Connected Arts Networks Project


Meet NAfME’s teacher leaders!

Learn about opportunities for PreK-12 teachers to apply (starting September 2023) to participate in national professional learning communities 


Connected Arts Networks (CAN): Leveraging Arts Learning Communities for Teacher Leadership and Student Achievement is a 5-year federal grant project funded by the U.S. Department of Education.  The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is proud to be partners on this project with the National Art Education Association (NAEA – the project lead), the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), and the New York City Department of Education’s (NYCDOE’s) Office of Arts and Special Projects (OASP). A comprehensive evaluation of the project will be conducted by Metis Associates.  Click here to see the October 7, 2021 press release announcing this project.

The CAN project focuses on fostering, nurturing, and facilitating

  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I)
  • Social-emotional learning (SEL)
  • Teacher leadership through professional learning communities

All work is aligned to the National Core Arts Standards which recognizes arts education as dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.  Learn about the 2014 Music Education Standards.

The project is based on a New York City program in which music and arts educators across disciplines and grade levels meet monthly in professional learning communities to investigate how to incorporate best practices into music and arts education content, instruction, and leadership. The methodology has proven successful, so national music and arts education organizations want to take the approach nationwide.

After the initial recruitment by NAfME of 15 teacher leaders in year one of the project, music educators at the elementary, middle, and high school levels representing diverse schools/districts/communities nationwide, each of the teacher leaders will be trained and supported to each facilitate a professional learning community. Each PLC will have 10 teachers, for a total of 150 music teachers in NAfME-facilitated PLCs nationwide.

“NAfME is excited to be part of this new, collaborative initiative, which combines and highlights the strengths of music and arts educators across disciplines at the national and local level.”

– Mackie V. Spradley, Immediate Past President, NAfME

  • Learn more about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA) resources through NAfME
  • Access SEL resources from NAfME

Bookmark this page and stop back often for regular project updates, resources, toolkits, and other information and ideas for teacher professional development, ED&I/DEIA, SEL, and standard-based instruction and teacher leadership.

NAfME Staff contacts:

LaSaundra Booth, Professional Development/Grant Project Content Manager –

Angela Keedy, Professional Development Specialist –

John Donaldson, Assistant Executive Director for Professional Development and Publications –