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Longview teacher recognized by Center for Student Work, a national collection of class projects

A Pine Tree High School art teacher is recognized by Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and the national education nonprofit Expeditionary Learning.

Three cross-curricular projects of Elizabeth White of Longview were accepted into the Center for Student Work or CSW in July. The CSW is a collection of curated student work where teachers share classroom projects that produced awesome results.

White is a former software designer. She became a teacher seven years ago. Her projects reflect the community around her students, which is why she thinks they care more about the work they produce. She says art class yields bigger life lessons than just learning to draw.

“I think art is a great way to help students see that if you work hard at something you can get a great reward. I’m hoping my students, no matter what they do -- whether it’s a social studies paper or English paper -- they’ll see the value of hard work that it will pay off,” White said.

The CSW receives submissions from kindergarten through 12th grade teachers throughout the year, but only a handful of projects are accepted, according to Expeditionary Learning managing director of program development Cyndi Gueswel.

“The submissions process is really rigorous. For this particular teacher to have gotten three submissions through the curation process and accepted is a big deal,” Gueswel said.

The three projects selected were: chair design without adhesives (students build a chair out of cardboard without using glue that can support the weight of an adult); Aztec Indian portraits (a series of colored pencil drawing celebrating the Aztec culture incorporating art and social studies); and, wildlife of the Texas Panhandle (a study of Texas animals and their habitats in chalk pastel incorporating art and biology.)

Gueswel says the CSW is a space where teachers honor student work and spread the joy of what they’ve created together. That, she says, motivates other teachers around the country.

“We hope that they use this site as their own inspiration for, Oh, I had never thought of that idea of a project. Particularly, the aspect of having it not just be something the student creates to turn into the teacher,” Gueswel said.

White says when school starts Aug. 24 she plans to try out some CSW projects with her students, and also use her own nationally recognized ones. She finds high school students are quick studies in learning art techniques.

“I’m always shocked by how art is a learning process. It’s not a gift. You can absolutely teach it. To see these students just take off was so exciting for me,” White said.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.