Why should I sign up for the CRAE Workout and Guided Conversations?

The new arts curricula written in districts across our state will likely be used as the foundation for educating students in the arts for decades to come.  As an arts education community, we have an unprecedented opportunity to centralize the values of cultural responsiveness, diversity, inclusion, and equity and create arts learning practices that serve the entirety of New Jersey’s diverse student population. 

This Workout is ideal for educators who are committed to or interested in learning more about culturally responsive teaching practice, developing the mindset for decolonizing curriculum, and/or anti-racist teaching. It provides a curated opportunity to join a community of people committed to learning, self-discovery, and applying the learning to arts curriculum. If you are part of a curriculum writing team and care about making systemic changes via curriculum and professional development, this is a great way to engage with colleagues from across the state in meaningful conversations.  

What is the Culturally Responsive Arts Education (CRAE) Workout?

The CRAE Workout was created by Arts Education Consultants Wendy Liscow and Sanaz Hojreh with Latasha Casterlow-Lalla, Arts Supervisor of Passaic Schools as an additional facilitator and curriculum writing advisor. The summer 2021 version is being offered in partnership with Arts Ed NJ to help educators incorporate culturally responsive practices into a new arts curriculum that aligns with recently approved new NJ Arts Standards. 

The CRAE Workout focuses on developing capacity to think about how culturally relevant approaches that can shift curriculum, instructional content, and teaching practices to more effectively represent and validate all students’ cultures and lived experiences and disrupt systems that privilege dominant culture groups.

Starting July 12 and running through August 10, 2021, registered participants will receive 3-4 weekly prompts for four weeks. Prompts will include articles, videos, and reflection exercises that will help you learn about and reflect on aspects of developing a culturally responsive arts education practice and curriculum. There will be opportunities for journaling and artmaking to chronicle and deepen your exploration and connect the learning to curriculum and student experience.  Participants will be introduced to a Culturally Responsive Arts Education Curriculum Scorecard adapted from NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools’ CRE Scorecard.  A private Facebook group will support inquiries and sharing of ideas between individuals as well as curriculum-writing teams.  

What are the CRAE Guided Conversations?

The CRAE Guided Conversations are offered to district curriculum-writing teams who want additional facilitated time to debrief on the weekly material and discuss ways to apply the learning to their district’s curriculum writing.   Every Tuesday following the week of prompts from 10 am – 11:30am (with office hours/art making from 11:30am – noon) (July 20 and 27 and August 3 and 10) up to 10 teams of 3-4 people will meet via zoom to discuss the content from the week before, apply it to practice, and explore curricular applications through the Curriculum Scorecard and sharing of promising practices. The conversations will be facilitated by Wendy Liscow, Sanaz Hojreh, Latasha Casterlow-Lalla with potential special guests. It is a special opportunity for reflection and meaning-making. 

We ask that the team remain consistent for all four sessions as we are working to build a brave professional learning space with content that builds on the week before.  We will endeavor to create a balanced learning community that reflects teams working on different grade bands and subjects and different district-sizes from across the state. 

When is this happening?

July 12 through August 8 (August 10 if you are also participating in the virtual CRAE Guided Conversations)

Who should participate?

Any art educator who is interested in ensuring their arts curriculum and classrooms are culturally responsive, relevant and sustaining.

If you want to participate in the CRAE Guided Conversations you must be part of a consistent team of at least 2 and up to 4 people.  Ideally, the team should include the person responsible for supervising the curriculum writing as well as people who will feel comfortable taking the exercises and “aha” moments back to the rest of the team.  Participants in the Guided Conversations should come with knowledge of the new Arts Standards as there will be little time to delve deeply into the standards.  You can review the following presentation on the New Standards:  Exploring New Jersey’s Learning Standards in the Visual and Performing Arts, co-sponsored by Arts Ed NJ and NJPSA/FEA, led by Kerri Sullivan and Jeff Santoro.

What if we have more than 4 people who want to participate in the weekly Guided Conversations?

We encourage the entire arts team to sign-up for the asynchronous Workout and participate on the private CRAE Workout Facebook group.  We are also designing the Guided Conversations with the idea that the participants can share/turnkey the exercises and prompts with the rest of their team. 

Are there any limits to capacity on who can participate?

There are no limits on who can sign up to receive the weekly prompts in the asynchronous CRAE Workout.  The weekly Guided Conversations are limited to 8-10 teams of 3-4 people. Priority will be given to administrators and teachers who are engaged in curriculum writing this summer.  

Can I participate as an individual?

We welcome you to sign up for the CRAE Workout portion of the offering and receive the weekly prompts.  Although we are hoping people will be working in teams, the Workout will definitely offer valuable personal growth. Additionally, it will definitely “prime the pump” for Fall curriculum writing and give you greater clarity on how CRAE can be incorporated into future professional development.  We hope to offer an expanded version of the CRAE Workout with additional Guided Conversations sometime in the Fall.

What is expected of me and/or my team if we sign up?

If you are participating in the CRAE Workout only (and not the Guide the Conversations):

  1. Read and/or view the videos sent via email on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  The majority of the articles/videos will take approximately 30 minutes to review.  
  2. We encourage an additional 30 minutes of reflection in a journal to prompts provided and/or on the Facebook group 2-3 times per week on the “off days” to connect the learning to your life circumstances. 
  3. There will also be an opportunity to engage in a weekly 30-minute art-making reflection.  
  4. Since many people will want even more curated materials to dig deeper, there will be some optional movie suggestions to watch over the weekend with family and/or friends and links to other learning materials.
  5. We expect you will also want to find time to discuss what you are learning during your curriculum writing meetings and spend time reviewing the CRAE Curriculum Scorecard self-assessment tool you will receive early in the Workout.

