Grant Award to Champion Student Creativity

Grant Award to Champion Student Creativity
Posted on 11/01/2018
Otay Principal Monica Castillo

Otay Elementary School’s Monica Castillo is one of 20 elementary and middle school principals selected by Crayola and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) to receive a “Champion Creatively Alive Children” school grant.


Crayola and NAESP partnered to select 20 schools for grants that will fund innovative programs aimed at building creative capacity school-wide.


“The Otay Elementary School staff thank Crayola and the NAESP for selecting our school for this grant award. We are working hard at Otay to bring in additional funds for our arts program. This award will support our efforts to integrate the arts fully into our curriculum and into the lives of our deserving students,” Castillo said.


Otay’s project will enlist teaching artists from a local collaborative, along with the District’s Visual and Performing Arts coordinator, to provide professional development and coaching for teachers to ensure that they have multiple strategies and unit plans to integrate science and art learning. Their modules will be based on the Next Generation Science Standards and national arts standards. Otay staff will be able to share the new modules and videos of teachers implementing the units in order to help other schools adopt art-integration practices.


The Champion Creatively Alive Children grants are intended to help schools nurture children’s creativity and inspire other schools to do the same. Otay received a $2,500 monetary grant and $1,000 worth of Crayola products. Castillo will share outcomes from Otay’s program via NAESP’s website and a special Principal magazine supplement to help other principals develop promising practices related to arts in education.


“Crayola believes that for students to reach their full potential and grow into self-motivated learners, their creativity and critical thinking skills must be nurtured. We believe children develop these 21st century skills when educators ignite their imaginations through art infused education,” said Smith Holland, Crayola president and chief executive officer.


The Champion Creatively Alive Children grant program asks principals to explore a “what if…” learning opportunity. For example, what if schools adopted the arts-infused teaching approach to help students deepen understanding? What if schools relied more on project-based authentic assessment rather than standardized tests? What if parents and schools found ways to document and articulate the value of creative experiences? The entries were judged on innovation, collaboration, and sustainability.


“Principals understand the value of using arts-infused education to ignite deep learning for all students,” said NAESP Executive Director L. Earl Franks. “We’re proud to work with Crayola and the Champion Creatively Alive Children grant program to provide schools with this unique opportunity for resources to enhance students' creativity and success, providing them the type of complete and well-rounded education that they deserve.”

To view the complete list of the 20 Champion Creatively Alive Children grant recipients, visit

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