District of Distinction award logo

McAllen ISD is one of just 59 school districts in Texas to earn the Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) 2022 District of Distinction Award.

This is the third straight year McAllen ISD has earned this honor, placing the district in the top five percent of school districts in the state.

More than 1,200 school districts were eligible to apply. 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.” The award is based on the 2021-22 school year.  

“We were impressed and proud of your level of participation in visual art learning experiences at all grade levels,” Sandra Newton, TAEA’s Administration and Supervision Division Chair, wrote to the district. “The TAEA District of Distinction is a designation to be proud of as your district is providing its students with a well-rounded education rich in creative opportunities that ensure success for all.”

TAEA is the leading advocate for the visual arts in the state. This is the fourth year that TAEA has honored districts that met rigorous criteria based on data.

“We appreciate TAEA for recognizing the hard work and creativity of our dedicated teachers and talented students,” McAllen ISD Superintendent Dr. J.A. Gonzalez said. “McAllen ISD’s visual arts students have consistently earned distinctions at both regional and state levels for years.”

“The visual arts provide an avenue for our students to channel their imagination,” McAllen ISD Fine Arts Director Debra Loya said. “Our community takes a lot of pride in both the visual arts and fine arts.”

McAllen ISD’s Fine Arts Department has also been designated as one of the “Best Communities for Music Education” every year since 2013 by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation.

It is one of the few districts that offers a comprehensive fine arts program that includes award-winning band, choir, orchestra, theatre arts, visual arts, mariachi and dance programs In addition, elementary students are taught by degreed and certified music teachers from kindergarten through 5th grade. High school advanced placement courses are currently offered in music theory and visual arts.

“McAllen ISD has set a high standard for visual arts advocacy, integrated visual arts curriculum, encouraged creativity, community participation and student growth,” Newton said. “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.”

McAllen ISD will be honored at the TAEA Administration & Supervision Division meeting as part of the TAEA Fall Conference on November 10.

About TAEA District of Distinction Award:
District of Distinction has just completed its fourth year and is looking forward to increased participation going into the 2022-23 school year. The Administration and Supervision division oversees the award program. The award honors school districts that are leading the way in the visual arts. The TAEA Administration and Supervision Division 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.

Website: www.taea.org