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LIVINGSTON, NJ — As the Livingston Public Schools (LPS) district begins its second year of partnering with the Crayola CreatEd program, Marybeth Kopacz, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for LPS, highlighted some successes from the program’s first year in Livingston and spoke about what’s to come in 2019-2020.
LPS began its partnership with Crayola in November of 2017 in order to adopt the Crayola CreatEd program’s professional learning approach of integrating essential 21st century skills with practical, proven strategies that empower both students and educators.
Kopacz explained that the district “began this valuable work" last school year with Burnet Hill, Harrison, Hillside and Riker Hill elementary schools, but will extend the program this year to Collins Elementary School, Mt. Pleasant Elementary School and Mt. Pleasant Middle School while also continuing at the initial four schools.
“We are very fortunate to have all of our elementaries now involved in the program plus our sixth-grade middle school,” she said. “I couldn't be more thrilled with the partnership, and I want to thank all of the board of education members, our community, our administrative team and our staff for really allowing us to have this opportunity.”
Livingston’s CreatEd Leadership Team—which includes teachers, principals, supervisors, directors and LPS Assistant Superintendent Lisa Capone Steiger—kicked off the partnership in Easton, Penn., where the team got “a really nice taste of the professional development opportunities” in an effort to “foster creativity and creative leadership within the district,” Kopacz explained.
“We were intentional in this choice [of partnering with Crayola CreatEd] because we really wanted to foster future-ready students, schools and educators,” she said. “We wanted to build that creative capacity, build collaboration and build the growth mindset.”
Kopacz added that the administrators also feel strongly about fostering “social and emotional learning skills” while also continuing to develop multi-disciplinary connections and to embedding arts-infused education in the classrooms.
In this last year, team members attended three trainings—entitled “Building Creative Capacity,” “Multiliteracies” and “STEAM”—along with additional coaching sessions that took place in the four participating schools.
According to Kopacz, the "Creative Leadership" session focused on creating a vision, serving as catalysts who transform schools, and embracing innovative teaching strategies.
"Multiliteracies" taught participants how to build written, visual, math and digital literacies as well as making thinking visible.
The goal of the "STEAM" workshop was to explore project-based learning for 21st century learners STEAM (science, technology, education, arts and math) and design thinking, and how to convey meaning with visual patterns.
By thinking about how engineers, designers, scientists, technology experts and artists work together to solve real-world challenges and create new opportunities, Kopacz said the district has its “eye on the future.”
“This past year was a tremendous success,” she said. “We could not have received more positive feedback from the administrative team, principals, students and staff.”
By way of explanation, Kopacz shared the following video at last week’s Livingston Board of Education (LBOE) meeting to highlight some of the things that were done this past school year through the partnership with Crayola.