NAfMe member

Through the (CAN) project, NAfME is part of a large, diverse national network of 484 Teacher Participants taking part in multi-year (PLCs) in music, dance, theater, and visual and media arts. NAfME’s eight PLCs include 100 PreK-12 music teachers (Teacher Participants) and 15 PreK-12 Teacher Leaders. NAfME’s partner organizations in the project, National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), and the National Art Education Association (NAEA), each have discipline-specific PLCs. The national associations are also partnered with the New York City Department of Education’s (NYCDOE’s) Office of Arts and Special Projects (OASP) CAN project.

If you have questions about the CAN grant, please contact LaSaundra Booth at

CAN Programming Learning Communities

Are you a PreK–12 public school or public charter school music educator seeking learning, leadership, networking, and growth opportunities? NAfME is now seeking additional PreK–12 teachers to join a vibrant group of professional learning communities (PLCs) for music educators throughout the United States through the Connected Arts Networks (CAN) project.

  • Learn more about the CAN project, its mission, goals, and large network of music and arts educators. CAN PLCs began meeting virtually each month of the school year starting in January 2024. The PLCs will continue meeting during the upcoming school year through June 2026 and will focus on professional learning and developing and sharing action research projects in the areas of intersection between equity, diversity and inclusion; social emotional learning; and teacher leadership through standards-based arts instruction.
  • Submit an application to join NAfME’s CAN team. Deadline to join PLCs starting in fall 2024: July 15.

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.  

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 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, NAfME’s Teacher Leaders took part in over a year of training involving workshops with national experts and guided peer-to-peer learning through their own national Teacher Leader PLC. Starting in January/February 2024, they will be paired up with other Teacher Leaders and begin facilitating and supporting eight national PLCs of PreK-12 music educators from throughout the United States, each with approximately 12 Teacher Participants. The virtual PLCs meet monthly, with additional opportunities to learn and develop leadership skills through quarterly workshops and summer institutes involving all of the CAN grant partners and participating teachers and organizations.

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 standards-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