Schools Of Distinction

Art, design, and media education are central to a comprehensive education. Participation in these courses uniquely affords students creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.

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Along with social and emotional skills, students involved in art, design, and media programs are well-prepared for college, career, and citizenship. As such, it is important to recognize when excellent school programs in art, design, and media education provide students these critical skills. The Illinois Art Education Association seeks to honor this programmatic and professional excellence where it occurs in Illinois schools.

The Schools of Distinction Program recognizes school art, media, & design programs that demonstrate excellence in the following areas:

  • curriculum and assessment
  • authentic learning
  • showcasing student learning
  • connected communities
  • leadership and advocacy
  • professional development and training

These areas, outlined in detail below, reflect the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (IPTS). Alignment between the Schools of Distinction Criteria and the IPTS are highlighted in the criteria. Embedded within the criteria are the principles of equity, cultural responsiveness, critical multiculturalism, and inclusion.

About the Application Process

The IAEA accepts applications for recognition as a School of Distinction annually between January 1st and June 30th. Applications are reviewed in July with notifications sent out in August. For questions about the Schools of Distinction program or this application process, please contact [email protected]

The 2024 application has closed at this time.

Application Resources:

Abbreviated Guidelines

View Full Instructions


Application Examples

Application Documents

*Application (Make a Copy)


2022-2024 Awardee Status

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Washington Community High School

Educators: Margaret Kuchan,Jayme Banzhoff, John Clifford Principal: Ms. Karen Stevens

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Aurora Christian High School

Educators: Grahame Wilkin and Jacquie Sanders Principal: Dr. Natalie Henderson

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Lemont High School

Eduators: Ryan Hennebry, Dave Nommensen, Megan Idell, and Shannon Jeglinski Principal: Mr. Eric Michaelsen

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Evergreen Park Community High School

Educators: Libby McArthur & Tom Minarik Principal: Mr. Bill Sanderson

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Lake Zurich High School

Educators: Kristen LaJeunesse Roach and Matthew Winkelman Principal: Ms. Erin DeLuga

2021-2023 Awardee Status

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Oswego High School

Educators: Michael Skura, Aaron Kolkay, Dan Whipple, Jennifer Nagle | Principal: Chris Grays

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Oswego East High School

Educators: Heather Stanich, Lauren Schmidt, Laura Cavanaugh, Lisa Cook | Principal: Laura Bankowski

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Downers Grove North High School

Educators: Marty Voelker, Robyn Bican, Amy Bernard, Josh Hoering | Principal: Courtney DeMent

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Hinsdale Middle School

Educator: Theresa McGee | Principal: Ruben Peña

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Glenn Westlake Middle School

Educator: Alicia York | Principal: Scott Stehlik

2020-2023 Awardee Status

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Washington Community High School

Educators: Jack Clifford, Jayme Banzhoff and Margaret Kuchan | Principal: Mrs. Stevens

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Metea Valley High School

Educators: Karen Popovich, Irene LaPapa, Karly Olson, Katie Novorolsky, Ashley Kasher, and Don Devany | Principal: Dr. Echols

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Batavia High School

Educators: Josh Casburn, Jennifer Carpenter, Jennifer Melendez, Andrea Schindlbeck, Kathleen Tieri-Ton, Andrea Schindlbeck, and Dawn Zalkus | Principal: Dr. Smith

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Henry Senachwine High School

Educator: Frank Bush | Principal: Dr. Hill

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Still Middle School

Educator: Donna Davis | Principal: Dr. Echols

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Lexington K-12

Educator: Emma Long-Ingram | Principal: Mrs. Strating

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Cobden High School

Educator: Jeremy Crawford | Principal: Mr. Shoemate

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Harrisburg High School

Educator: Douglas Robbins | Principal: Mr. Dewar