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Hamblen County Uses Creativity to Spark Change!

By James Wells posted 10-11-2019 12:28


It’s Learning and Development Month, so we’re showcasing incredible districts that have embraced creativity and the arts as a way to learn and grow as leaders and teachers, and in turn help their students to grow and succeed.

Hamblen County Schools in Morristown, TN worked with Crayola to establish very clear goals and objectives from the start. These goals emphasized academic performance and outcomes, a focus on creativity within the core curriculum, increasing collaboration within schools and within the district, and integrating arts-based activities into lesson plans, curriculum, and core content standards. Together, we partnered to establish our next steps:

  • Provide arts integration and leadership training to teachers in order to broaden understanding of arts integration techniques, lessons, strategies, and program implementation
  • Infuse the arts across the curriculum to improve academic achievement, demonstrate problem solving skills, boost self-confidence, strengthen student engagement, and enhance students' creative expression
  • Expand district-wide collaboration through regular technology and professional learning community meetings. Utilizing these platforms, teachers can share ideas, strategies, lesson plans, and assessments without fear.
  • Expand school, family, and community collaboration and involvement through the arts

    So how did we do this?

    • Engaged a group of 35 educators from across the district in PD training in the following content areas: Creative Leadership, Literacy Across the Curriculum, and STEAM
    • Engaged multiple stakeholders, including district administrators, school admin and teachers, and community foundation (HC EXCELL), to ensure buy-in on all levels through a district PLC aligned to creatED content
    • Established the creation of site-level creative leadership teams at 11 elementary schools
    • Aligned staff of all schools on the importance and value of creative teaching and learning (even those that were initially skeptical)!
    • Provided easy, and engaging, classroom resources to support a creative learning environment

    “Hands-on, meaningful training than can be implemented right away! Standard-based, too!”

    “If you want a hands-on professional development where you learn effective ways to integrate art while teaching your current standards, then this professional development is a MUST!”    

    “This is a very beneficial in-service. It was well facilitated, stayed on topic and timeline, plus great useable information. I would recommend this to ALL educators!”

    “Absolutely amazing and well worth my time! So many new ideas to apply to my teaching.”

    To support this learning, in-person coaching sessions and virtual consultancies helped address roadblocks and provide ways to move forward—addressing the needs of all stakeholders and providing ways to continue developing creative lessons and engage families and community. Through a private community on this platform, participants can access redelivery materials to support a train-the-trainer model, allowing new teachers to get in on the creativity!

    “I enjoyed the activities. They stretch and involve you. James does a great job leading.”

    “I enjoyed how the day gave many examples of how art can be used within every lesson that is taught. The hardest thing to think about as a teacher is the 'time' factor. I already feel rushed to fit everything in, but knowing the importance of art and allowing students to be creative encourages me to slow down.”

    “I have a lot of ELL students in my classroom. They can use art to express themselves when they cannot find the right words.”

    The next steps? Building upon their creative capacity by learning how to convince others this work is important and effective, acknowledging and working towards change as a school-wide journey, implementing a school vision with consistency, and creating a culturally responsive learning environment.

    They also plan to utilize creatED’s activities and protocols for unit planning and project-based learning in their classrooms. Participants are looking to expand upon their knowledge with STEAM training to introduce STEAM challenges, cross-curricular game design, and unplugged coding activities to their students, and bridge these concepts from school to home with creatED’s Family Engagement program and Create-to-Learn activity kits.

    Interested in learning more about how Crayola can help meet your school or district goals through professional development, classroom resources, or family engagement? Visit, call 800-291-6020, or email