Adam Prouty, a fourth-grade math and science teacher at Warner Elementary Arts Magnet School in Nashville, is the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.
TPAC presented the award to Prouty at a special assembly at the school on March 29 with his students, faculty team and school administration on hand to help celebrate his achievement.
Now in its 25th year, TPAC’s Teacher of the Year Award honors excellence in arts education and includes a $1,000 grant for the recipient’s school.
Prouty actively participates in TPAC’s comprehensive education program, using arts integration strategies to enhance learning across curriculum. Working with the nonprofit, he has collaborated with teaching artists in his classroom, brought his students to performances at the arts center, and attended professional development programs.
“Adam has inspired other faculty to try new and different approaches in the classroom using visual arts, technology and dramatic arts to engage students and improve learning,” says Jessica Rueckert, a literacy specialist at Warner Elementary, designated an arts magnet school in 2018. “He is dedicated to continuously developing and improving his teaching skills, particularly in the area of integrating arts and technology into classroom learning.”
Prouty recently worked with other fourth-grade teachers to meet school district learning standards with a thematic unit inspired by the stage adaptation of the novel The Phantom Tollbooth.
Encouraging his students to collaborate and think creatively, he worked with them to transform his classroom into Digitopolis, a major city in the novel. One day, he dressed up like the Mathemagician, the enthusiastic problem-solver and leader of the fictional city where numbers reign.
“Integrating arts into science and math education allows students to experience the fun in learning, promoting creativity and increasing student achievement at the same time. Students are able to perceive arts integrated lessons as playing, which, in turn, allows them to tap into their creative processes,” Prouty said. “In most cases, creative thinking is needed to come up with ‘out of the box’ solutions. Through art, students find an entry point to learning, enhancing their level of engagement, achieving a deeper understanding of the subject matter, and building self-confidence.”
“Through my experiences with TPAC, I have discovered that many art forms can be used to increase student learning. My goal is to continue to work together with my colleagues to seek opportunities for arts integration on a more frequent basis to help our students achieve 21st Century skills and become life-long learners who utilize collaboration, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication,” he says. “Most importantly, I want my students to experience the fun in learning that makes their education more meaningful.”
A native of Kingsbury, New York, Prouty attended the College of St. Joseph in Rutland, Vermont, where he earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education.