Exemplary School Designation

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Photo by: Philip Dembinski Photography

ASN designates Exemplary Schools in recognition of outstanding efforts in strategically evaluating their purpose, operations, plans, and educational programs. The Exemplary School application process provides a framework for comprehensive review through a series of questions that explore the entire range of a school’s purpose and operations. Completing the application enables you to develop comprehensive information for planning for improvement and determining the technical and tactical resources your organization needs.

2024 Program Timeline

  • January 8, 2024: Annual Application Portal Opens
  • April 8, 2024: Application/Nomination deadline Extended to April 16th
  • May 17, 2024: Award Winner notification
  • October 22-25, 2024: Recognition/Presentation at 2024 Annual Conference, Washington, DC

Nominations for ASN’s Exemplary Designation

Nominations are completed online through Acceptd. Users must create an account in Acceptd. Before making your nomination, please review the Exemplary School Program Booklet linked below to learn what is required. Please note there is a document/application for school that include a 12th grade and another for those that do not. Supporting documents will be a part of the official nomination. Presentation of materials is considered and may be posted on our website as examples to motivate future applicants. 

Award Winners Receive:

  • Article in the ASN e-news
  • Recognition on ASN website, at the annual conference and annual awards ceremony
  • ASN press release
  • Engraved award presented at annual conference
  • Use of the ASN Award winner logo
  • One discounted Conference registration ($150)

 For questions, please contact: [email protected]

View application requirements:

ASN Exemplary School Designation 2024 How to Apply WITH 12th grade (For schools that include a 12th grade)

ASN Exemplary School Designation 2024 How to Apply NO 12th grade (For schools that DO NOT include a 12th grade)

The Exemplary School Program Booklet explains the application process, which provides a basic framework for your own strategic evaluation of the entire range of your school’s purpose, operations, and educational programs. Completing the evaluation enables you to develop comprehensive information for planning for improvement and determining the technical and tactical resources your organization needs.

You will be asked to provide a four-page narrative summarizing the conclusions of your comprehensive school evaluation, along with a list of supporting materials.

The criteria:

Your resource for self-evaluation is A Guide to Assessing Your Arts Schools, which was created by the Arts Schools Network and the Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS) to help school personnel plan, evaluate, and implement effective organizational development. The Guide is an assessment tool that uses questions based on ACCPAS accreditation standards.

Fees:  The application fee is $225 which may be paid by credit card through the online portal. Please contact ASN if payment by check is needed ([email protected].)

To achieve and maintain Exemplary School status through ASN, the school must be a member in good standing (current membership dues paid and timely renewal received). Designations last for five years. After five years, designated schools must submit a full application to be considered again.

Apply Here!

Note: While the designation indicates exemplary practice, it does not represent or replace any accreditation or certification of schools or their programs. From ACCPAS’s inception, ASN has been involved in drafting and revising accreditation standards; it continues to support ACCPAS in developing and implementing its accreditation system. ASN encourages member schools to pursue accreditation, if they deem it appropriate, as a means of developing and recognizing the achievements of the institution.

"The ASN Exemplary Schools Designation is a wonderful way to show our community that the work our teachers and students do every day is being recognized. It validates our efforts in providing an engaging, challenging, and rewarding arts program to our students and lets prospective students and parents know that there is a small but mighty school that can help them get one step closer to their dreams!" ~Anne Maschler, Principal, Art Theater Entertainment School (ArTES), San Fernando, California  


“I think the ASN Exemplary School process serves many purposes. It is a helpful tool to gather information in a format that can be used for accreditation, grants, publicity materials, District reports and annual reports, just to name a few. It can also, if used correctly, energize your community around key issues like fund-raising, event production and especially in crafting a new mission and vision statement. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, as a living document, the Exemplary School write-ups can become a powerful vehicle for comprehensive school improvement and continuous growth.” ~Donn K. Harris, Former Executive Director of the Institute for Creativity and the Arts, San Francisco Unified School District, CA; Chairman, California Arts Council 

 “The [ASN Exemplary School application] exercise was incredibly productive. I would encourage every school to go through the process. It raised more relevant questions and caused us to re-evaluate our approaches. Interestingly, I received some push-back about the need for change given our successes … your self-assessment made the team realize that we owed it to our faculty, students, and community to always keep moving and changing.” ~Scott Walker, Principal, Las Vegas Academy for the Arts 


"Exemplary Schools Award status is a testimony that Booker Middle School not only sustains and executes an exemplary plan for its Visual Performing Arts (VPA) programs but also involves the entire school in ASN’s core practices. This is an impressive achievement, especially given the disruptions of a global pandemic. Our school community found ways to overcome the obstacles that were forced upon us, allowing our students and teachers to continue making great strides towards this achievement." ~LaShawn Frost, Principal, Booker Middle School, Sarasota, Florida