Student Performance
East Windsor Regional School District - MHK Virtual Winter Concert!
Protect Arts Ed NOW
On Monday January 25th we will be launching the Protect Arts Ed Now campaign. This is an ALL HANDS ON DECK moment as we work to protect our programs during the budget process. 

This is the most important advocacy moment in our recent history.

NJ Students & Teachers NEED YOU!

  • See Our Latest Resources
  • Get tips for monitoring the school budget process
  • Share ideas about engaging your community
  • Collaborate with other arts ed champions around the state

These are unprecedented times. School districts are working hard to deliver their arts education programs, despite so many challenges. As arts ed advocates, we can all help keep strong programs in place by getting active.
You can use your voice to support arts educators as plans and school year budgets will be in the spotlight starting this month!

When: Jan 25, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 
Arts Ed NJ Joins Forces with the National Federation of State High School Association
The National Council of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) approved Arts Ed NJ as an NFHS affiliate member during its Winter Meeting earlier this month, which was held virtually due to the pandemic. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), an athletics-only association, is the NFHS voting member in New Jersey.

The board of directors for the National Federation for State High School Associations approved Arts Ed NJ's application to be designated as the NFHS performing arts affiliate for New Jersey. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) is the athletics affiliate for the state.

The designation allows Arts Ed NJ to provide more support and resources for performing arts activities, including extracurricular and after school programs, and to advocate on their behalf at the state level and representation at the national level.

Arts Ed NJ has been collaborating with the NFHS since April of 2020, working closely on policies, research, and publications to support performing arts during the pandemic, including support for the International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study at the University of Colorado and University of Maryland. The affiliation inspired the creation of the inaugural New Jersey State Solo and Ensemble Contest. Additional collaborative initiatives with other NJ based arts education organizations, including coordinated speech and debate, theatre, and educator recognition programs, will be announced in the coming months for the 2021/2022 school year.

"The NFHS is very excited to welcome Arts Ed NJ to the National Federation of State High School Associations,” stated Dr. James Weaver, Director of Performing Arts and Sports at the NFHS. "Arts Ed NJ and their leadership has been instrumental on the national level as we navigated the impacts of the global pandemic. The strength of the NFHS comes from its member associations that work together on a national scale to problem solve and tackle the big issues facing performing arts. Arts Ed NJ is a great addition to the NFHS and we look forward to working together."

About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.9 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at
Inaugural New Jersey Solo and Ensemble Festival Attracts 1,000 Student Musicians
The Inaugural New Jersey Solo and Ensemble Festival registration closed this month with over 1,000 student musicians participating.

The Inaugural New Jersey State Solo & Ensemble Festival (NJSSE) was launched to recognize student achievement in music education across the state. Open to all public or private middle school and high school students, the Inaugural New Jersey State Solo & Ensemble Festival is being held virtually to provide opportunities for scholastic music students to showcase their talents either individually or in a small ensemble. The festival is being run by Arts Ed NJ with systems support provided by Music for All.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be bringing this opportunity to our NJ students and music educators! The response has been overwhelming," stated Dennis Argul - Festival Director. " We cannot wait to have the students submit their videos and our outstanding roster of adjudicators provide feedback for the students to support the work they are already doing with their teachers as well as give them some further insight on how to improve their craft. In this time where there are so many 'No's' for students, we are happy to work together to provide students with 'Yes!' This is a great start for the State Festival and we hope it becomes a part of the fabric of the opportunities for the students of NJ!"
Through the Solo & Ensemble experience, students learn the discipline of rehearsal, are challenged to advance their musical skills, perform before an adjudicator, and receive feedback on their performance. Those that perform at the highest level at a District Festival will be invited to advance to the State Solo & Ensemble Festival.

A second opportunity for student to participate will open on March 15th.

