The Culturally Responsive Arts Education (CRAE) Workout is an eight-week curated asynchronous and synchronous experience that focuses on developing the capacity of educators and administrators to think about how culturally relevant and responsive approaches can shift curriculum, instructional content, and teaching practices to more effectively represent and validate all students’ cultures and lived experiences. 

JOIN US: January 17, 2022 – March 11, 2022


CRAE Workout Orientation


Access Passcode: Q&6p9Y7x


  • It is an unprecedented, challenging, and stressful time right now for educators and their students. Culturally responsive practices help build relationships and connect with students (and their families) that cultivates a sense of belonging and helps support students’ rigorous cognitive development.
  • As new arts curricula are being written we, as an arts education community, have an 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. 
  • It is an opportunity to join a community of people committed to learning, self-discovery, and identifying ways to make systemic change via personal growth, professional learning, and shift curriculum and instruction in meaningful ways. 
  • Registered participants will receive curated prompts over eight weeks that focus on individual, interpersonal and institutional aspects of CRAE. Prompts include articles, videos, and reflection exercises that will help you learn about, reflect on, and develop a CRAE practice and culturally responsive curriculum. 
  • Opportunities for journaling and artmaking to chronicle and deepen your learning.  
  • Opportunities to assess curriculum through a culturally responsive lens with the CRAE Curriculum Scorecard adapted from NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools.  
  • Optional 90 minute Guided Conversation with other Workout participants on Tuesdays from 4:00 – 5:30 pm on (Weeks 2, 4, 6, and 8).  (See below for more information.) 
  • Optional discussion in Private Facebook group and or another platform will support inquiries and sharing of ideas between individuals as well as curriculum-writing teams.  
  • Opportunities for reflection and meaning-making for individuals and school teams who want additional facilitated time to debrief on and unpack the bi-weekly material and/or discuss ways to apply the learning to their district’s curriculum writing. 
  • Facilitated meetings via zoom to discuss the content from the week before, apply it to practice, and explore curricular applications through the Curriculum Scorecard and the sharing of promising practices. 
  • Sessions will be held virtually on Tuesdays (January 25, February 8, February 22, and March 8, 2022) from 4:00 – 5:30 pm with optional office hours and time to discuss how to turnkey the conversations with colleagues from 5:30 – 6:00 pm. 
  • We encourage you to sign up for the conversations if you feel you can make a “good-faith effort” to attend as many as possible.  
  • Earn up to six hours of continuing education credits for those who attend the Guided Conversations and complete exit surveys.
  • The conversations will be facilitated by Wendy Liscow, Sanaz Hojreh, and Latasha Casterlow-Lalla, and designed with an eye towards helping participants feel confident to turnkey the process with other colleagues participating in the Workout, but unable to attend the Conversations. 

January 17, 2022 through March 11, 2022

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

Stay tuned for dates for an information/orientation session(s).  In the meantime, if you have specific questions email us at

If you are participating in the asynchronous CRAE Workout ONLY (and not the bi-weekly virtual Guided Conversations) you will be expected to:

  • Read and/or view the videos sent via email on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (Weeks 1,3,5,7).  Most articles/videos take approximately 30 minutes to review.  
  • Respond to the reflection prompts in your journal for an additional 15-30 minutes and/or in the Private Facebook group and/or another platform.  
  • Seek opportunities to discuss what you are learning, such as Professional Learning Communities or staff meetings, and spend time reviewing the CRAE Curriculum Scorecard self-assessment tool you will receive throughout the Workout (Weeks 2,4,6,8).
  • Complete post-Workout survey.

If you are ALSO participating in the bi-weekly Guided Conversations, you and your participating team agree:

  • Engage in the 90-minute VIRTUAL Tuesday sessions (January 25, February 8, February 22, and March 8, 2022) from 4:00 – 5:30pm.
  • Optional: engage for an additional ½ hour from 5:30 – 6:00 pm for office hours and time to discuss how to turnkey the conversations with colleagues. 
  • If you register to participate in the CRAE Virtual Guided Conversations we ask that you consider being part of a consistent team of at least 2 and up to 4 people. Please attempt to have at least one person from the team attend each session.  
  • We encourage the entire arts team to sign-up for the asynchronous Workout and participate on the private CRAE Workout Facebook group and/or other platform, as a powerful step towards shifting school culture. We will have time to discuss how to turnkey the conversations with colleagues.

No, there are no limits on who can sign up to receive the weekly prompts in the asynchronous CRAE Workout.

Yes, we welcome you to sign up for the CRAE Workout. Although we are hoping people will be working in teams, the Workout will definitely offer valuable resources for personal growth and professional learning.

You can come as you are.  However, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the 2020 NJ Student Learning  Standards-VPA. You can review an archived  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.

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 curriculum writing advisor. 


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 Professional.

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. 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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Sheikia S. Norris, lyrically known as Purple Haze was born in The Bronx, NY. Currently residing in Newark, the Brick City, NJ, Purple’s performance experiences are dynamic and unforgettable! This independent international performance Emcee & Goddard Grad Institute student rock with funk & soul to naturally connect with ease to inspiring movement, both hearts, and minds. Haze has mastered her own rich style of balancing power and substance in classrooms or boardrooms as Director of the Hip Hop Education Program at New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Enthusiasts appreciate her energy, impeccable flow, and clever deliverance of truth. Acknowledgments as a trailblazer are from piloting programs at Bergen PAC, Newark Public Schools, The Grammy Museum (Newark), Hip Hop Cultural Center (Harlem), and Next Level Hip Hop Diplomacy Team India.  This “Lady’s First Fund” recipient is curating transformative experiences for communities with Hip Hop art, education, and performance. Purp is a diversified talent poised for success in a host of areas.
Elizabeth Rose Zwierzynski (EdM, BFA) is the founding dance educator at the Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Trenton Central High School. Within her district, she serves as a curriculum writer, professional development leader, mentor teacher, and a member of the Community Arts Team in partnership with the Kennedy Center’s Ensuring Arts For Any Given Child program. Elizabeth holds an EdM in Dance Education and a BFA in Dance from Rutgers University, where she was a part time and guest lecturer, 2018-2020. She was awarded the New Jersey Department of Education’s Distinguished Student Teacher Award and the ABT® Project Plié Teacher Training Scholarship. Elizabeth leads professional development workshops as a Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) Facilitator.
Kira Rizzuto, Director of Learning Programs
Kira Rizzuto is the Program Development Manager at Arts Ed NJ and Director of Programs and Partnerships for the Center for Arts Education and Social Emotional Learning (ArtsEdSEL). Since 2010 she has designed and facilitated professional learning workshops for numerous organizations and school districts. Kira earned a BA in Social Science from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2014, she completed an MA in Art + Design Education at the University of the Arts. The focus of her research was visual thinking methods and the impact upon organizational learning. In the fall of 2015 she completed the Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program for emerging leaders at the Institute for Ethical Leadership, Rutgers Business School. Kira’s belief in the transformative power of the arts can be traced back to a teaching artist who inspired her creative practice; decades later, those formative experiences continue to fuel her commitment to arts education.