CAN Quarterly Workshops

Connected Arts Networks

Upcoming Workshops:

Check back for details about upcoming workshops.

Accessibility & Inclusion

Presented on September 20, 2023


The Connected Arts Networks (CAN) project establishes national virtual Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for educators in dance, music, theatre, visual and media arts. CAN aims to build a sustainable model of professional learning for arts educators in public schools to strengthen their leadership skills and build their capacity to reach and serve all students through their arts instruction, including social-emotional learning (SEL) and equity, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) strategies.

People Like Us is an organization that helps educators use the arts to create more inclusive and more effective learning environments for students with developmental disabilities through online professional development, research-backed curriculum, and experiential consulting. Educators from People Like Us will participate in a panel discussion on inclusive practice and curriculum accessibility across art forms. In breakout groups, presenters will share a hands-on activity that arts educators can adapt for their own classrooms. This workshop will be recorded; please check back for access to the recording.


  • Kristi Brown: Inclusive Arts Consultant, Music Specialist
  • Lauren Modawell: Inclusive Arts Consultant, Theatre Specialist
  • Dr. Victor You: Program Director, Occupational Therapist and Visual Art Specialist
  • Kirsti Lewis: Executive Director and Dance/Theatre Specialist


In this document, you’ll read examples of how current CAN Teacher Leaders create accessible arts classrooms. CAN believes that SEL and ED&I practices overlap to contribute to greater accessibility in the classroom. Arts educators can better serve students with developmental di­fferences by making changes and adaptations to their classroom environments and curriculum. Making these adjustments through a knowledge of equity and inclusion can improve students’ self-awareness, communication, emotion regulation, and interpersonal connections. The goal is for students of all abilities to feel a sense of belonging as members of a community and as creative learners. Download the handout here

Teacher Leadership

Presented on July 26, 2023


Changing the World Through Culturally Responsive School Leadership

With a scholarly, researched-backed perspective, our Culturally Responsive School Leadership framework helps school districts start and sustain their equity journey. Culturally Responsive School Leadership (CRSL) should not be thought of as having a singular quantifiable definition, or as a practice that can be definitively attained. Rather, it should be thought of as a flexible and dynamic process that educators are constantly honing and working toward. CRSL has a set of practices and traits with which educators and researchers are always seeking and improving. This workshop is going to give you an overview of our framework and how it all ties together. Our understanding of CRSL is based on recent research and on a recent literature review by Khalifa, Gooden, and Davis (2016).

Presenter: Dr. Muhammad Khalifa
Professor of Educational Administration, The Ohio State Univ.
Founder and President, Teaching for Equity, Empowerment and Community Healing
President/CEO, Ajusted Equity Solutions
Culturally Responsive School Leadership Institute


In this handout, CAN Teacher Leaders describe their experience in schools around the country. One of the CAN goals is to explore how an investment in professional learning for arts educators can transform the value, support, and impact of arts education within buildings, districts, and communities. We know that when schools leverage the unique leadership skills of arts educators, they gain creative problem-solvers, experienced collaborators and partners, family and community engagement specialists, and experts who understand entire student bodies across grades and over time. We believe the most e­ffective teacher leaders are equitable and responsive to student and community culture, as well as mentors to peer educators. Download the handout here.

Podcast Series

Episodes 7 and 8 of the CAN special series of the K12 Art Chat Podcast center around Teacher Leadership from the perspective of four current CAN Teacher Leaders. Podcast co-hosts, The Creativity Department and Oral Historian Dr. Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz, are joined by Nathan Rødahl, Director of Orchestras in Port Angeles, WA; Tim Needles, Educator and Technology Integration Specialist from Sound Beach, NY; Corazón Tierra, Dance Educator with LEAP in New York, NY; and Charles Jabour, Theatre Faculty in Somerville, MA.

Click here to listen.

Special thanks for Davis Publications for the support on this project.

Social-Emotional Learning

Presented on May 11, 2023


Building Supportive School Communities Through Social and Emotional Learning and the Arts

This session will present CASEL’s framework for implementing social and emotional learning –including the 5 Core Competencies, the research behind these practices, and how the integration of the arts has shown great promise in building welcoming and supportive learning communities for our youth.

