Banner Elk Elementary School hosted schools from western North Carolina recently in a two-day professional development through the N.C. A+ schools program. More than 75 educators made their way to the mountains to learn, collaborate, grow in practice to provide new ideas for their classrooms this fall. Established in 1995 by the Kenan Institute for the Arts, the A+ Schools Program began with 25 Pre-K–12 public schools that participated in an extensive four-year evaluation. The results of the initial evaluation, and the subsequent evaluation in the eighth year, attributed the success and sustainability of the program to the use of arts in school reform, the professional development and the network created to support teachers and schools. Banner Elk Elementary was an original A+ school that was trained initially back in 1995. Now, some 20 years later, the school continues to use A+ practices to guide instruction, planning, integration and be the core value of what happens each day at the school. Pictured are Principal Justin Carver, A+ Schools director Michelle Burrows, Program Admin Brooke Kesterson, Program Coordinator Jennifer Huggins and PD Manager Tom Nevels.