Crayola & NAESP Award Grants to Champion Creativity in Schools

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20 K-8 Schools Across the Country Receive Funds to Nurture Creatively Alive Children

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School principals are charged with preparing our nation's children to thrive in the 21st century—a task that depends on fostering a culture of creativity and critical thinking

Crayola and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) today announced the recipients of the “Champion Creatively Alive Children” school grants. Crayola and NAESP together selected 20 schools to receive the grants, which will fund innovative programs aimed at fostering children’s critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication skills.

The Champion Creatively Alive Children grants are meant to help educators explore new ways to nurture children’s creativity and inspire other educators to do the same. Each school received a $2,500 monetary grant and $500 worth of Crayola products. The grant recipients will share outcomes via NAESP’s website in order to help other educators develop promising practices.

“Crayola believes that for students today to reach their full potential and grow into self-motivated learners, their imagination must be nurtured. We believe these children are empowered by the educators who ignite their abilities to bring new ideas to life,” said Mike Perry, Crayola president and chief executive officer.

The Champion Creatively Alive Children grant program asked educators to explore a “what if…” learning opportunity. For example, what if arts-infused learning thrived every day in schools? 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.

“School principals are charged with preparing our nation’s children to thrive in the 21st century—a task that depends on fostering a culture of creativity and critical thinking," said NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly. “Working with Crayola on the Championing Creatively Alive Children grant program has allowed us to help provide our schools with the means and inspiration to develop the whole child by creating innovative programs that have the ability to transform schools into creativity centers.”

Highlighted below are five examples of the grant recipients and the programs they will execute:

Art and Architecture Tell a Community’s Story—Students will explore the role of immigration and community on architecture and arts throughout Pittsburgh neighborhoods. They will design their own community and create 3-D replicas of buildings in their community. Principal Sandra Och of Pittsburgh Carmalt Science & Tech Academy (Pittsburgh, PA)

Puppetry: A Collaborative, Inter-disciplinary Art Form that Gives Students a Voice—Through exploring the world of puppetry, students will find their individual voice while learning important tools used in literacy, healthy communication and the visual arts. Principal Marsha Elliott of Jonathan D. Hyatt P.S. 154 (Bronx, NY)

STOP, DROP, and CREATE: Simultaneous Creative Time for the Entire School—Each month, students will be given a challenge or problem to solve, visually. Creativity will be a focal point of the school and in their teaching curriculum of STOP, DROP and CREATE. Principal Laurie McDonald of Evergreen Mill Elementary (Leesburg, VA)

Creating Critters and Collaborative Stories Builds Compassion and Leadership Skills—Students will explore techniques and gain inspiration from the Baltimore American Visionary Art Museum artist, Jennifer Strunge. They will design original “critters” and create storylines for the characters, focused on problem-solving themes. Principal Patrice Goldys of Norwood Elementary (Baltimore, MD)

Teachers and Artists Collaborate on Authentic Curriculum About Montana’s American Indian Tribes—Students will use a variety of media (2-D and 3-D art forms) to solve problems, expand their creative thinking and work like a collaborative community. They will visit galleries and examine how art is studied, created and displayed. They will learn about their American Indian heritage and present their cultural background both in a historical and contemporary context. Principal Karlona Sheppard of East Glacier Park Grade School (East Glacier Park, MT)

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

About Crayola:
Crayola LLC, based in Easton, Pa. and a subsidiary of Hallmark Inc., is the worldwide leader in children’s creative expression products. Known for the iconic Crayola crayon first introduced in 1903, the Crayola brand has grown into a portfolio of innovative art tools, crafting activities and creativity toys that offer children innovative new ways to use color to create everything imaginable. Consumers can find the wide array of Crayola products in the “Crayola Aisle” at all major retailers. For more information, visit

About the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP):
Established in 1921, NAESP serves elementary and middle school principals in the United States, Canada, and overseas. NAESP leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle-level principals and other education leaders in their commitment to all children. For more information, visit


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