Arts Ed NJ Professional Learning
Save the Date! 
SEL Webinar Series: Student Engagement
Thursday, 2.25.21 7pm EST 

Exploring New Jersey’s Learning Standards in the Visual and Performing Arts
March 10th 2pm-4pm or April 21st 2pm-4pm
In this webinar, participants will learn to navigate the new online portal for the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in the Visual and Performing Arts. This session will provide supervisors and teacher leaders an opportunity to begin unpacking the new standards and appendices. Many practical implications of implementation, including professional development and curricular revisions, will be explored through peer-to-peer and facilitated discussion.

Jeff Santoro, Supervisor of Fine & Performing Arts, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District
Kerri Sullivan, District Supervisor of the Arts, K-12, Bridgeton Public Schools

No Fee
Social-Emotional Learning and Student Engagement Through Arts Education
March 24th 2pm-4pm
Arts Education is a remarkable pathway for social-emotional learning and student engagement. In this workshop participants will explore strategies for extending the reach of teaching and learning in and through the arts. Learn directly from practitioners in this session, which will feature powerful examples as well as proven strategies.

Latasha Casterlow-Lalla, Supervisor of Visual & Performing Arts, Passaic Public Schools
Aixa Burgos, Music Technology Teacher, Passaic Preparatory Academy, Passaic Public Schools

Fee: $60
Student Voices
NJ Thespian Festival 2021
By: Jocelyn Jeffries, Arts Ed NJ Intern

NJ’s Virtual Thespian Festival took place January 16th, 17th & 18th 2021, I can’t believe it was that long ago because it feels like just yesterday! This wonderful weekend was filled with excellent performances, presentations and thespians. Being virtual gave us the opportunity to watch the pre-recorded performances and short films while, also, packing our schedules with back to back live workshops. Our workshop coordinator, Jess O’Brien scored 50+ live workshops for the students and educators to learn about everything from inclusive theater to virtual productions. On top of all that, students got the opportunity to compete for scholarships such performance, technical, Arts Advocacy and Democracy Works. I was awarded the scholarship for Arts Advocacy all due to my internship at Arts Ed NJ and our chapter director, Carolyn Little was honored with “The Educator of the Year Award”. I look forward to seeing what our amazing Adult and Student Board have up their sleeve for next year’s (hopefully not virtual) 2022 Festival. For more information on the NJ Thespians, subscribe to the NJ Newsies Newsletter using this link
Calling all NJ Students in High School & College!

Join the Student Voices Series: Arts Education Roundtable 3 LIVESTREAMED on FB and Youtube

This event is for students and run by students. Informal. Fun. Connect with Peers. A discussion around the importance of arts education now more than ever! Share the impact arts education has on your life and why it is essential.
NJ Governor's Awards in Arts Education
NJGAAE Presents
Every Friday
Join us TONIGHT on our Facebook page and Youtube at 7pm to discuss Arts Education & Advocacy with Alum Tamar Lasure-Owens! 
Tamar LaSure-Owens 
has dedicated her life to the service of others, “Keep exploring. Keep dreaming. Keep asking why. Don’t settle for what you already know. Never stop believing in the power of your ideas, your imagination and your hard work to change the world”- by Barack Obama. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice with a certificate in African American Studies from Stockton University and a Master of Science in General Administration from Central Michigan University. In 2015, Tamar became the recipient of the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Arts Advocacy. She was recognized for her conscientious work, dedication, extraordinary advocacy, demonstrated excellence and exceptional contributions to arts education to Pleasantville School District and its community. In 2017, Tamar partnered with Cygnus Creative Arts in Egg Harbor Township to create an outreach dance plan under the Art In Motion (A.I.M.) Program; and successfully implemented Leeds Avenue School Ballet (LASB) consisting of fifty first, second and third graders at Leeds Avenue School ( 

Additionally, LaSure-Owens, a proud member of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Incorporated (NSPDK) Delta Lambda Chapter; serves as a Planning Board Member of the New Jersey Education Association’s (NJEA) Patriots Alliance for military veterans, serves on the NJEA Instruction Committee, NJEA Amistad Stakeholder Group, NJEA Members of Color (MOC), NJEA South Jersey Social Justice Committee (SJSJC), the New Jersey Association of Black Educators (NJABE), Hispanic Association of Atlantic County (HAAC) and Vice-President to the Pleasantville/Mainland Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). 

