GREENVILLE — Greenville Middle School art teacher September Buys has not only been honored with numerous awards, but she has also been selected to serve on the visual arts writing team for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS).
When Buys, who has been a teacher at Greenville Public Schools since 2001, learned she was selected to serve on the writing team, she was “star-struck” when she saw the list of art educators she would be serving with. She said the people on the list are people who wrote curriculum books and research documents she used to shape her teaching practice.
“What a responsibility and honor this is,” Buys said.
Although Buys has served on other writing teams, she said the writing team for the NCCAS is different.
“This is the leading document for our nation in arts education,” Buys said. “All other research, lesson plans, grants, curriculum (and more) will be centered on this.”
Buys said all states will likely adopt and follow the national document as long as the language arts and math state level curriculum follows the “common core.” The Common Core State Standards is a setup to provide a clear understanding of what students are expected to learn.
“It is likely that this document will become part of the common core once it is complete and runs through all the channels,” Buys said.
Greenville Public Schools Superintendent Pete Haines said Buys being selected to serve on the writing team is a big deal.
“Her work in leading the nation in terms of setting curriculum standards and objectives in her content area speaks to her well-earned reputation for knowledge and expertise — not only her content area, the visual arts, but her professional skill in designing classroom instruction and assessment for maximum student achievement,” Haines said.
Buys served on the writing team in 2009 as the middle-level editor of the revised Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations in the Visual Arts of the Michigan Department of Education, as known as Michigan’s State Art Standards.
She was nominated for Art Educator of the Year for the Michigan Art Education Association in 2009 by fellow middle school art teacher Julia Tomaro. Buys said Tomaro is from the East side of Michigan in Berkley and she admires Tomaro’s work.
“She knew me through my volunteerism with Michigan Art Education Association,” Buys said.
From there, award winners are automatically directed up the chain of awards through the Michigan Art Education Association and National Art Education Association.
“This is the highest honor an ‘in the classroom’ teacher can receive,” Buys said.
Buys was an award recipient for the National Middle Level Art Educator of the Year in 2009, Michigan Youth Arts Association Educator of the Year in 2010 and Western Region Middle Level Art Educator of the Year in 2011. She has served as the Michigan’s Middle Level Division Chair, the Western Region’s Middle Level Director and has presented at a number of state and national conventions through both associations.
“I felt humbled and honored to be selected from a pool of such terrific art teachers from all parts of the United States and abroad,” Buys said.
By being a recipient, Buys said she hoped to promote and encourage the support of quality art education for all students in schools locally, statewide and nationally.
“The distinction of being selected as the National Middle Level Art Teacher of the Year speaks for itself in terms of magnitude and accomplishment,” Haines said.