Presenter: Pamela Randell, Senior Staff Advisor at CASEL


We believe social-emotional learning (SEL), together with culturally responsive education, are cornerstones of e­ective teaching and learning for a comprehensive and inclusive arts learning experience. Through SEL, students develop skills that allow them to be successful not only in school but in all parts of their lives. In this document, you’ll read about experiences from current CAN Teacher Leaders as they work to create welcoming and supportive learning communities in their classrooms. We acknowledge that educators across the country face varying degrees of support and/or challenge in implementing this important work and we encourage educators to consider which strategies in this Tip Sheet might best serve their students. Download handout here.

Podcast Series with The Creativity Department

Episodes 5 and 6 of the CAN series of the K12 Art Chat Podcast center around Social-Emotional Learning from the perspective of four current CAN Teacher Leaders. The Creativity Department is joined by Cristin Carole, First Grade Teacher and Dance Educator; Heather De Koning Foley, Visual Arts Educator; Kristie Farr, Theatre Educator; Meghan Hickey, General Music and Choir Teacher.

Click here to listen.

Special thanks for Davis Publications for the support on this project.

Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

Presented on March 8, 2023


We Gon’ Be Alright, But That Ain’t Alright: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom

Guest Speaker: Dr. Bettina Love (Bettina Love – Abolitionist Educator & Freedom Dreamer)

Dr. Love’s talk will discuss the struggles and the possibilities of committing ourselves to an abolitionist goal of educational freedom, as opposed to reform, and moving beyond what she calls the educational survival complex. Abolitionist Teaching is built on the creativity, imagination, boldness, ingenuity, and rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists to demand and fight for an educational system where all students are thriving, not simply surviving.


CAN is committed to creating equitable and inclusive arts classroom spaces for students of all ages, abilities, genders and racial and ethnic backgrounds. In this document, you’ll read about experiences from current CAN Teacher Leaders. Their personal inquiry questions about how to proactively integrate culturally responsive teaching practices and how to build community in the arts classroom are leading to increased engagement and leadership in students. Download handout here.

Podcast Series with The Creativity Department

Episodes 3 and 4 of the CAN series of the K12 Art Chat Podcast center around Equity, Diversity & Inclusion from the perspective of four current CAN Teacher Leaders. The Creativity Department and Oral Historian Dr. Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz are joined by Michael Gordon, Music Educator and Equity and Inclusion Instructional Leader and Bridget Shepard, Theatre Arts Teacher in episode 3, followed by Lindsey Bauer, Lead Dance Teacher and Gayle Nicholls-Ali, Visual Arts and CTE Teacher.

Click here to listen.

Special thanks for Davis Publications for the support on this project.

Professional Learning Communities

Presented on November 1, 2022


In the first CAN Quarterly Workshop, we will discuss how arts-based Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) provide space for arts educators to share their expertise and personal perspectives on the target CAN content areas: Social-Emotional Learning and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. They are a place where educators can study their own teaching practice and collaborate with peers on how to improve student learning. PLCs are spaces of affirmation, compassion, and patience as well as supportive environments for risk-taking, vulnerability, and honesty. In this interactive workshop we will explore reflective and reflexive teaching through an equity lens. Arts educators will take away strategies for intentional personal reflection and proactive reflexive teaching practices.

LaSaundra Booth, Professional Development/Grant Project Content Manager, NAfME


  • Josh Streeter: Assistant Professor, Theatre Education, Emerson College

  • Nicole Robinson: Dance Director, AB Miller High School

  • Angie Keedy: Professional Development Specialist, NAfME

  • Dennis Inhulsen: Chief Learning Officer, NAEA

  • Jessica Goffredo-Englehart: Borough Arts Director, NYC DOE


Read about beneficial PLC experiences from current CAN Teacher Leaders in the digital handout created for CAN Professional Learning Communities Quarterly Workshop held in November. Download the handout here.

Podcast Series with The Creativity Department

Don’t miss the first in a multi-episode collaborative series where NAEA and The Creativity Department will be joined by Oral Historian Dr. Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz in conversation with teacher leaders. Together they will dive deeply into topics such as ED&I, SEL, and Leadership with CAN teachers and leaders! Enjoy the first two conversations, episode 1 featuring Kim Hoj, Dance and Career Technical Education Teacher, and Jared Cassedy, Performing Arts Coordinator and Conductor of the Lexington High School Wind Ensemble about the importance of PLCs; and episode 2 featuring Amber Arnod, Fine Arts Instructional Coach, and Tina Barrone, Theatre Teacher.

Click here to listen.

Special thanks to Davis Publications for their support on this project.

The contents of the podcasts were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Assistance for Arts Education Program. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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