and contests to community engagement in the visual arts through field experiences, community service and collaboration with other content areas. This year’s rubric was adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Districts fell into three different categories based on enrollment size, therefore CFISD had to have 60-100 percent participation in each category, which the district met despite some requirements being waived due to COVID-19.

“This honor means that we are the top 4 percent of school districts in the state of Texas who provide more than just a quality education, but we excel specifically within the visual arts program for all our students,” said Lee Carrier, CFISD visual arts coordinator. “What makes CFISD leading in the arts is that we cater to the masses as students have access to art programs starting in kindergarten through graduation. Aligning with the CFISD mission to prepare global leaders for the 21st century, the visual arts opportunities provided, support other content areas and extend beyond graduation.”

The District of Distinction award was created by TAEA in 2019. The award honors school districts that are leading the way in visual arts.

“Showcasing student work is the best engagement tool,” said Jeanna Peña, Arnold Middle School art teacher and Region IV art teacher of the year. “One of the most powerful things we can do as educators is to give our students an audience for their work, especially beyond the walls of the school. It is crucial that we find, and create, opportunities for our students to shine. When their efforts and talents are shared, their voices are heard and their contributions become all that much more significant.”

CFISD, along with other 2020 District of Distinction winners, will be honored at the TAEA Administration and Supervision Division meeting as part of the TAEA Virtual Conference on Nov. 21.

Visit the TAEA website for more information.

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