Art Teachers Alliance

Good teaching depends on skilled, well-supported faculty. Our Art Teachers Alliance offers a professional development series open to all art teachers from the Eliot School, Boston Public Schools, other schools and community partners, as well as independent teaching artists (no membership required). It improves skills, shares resources and builds collegiality among peers. We also collaborate with the Boston Public Schools Arts Office to provide professional development for BPS visual arts specialists, bringing together teachers from across the district for workshops and mutual mentorship and support.

Our professional development workshops this year focus on cultural competency and racial justice—or, in the language of Boston Public Schools, culturally and linguistically sustaining practices. These workshops are open to teachers, parents and other interested adults. Please ask us about PD Points. Read about the three upcoming workshops below and register today.


Developing Critical Consciousness on Race Through the Arts

 Presenter: Aaliyah El-Amin

 Thursday, October 25, 5–8pm 

 Location: The Community Music Center, 34 Warren Ave, Boston,   MA 02116

 Register here


Art classrooms can offer incredible opportunities for students to unearth, understand and address injustice and oppression. They can also be spaces for radical healing and radical imagining and contribute to the liberation of students of color and broader social change. This session explores the role art teachers can play in positioning students to disrupt and dismantle racism by highlighting four essential purposes art teachers can embed in their work with students: affirmation, investigation, healing and disruption. Presenter Aaliyah El-Amin is a professor and lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She holds a BA in Sociology from Davidson College, an MA in Elementary Education from Georgia State University, Principal Licensure from the University of Georgia, an EdM in Education Policy and an EdD in Education Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice from Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Introduction to Implicit Bias

 Presenter: Susan Naimark

 Wednesday, November 7, 5–8pm

 Location: The Democracy Center, 45 Mt Auburn St,   Cambridge, MA 02138

 Register here





This workshop explores implicit bias—unconscious associations that affect how we think and act—with a focus on how these biases profoundly impact educators and education. We will discuss how implicit bias develops, how it shows up in interactions between educators and students and research-based debiasing strategies. This will be an interactive session, with time to explore practical ways to minimize the impact of bias on a personal and organizational level. Presenter Susan Naimark has spent more than 20 years promoting racial equity in schools, organizations and communities. She is the author of The Education of a White Parent: Wrestling with Race and Opportunity in the Boston Public Schools (Levellers Press, 2012) and is a part-time faculty member at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, School of Education.


“Why Is That Lady Brown?” and Other Uncomfortable Questions Kids Ask


 Presenter: Wee The People and Zahairah Nur Truth

 Wednesday, December 5, 5–8pm

 Location: The Community Music Center, 34 Warren Ave,   Boston, MA 02116

 Register here


“Why is that lady brown?” “Why did the police kill Mr. Phil?” “What will happen if ICE comes to take my family away?” Children notice a lot about the world—including race, ethnicity, inequity and injustice. They sense that these things matter, and they have questions many educators are not prepared to answer. This interactive workshop helps teachers develop tools and real-time strategies to enhance one-on-one interactions with students, as well as curriculum design. Together we will brainstorm approaches for applying a social/racial justice lens to art-making in the classroom. Teachers will come away with ideas for lesson plans that celebrate identity, foster young people’s innate sense of fairness and support them in challenging injustice they see in the world. This workshop is presented in collaboration with Wee The People. Since 2015, Wee The People has been leading workshops of kid-powered resistance through interactive story times, art and games. Wee The People’s mission is to inspire children to discover the power of their own voices, explore resistance through the arts and support adults in starting difficult conversations with kids about difference, equity and justice. Presenter Zahirah Nur Truth teaches art at the preschool and elementary school levels, integrating social justice themes into her curriculum. Her company, ZNTArts, is an online retail site for her paintings, jewelry and wearable art. Zahirah earned her AS in Early Childhood Education, with an Arts Program focus from Bunker Hill Community College. She is a BFA candidate at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.