Developing Inclusive Art Classrooms and Experiences Where All Students Are Inspired to Create

Bette NaughtonBette Naughton is an art educator in the West Chester Area School District with almost 20 years of experience teaching students to embrace creativity and imagination. (Submitted Images)

WEST CHESTER, PA — Even though vibrant artwork fills every inch of West Chester Area School District (WCASD) Art Educator Bette Naughton’s art room, the joy and creativity that her students display while bringing their passions to life are the most inspiring sight in her in-person and virtual classrooms. As one of this year’s presenters at the 2022 National Art Education Association’s (NAEA) National Convention held in New York City, Bette shared how she encourages imagination and expression in all of her students with fellow art educators.

The Convention, which offered both in-person and virtual opportunities for art educators to connect and learn from each other, received almost 1,400 presentation proposals for consideration. Bette’s presentation, Equity and Inclusion: Innovative Practices for Creating an Inclusive Art Room Where Every Students Shines, stood out among the proposals as she has focused her years of experience on developing adaptive and engaging lessons that motivate and spark excitement in children of all abilities.

Student artwork
Student artwork from Bette Naughton’s art classes.

“It is wonderful and valuable to learn from others in this field and have discussions about education and how ‘art’ should be at the center of it,” said Bette.

Her topic advocated for exploring the importance of creating equitable classrooms that champion working through a student’s ability as they create. Bette also shared practices and strategies for providing scaffolding for students with learning disabilities by creating an environment where all students have an opportunity for success. Her presentation room filled quickly leaving those interested in the discussion to line the walls and take seats on the floor.

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“Those who have had the pleasure of visiting Bette’s classrooms to see how her students thrive know how lucky the WCASD is to have teachers like Bette representing the District and art teachers everywhere,” said Assistant to the Director of Teaching & Learning and Supervisor of WC Cyber Program, Kristen Barnello.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Kalia Reynolds, seconded the appreciation for Bette and WCASD art educators, “She is an exceptional representative of our District, East Bradford Elementary School, and the WC Cyber Program. Her love for what she does, her creativity, and her joy for students are abundantly clear from the moment you meet her!”

Bette Naughton has been teaching art in the West Chest Area School District for almost 20 years and is also a published author of the book Adaptive Art Deconstructing Disability in the Art Room.

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