Arts for Educators

When we asked teachers on COMPAS’ Educators Advisory Committee how they personally use creativity, Rana Nestrud (Art teacher & Fine Arts Coordinator at Elk River High School) shared that she recharges and gets ready for another school year by diving into the arts herself. Thanks Rana for sharing your observations... and creating an opportunity for other educators to use the arts to become better teachers.


Ahhhh, summer camp…there is something about meeting new people, trying new things  and that twinge of nervousness about the whole experience that just excites me! The difference is that I’m 51. Not your typical “camper” by any stretch. And yet for years I have participated in the production of Arts Camp for Educators and Teaching Artists. This event happens each year in June.

You would think this is an unlikely event: getting teachers who have just completed a year of teaching cherubs to sign up for workshops, giving away more of their precious summer reprieve. The opposite is true! This time for renewing oneself through the arts, connecting and collaborating with other teachers, and sharing best practices is invigorating!

We started this camp with the premise that if teachers are comfortable exploring the arts, they are more likely to use the arts in their classroom. We soon found that taking time to explore the arts had many more benefits.

As teachers we need to stop and renew our creative selves. Even though I love to teach and wouldn’t do anything else, teaching is physically and emotionally demanding. I am able to stand here year 30 because I take time to renew my creative self and recharge each year with a deep dive into creative activities.

Each year I come away from the camp more focused, energized and hopeful about my chosen profession. I’m guessing that is also true for the over 70 teachers who participated this past June.

At our recent COMPAS Educator Advisory Committee meeting, teachers shared how schools and districts can tap COMPAS Teaching Artists for professional development opportunities throughout the year. The Columbia Heights district recently used Frank Sentwali to learn about spoken word techniques, and Adam Napoli-Rangel will be leading a session on culturally relevant teaching in Albert Lea.

Learning through the arts is fabulous experiential learning for us teachers, and reminds us of why adding the arts to lessons throughout the year benefits our kids. The arts recharge and invigorate our souls… something we can all use.

by Rana Nestrud


This year’s Camp runs June 13-15. Much like camp, there are many activities and too little time!

Monday features a free-of-charge, full day on evaluation in arts education with the MN Dept. of Education and Perpich Center.

For a $50 registration fee, you can choose any and all of the Tues/Wed sessions you wish to take. New this year we are able to offer sessions for graduate credit.

For full details on Arts Camp, please go to: http://www.paramountarts.org
(The Arts Camp link is on the right.)

Arts Camp for Educators and Teaching Artists is a collaborative effort between the ISD 728 Regional Center (funded by Perpich), the Paramount Arts Center in St. Cloud and the Central Minnesota Arts Board.