Castleberry ISD Earns 2023 TAEA District of Distinction Award

Castleberry ISD Earns 2023 TAEA District of Distinction Award
Posted on 08/29/2023
Castleberry ISD Earns District of Distinction Award for Leading the Way in Visual Arts

The Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) announced the 68 winners of the 2023 District of Distinction Award. Among the list of honorees is Castleberry Independent School District. The districts received the honor for providing a well-rounded education that advocates and integrates visual arts curriculum to inspire creativity and build social emotional learning that connect learners to their community and beyond.

TAEA is the leading advocate for the visual arts in the state. The organization has previously honored outstanding TAEA members for work in their classrooms and districts. This is the fifth year that TAEA is honoring districts that meet rigorous criteria as evidenced from data.

The visual arts program in Castleberry ISD is a robust program that enjoys a great deal of support from the district. Every Castleberry ISD elementary student in grades pre-K through 5 receives 50 minutes of high-quality visual art instruction each week. Additionally, all secondary students in grades 6 through 12 have access to continue their visual arts education with Advanced Placement offerings at Castleberry High School. The district has 7 fully certified visual arts educators with a vertically and horizontally aligned visual arts curriculum.

"Visual Arts education is an integral component of our students' academic and personal growth, and the district is committed to providing our students with a comprehensive Visual Arts Program,” emphasized Renee Smith-Faulkner, Castleberry ISD superintendent of schools. “Starting in pre-kindergarten, all elementary students participate in music and art through fifth grade. Our district recognizes the profound benefits of participating in the visual arts and is dedicated to ensuring our students have access to this invaluable resource.”

Group photo of Castleberry ISD visual arts teachers Over 1,200 districts were eligible to apply for the 2023 award. Each district submitted documentation they met from the 14-point rubric over the 2022-2023 school year. Only 68 districts met the high standard and will receive the outstanding honor indicating they are in the top 5.5 percent in art education of districts in the state.

The award application highlighted several notable achievements of the district's visual arts program from the previous year. One remarkable accomplishment was the submission of 10 out of 12 students who passed the AP Art Exam with a perfect score. This marked the first instance of such achievement in the school's history. Notably, a student from Castleberry High School emerged as the exclusive winner of the TAEA State Flag Contest among all participants across the state of Texas.

“Being counted among the top visual art programs in the state of Texas is a testament to how Castleberry ISD values and supports visual arts education in our wonderful district. It is an additional honor to be the only 4A district in the state to receive this honor in 2023,” said Steven Moss, Castleberry ISD director of fine arts. 

Castleberry ISD exhibited widespread participation in both the TAEA Visual Art Scholastic Event and the Texas Elementary Art Meet. Many students obtained perfect scores in these events, with representatives from elementary, middle, and high school advancing to the state level. Impressively, Castleberry ISD displayed its dominance by securing victories in all four categories of the Lions Club District 2E2 Red Ribbon Poster Contest for Visual Artists.

“Castleberry Independent School District has set a high standard for visual arts advocacy, integrated visual arts curriculum, encouraged creativity, community participation and student growth,” said the Chair of the Visual Art Administrators of Texas, a division of TAEA, Sandra Newton. “It is a true testament to your visual art educators’ skill, dedication, and flexibility that the quality of their programs continued to provide strong and comprehensive visual art educational experiences to students.”

Sixty-eight districts, including Castleberry ISD will be honored at the TAEA Administration & Supervision Division meeting and General Session during the TAEA Fall Conference General Assembly on Friday, November 17, 2023.

About TAEA District of Distinction Award

District of Distinction has just completed its fifth year and is looking forward to increased participation going into the 2023-2024 school year. The Visual Art Administrators of Texas oversees the award program. The award honors school districts that are leading the way in the visual arts. The Visual Art Administrators of Texas, a division of TAEA, recognizes districts with outstanding leadership in promoting the arts in their district and community. TAEA wants to identify districts that are actively participating members in areas such as VASE, Junior VASE, and TEAM as a few examples. The organization also looks at field experiences, community service, and community exhibitions to name a few as part of the rigorous rubric for the award.

About TAEA

TAEA is the largest state professional organization for art educators in the United States. It is the mission of TAEA to promote quality visual arts education through leadership, advocacy, service, and professional development.