If you are also participating in the weekly Guided Conversations, we expect you and your participating team to:

  1. Attend the two-hour VIRTUAL sessions from 10 am – 12 Noon on July 20 and 27 and August 3 and 10.  Each session will likely include an additional short prompt that will get you thinking more about curriculum writing.  
  2. Each week, complete a portion of a Culturally Relevant Arts Education Curriculum Scorecard adapted from NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools’ CRE Scorecard.
  3. Each week, commit to personal reflection through journal writing and/or artistic creation.

How do I sign up?

Use this link to register for just the CRAE Workout or for the CRAE Workout and Conversations: 

You will receive a confirmation immediately regarding participation in the Workout and by July 9th if your district curriculum writing team has been accepted to participate in the weekly Guided Conversations. 


Latasha Casterlow-Lalla

A native of Passaic, New Jersey is a proud product of the Passaic Public Schools. In 2004, Latasha began teaching in her hometown of Passaic as an Elementary Music Educator. Latasha’s commitment to gain more knowledge led her to return to Montclair State University to attain a Master of Arts in Administration & Supervision from Montclair State University in 2007. Latasha was then privileged to serve as Elementary General Teacher for 5 amazing years.

In 2013, Latasha was appointed as the Supervisor of Gifted & Talented for Passaic Public Schools where she implemented the district’s first Saturday Enrichment Academy for 350 students as well as co-led the district’s first Jump Into Summer Program servicing over 3,500 students. In 2015, Latasha was selected to be the founding Assistant Principal at the Passaic Gifted & Talented Academy, the city’s first Gifted and Talented School that opened in September 2015. In 2017, Latasha was appointed to be the Supervisor of Visual & Performing Arts for the Passaic Public Schools. While serving in this capacity, Latasha has worked to revive the Theatre Arts program in all high schools, establish the city’s first Dance Education courses and launch 5 state recognized Career/Technical Education programs in Visual & Performing Arts.  Latasha has written 3 children’s books including her most recent text Barbados: An Island Paradise which was published in 2016. She is currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Executive Ed Program at Seton Hall University. 

Latasha is on a mission to provide equitable programming reflecting modern, popular and traditional musical genres for all students. Her commitment to ensure the Arts are acknowledged as core academic subjects and share the diverse career opportunities with the 15,000 students she serves.

Latasha attended Montclair State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education in 2002 followed by earning a Master of Arts in Counseling, Human Development and Guidance in 2003. Latasha then worked at the College of the Holy Cross in the Division of Student Affairs in Worcester, Massachusetts as the Community Development Coordinator.

Sanaz Hojreh

Independent consultant working in the field of arts education and nonprofit arts management supporting schools, organizations and foundations to envision and achieve their goals. Select projects include, working with the School District of Philadelphia to help implement their arts and creativity framework and their vision of shared delivery with arts partners; Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Arts Integration Project; William and Flora Hewlett Foundation arts education survey; strategy consultant for the Arts Education Newark (formerly Newark Arts Education Roundtable); and coach and development team member for NJPSA/FEA Healing Centered Schools Pilot.

Sanaz held the post of Director for the Newark Arts Education Roundtable (NAER), a collective impact organization designed to increase access and participation in arts education in Newark. While leading the organization she doubled the funds raised, increased engagement, and implemented an NEA grant to develop a common evaluation tool. Prior to her work with the NAER, Ms. Hojreh spent sixteen years at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, including a decade as the Assistant Vice President for Arts Education. She was responsible for leading the Center’s arts training programs for youth, as well as the Passport to Culture SchoolTime and FamilyTime Performance Series. During her tenure, these programs served over a million children, families and educators.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers University, Ms. Hojreh earned degrees in Theater Arts and Business, holds a certificate from Columbia University’s Emerging Leaders Program, and received certification from Lakeside Global Institute as a Trauma Competent Professiona

Wendy Liscow

most recently served 17 years at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. During her
tenure, Wendy worked in Dodge’s Arts grantmaking area, then went on to lead Dodge’s Education and Technical Assistance programs. She has been a champion of the transformative power of arts education both for students and educators and is a committed advocate for more quality arts. She worked with researcher Dr. Deborah Ward to develop an arts education data collection dashboard, collective arts education survey tools, and an evaluation training series.


She has led statewide initiatives advancing arts integration and culturally relevant and responsive practices, especially for children attending New Jersey’s most historically under-resourced school districts. She worked with Sanaz Hojreh and a team of arts education leaders to produce the New Jersey’s Arts Integration Think and Do Workbook. While at the Foundation, Wendy developed sequential adult learning opportunities to help ensure nonprofit staff and boards deepen their organizational impact and most recently worked on an equity-focused
training series led by Yancey Consulting. Ms. Liscow is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory.


After receiving her Education degree from the University of Michigan, and prior to joining the Foundation staff in 2003, Wendy worked for 25 years as a professional theatre administrator, director, dramaturg, and producer. She was associate artistic director, dramaturg, and resident director of George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick for 12 years, and then served as the director of programs and services for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. She has served on many boards, advisory boards, and committees over the years, most recently on the Arts Education Partnership’s newly established Equity Committee, the Arts Education Impact group at Grantmakers for Education, Arts Ed Newark, Arts for Any Given Child Trenton, and the Newark STEAM coalition. She is a 2021 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement NJ Governor’s Award.

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(908) 542-9396