Tamar’s military service has made her a phenomenal leader inspiring Leeds Avenue School students and staff to optimal efforts for Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day. Tamar, a veteran of the New Jersey Army National Guard, has been awarded two Army Commendation Medals and two Army Achievement Medals. LaSure-Owens affectionately known as the “HYPE Lady,” was the guest speaker at Pleasantville High-School’s JROTC Ball in 2016. Her motivational and inspiring efforts led her to attend the Arts Ed Summits in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

Currently, LaSure-Owens is a first-grade teacher at Leeds Avenue School and the district’s AMHOTINO (Amistad, Holocaust and Latino history) Coordinator. Pleasantville School District is a “state model” for Amistad integration in all content areas. The history and contributions of African Americans in the Arts are infused in each chapter of (K-5th grade) Social Studies curricula. As AMHOTINO Coordinator, Tamar has district-wide professional development for (K-5th grade) teachers and instructional aides every seven weeks to introduce, review and encourage feedback on the newly developed AMHOTINO curriculum resources located on the school district’s website. Tamar’s endless efforts include past artist-in-education residencies sponsored by Writers Theatre of New Jersey offering interdisciplinary and cross-curriculum themed-based grants for Leeds Avenue School students.

For the 2017-2018 school year, LaSure-Owens was the National Life Group “Life Changer of the Year” Nominee. She was recently awarded Leeds Avenue School’s “Teacher of the Year” for the 2019-2020 school year. Since 2017, Tamar has voluntarily attended Amistad Summer Institute facilitated by the NJDOE Amistad Commission, in addition to, promoting, creating and implementing the Amistad curriculum at Leeds Avenue School. Due to her commendable efforts, in 2019, seventy-eight staff members including teachers, administrators and support staff received New Jersey Legislative Commendations from Senator Chris Brown for implementing the Amistad curriculum into English Language Arts and Social Studies curricula. Leeds Avenue staff also received certificates of recognition from the Atlantic County Freeholders Board for Amistad implementation in all grade levels (K-5th grade).

Tamar’s efforts and leadership have enabled for two consecutive years, all four first grade classrooms to fully implement a culturally-rich and arts-infused curriculum with the support and expertise of a residency artist, to teach poetry and writing using drums. In closing, Tamar credits her continued successful advocacy to meet robust sequential standards in arts education, to comply with both the Amistad and Holocaust mandates, to the NJDOE Amistad Commission, NJDOE Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator Dr. Dale Schmid, Appel Farm, NJEA Amistad Stakeholder Group, ArtPride, Writers Theatre of New Jersey, Quadrant Arts Education Research, Cygnus Creative Arts Board of Directors, Hispanic Associatin of Atlantic County (HAAC), Pleasantville Public School’s Administration and Board of Education.
February #IHeartArtsEdNow
Mark your calendars for the #ILoveArtsEdNow photo challenge
Join us and follow along all month on instagram
Click images to download
March is Arts in Our Schools Month
Arts Ed Now Featured Activities
The student artwork within the "2021 Emerging Artists Art Exhibition" looks amazing as always. We had 28 students participate. Please check out the online gallery-

The Virtual Awards Ceremony will take place this Sunday, 1/24 at 2:30pm. 

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 927 9315 1401
Passcode: 407938
Are you as excited as we are for the virtual award ceremony?! We look forward to sharing such a special moment with you this Friday, January 22, 2021, at 7:30pm!

Be sure to register online at
and help spread the word to family, friends, coworkers, club members, neighbors, etc!
About Arts Ed NJ
Arts Ed NJ is the unified voice for arts education in New Jersey. Arts Ed NJ (previously the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership) was originally founded in 2007 as a cosponsored program of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, with additional support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey Department of Education and Music for All Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The mission of the Arts Ed NJ is to provide a unified voice for a diverse group of constituents who agree on the educational benefits and impact of the arts, specifically the contribution they make to student achievement and a civilized, sustainable society. Additional information is available at
Arts Ed NJ |