50th Anniversary Updates

The Art Docent Program has been providing arts enrichment since 1969 through funding from the Instructional Materials Department and elementary principals’ budgets. Since its inception, this program has served more than thousands of elementary-age students through hundreds of volunteers. However, the program, standards, and artists have not changed. The Art Docent Program provides an opportunity for volunteers to be approving, suggesting, challenging, guiding, questioning and prompting volunteer to the classroom each month. These experiences provide the students to the opportunity to explore the process of art, awareness of art elements, and gain an appreciation for the history of art. 

As the Art Docent Program enters its 50th year, it continues to grow and evolve. It is imperative that we find new ways to engage, train and retain Art Docent volunteers who will be equipped to ignite a passion for art and prepare the District’s elementary students for art in the middle schools and beyond. Additionally, the District’s educational standards have changed over the past 50 years and so has the population this program serves and engages. In an effort to reflect our community and the students we serve, there was a need to refresh and realign the Art Docent Program.


Update Goals

  • Set of frameworks based on elements for each grade 
  • Frameworks that are in alignment with the art curriculum being piloted by kindergarten and first grade educators fall of 2019
  • Frameworks that prepare students for middle school art expectations
  • Diversify the selection of artists and their works in the program
  • Provide art project options based on creativity and process, not the finished product
  • Expanded training opportunities for art docents and art docent school coordinators
  • Expanded support framework for art docent school coordinators

Strategic Plan Alignment


  • Goal 1 - Success in the Early Years
  • Goal 2 - Responsible, Resilient, Empathetic Learners
  • Goal 3 - Growth for Every Student, Elimination of Outcome and Opportunity Gaps
  • Goal 4 - Innovative, Creative, Critical Thinkers

Art Docent Volunteers and Programs

  • Building Block 1 - Equitable Access to Personalized and Culturally Responsive Teaching & Learning
  • Building Block 2 - Safe Climate and Strong Relationships with Families and Community
  • Building Block 4 - Data-Informed, Needs-Based Resource Allocation 


Then & Now


  • 44 male artists
  • 4 female artists
  • 14 artists of color
  • 1 living artists
  • 0 local artists
  • Limited set of physical art prints 
  • Nearly 10 years since a new print was added to the program


  • Added 6 female artists
  • Added 10 artists of color
  • Added 8 living artists
  • Added 3 local artists
  • Hybrid of physical and digital prints
  • New website
  • Created a new partnership with the Seattle Art Museum
  • Northshore Schools Foundation grant to support framework updates
  • Increased training team to four members to regionally support our schools


  • Increase framework options for art docents
  • Build an online community where art docents can share best practices with one another
  • Label each framework with the corresponding Washington State Art Standard 
  • Increase opportunities for in-person and virtual trainings
  • Bring Art of Discovery to all Northshore elementary schools



Thank you to our partners who have made the updates possible!

Northshore Schools Foundation logo that includes both the icon and the %22Northshore Schools Foundation%22 text.