NAfMe member

CAN Professional Learning Communities

Through the Connected Arts Networks (CAN) project, NAfME is part of a vibrant national network of 484 Teacher Participants taking part in multi-year Professional Learning Communities (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

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