The art and music department recognized by the Illinois Art Education Association  


Ayaana Pradhan

Metea Valley received the School of Distinction Award from The Illinois Art Education Association.

The Illinois Art Education Association recognized Metea Valley High School as a 2020 School of Distinction on November 2. Metea is one of the eight schools that will be an inaugural recipient of the association’s Schools of Distinction Award.

“We have a lot of students whose artwork has been used professionally and published,” Principal Dr. Darrell Echols said.  

The Illinois Art Education Association (IAEA) states as part of its official policy that art, design, and media education are central to a comprehensive education. They also acknowledge that participation in art-based courses provides a unique enhancement to one’s creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills. 

“After receiving the nomination, the department worked together to submit artifacts that represented our work and student outcomes in these areas,”  Art Teacher Karen Popovich said.

One thing that was highlighted in particular was the various ways the art department showcases their artistic outcomes. 

“We take great pride in the Dark Horse Gallery space and the additional art shows and exhibits that we participate in as a department,” Popovich said.   

The IAEA stresses the critical impact on social and emotional skills for students in art, design, and media programs. 

The IAEA awards professional excellence when shown in schools across Illinois.  

 According to the IAEA’s school of distinction checklist, Metea arts and music programs serve as exemplars in areas such as authentic learning, showcasing student work, and professional development and training.  

 “We showed how we integrate contemporary artists, 21st-century skills, student choice, social-emotional learning, and cross-curricular learning into our programming,” Popovich said.   

Not only did Metea Valley achieve the full score needed in all six categories, but the school also exceeded the category score in curriculum and assessment. This moved Metea Valley to the School of Distinction status.  

“Many thanks to our awesome art, design, and media teachers for their tireless work. Very deserving of this recognition,” Echols said.