Adams Elementary


Arts Infusion at Adams

About Arts at Adams

At Adams we have created a balanced, integrated arts program encompassing theater, visual, dance and musical arts. Our award-winning program is the only one of its kind in the Seattle School District, and it is our goal to serve as a model and resource for other schools in the Puget Sound area.

It is recognized nationally that when arts are included in the classroom, learning increases on every level. While other schools may teach art, at Adams it is infused into daily instruction. Every student has a sketchbook and participates in at least ten minutes of structured daily drawing, which teaches them visual problem-solving skills and intersects with scientific illustrations and those that adorn students’ stories and nonfiction writing in writers’ workshop. Teachers employ theater arts and movement to bolster learning in literacy, math and the social sciences, and our full-time music and dance teachers collaborate with classroom teachers to enrich academic content.

In the spring of 2012 Adams was recognized as one of two Schools of Excellence in Arts Education by Arts Ed Washington, and in 2005 we received the Mayor’s Arts Award as well as an award from the King County Arts Commission. We have consistently received generous grants from organizations such as the Laird-Norton Foundation and the Washington State Arts Commission. These grants, in addition to strong support from the Adams PTA and our ongoing partnership with Arts Ed Washington and Arts Impact, help fuel our ever-growing program and our diverse culture of learning through the arts.

Meet the Arts Team

In order to maintain all the facets of our program, several member have come together to form the Arts Team. This team of teachers meets regularly with our Principal and the Arts Committee, and often work together on a task or divide duties among themselves, depending on the needs of the school and the arts program. In addition to division of labor, one of the aims of having several members on this team is to ensure that the traditions and goals we have established continue to be pursued long into the future, eventually becoming self-sustaining.

Arts Team duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Organizing professional development for teachers
  • Arranging performances and residencies by visiting artists
  • Reaching out to the community for partnership and support
  • Applying for grants and awards
  • Developing and updating our School Arts Plan
  • Displaying student artwork and well-known works of fine art meant to inspire students’ thinking and discussion
  • Organizing special arts events such as Art From Your Heart Days (3x/year all-school, multi-arts workshops) and Visual Arts Night
  • Ordering and maintaining supplies and equipment
a watercolor and pen self-portrait of Mr. McAuley

Rory McAuley, first grade teacher, an Eastern Washington native, received his MAEd from Antioch University, a BFA in printmaking from the University of Washington, and an AFA from Spokane Falls Community College. He has been teaching at Adams since 2007, and this is his third year on the Arts Team.

Margaret Klimenkov-Paulk , 5th grade teacher, has been teaching for over two decades.  She spent the first half of her career in Redwood City CA, the second here in Seattle at Adams Elementary.  Margaret received her BA from San Francisco State University and recently completed her M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction: Integrated Teacher through the Arts.  She is deeply committed to integrating the arts into the curriculum and guiding children to discover and explore their innate creativity. When not working Margaret enjoys photography and spending time with her family.

Arts Infusion and Curriculum Development

Almost all of our teachers have received two years of training with Arts Impact, a local organization that partners with area schools, museums, theater and dance groups, and other arts organizations to give teachers the knowledge and skills they need to infuse the arts into their teaching. Many members of our faculty hold graduate degrees in the arts and art education, and all of our staff regularly participate in ongoing arts training and professional development.

Art from the Heart Days

Three times a year, the entire school participates in a ninety-minute, multi-arts celebration, where students travel to a different part of the school to engage in an activity with another teacher, staff member or a volunteer from the community. The products of these workshops are then displayed throughout the school. This event helps build a sense of community, gives students and adults an opportunity to work with someone new, and exposes everyone involved to new art forms and experiences.

Please check out our Adams Art Gallery for examples of student work.

Image of multiple pieces of art