Creating a Collaborative Community

Installation continues!

Here we are in the beginning:

First tiles up Sue Jodi

Here it is as of June 2016:



For the first lesson on individualizing tiles, please click here.

For the honor tiles lesson, please click here.

For the list of amazing collaborators and community supporters of our students, please click here.

To see the gallery of project and tile photos click here.  We have not been able to photograph and post every single tile (there are hundreds!).  There is a Facebook album that also has many of the ‘sponsor tiles’ for businesses and organizations that have supported out school.

We will have another round of tile individualizing this spring (2017).  We will focus on students making ‘honor tiles’ to recognize the people in their lives who help them learn outside of school.

We’re on the news!

Helena Independent Record:—-students/article_769321bd-f3f1-57c6-8f5d-39d022d993cb.html

KXLH News Report:

Fenceling Demo

Project Outline:

We will create a large-scale outdoor installation art piece as a collaborative community project between Broadwater Elementary and the various entities that support our school and community in general.  The goal is to both beautify our school grounds and visibly create a work of art that visually represents our community.

Large-scale, collaborative art pieces have been rewarding in the past, and we would like to offer another such project to our students and families.  There are a number of studies that have described the importance of art learning at length, but perhaps the best publication that is both informative and succinct can be found at: .  There are many reasons for improving art learning in our schools, including increased academic achievement, decreased drop-out rates, and higher levels of engagement that increase students’ likelihood of being successful both in and out of the classroom.

The scope of this project is much greater than the classroom; students will literally ‘see’ our collaborative community.  The project is designed to not only give students a sense of belonging and personal investment in our school, but also to involve and incorporate adults.  The home to school connection is vital to student success; we want to foster more meaningful family engagement opportunities.  It has been found over and over again that “the most accurate predictor of student achievement is the extent to which the family is involved in his or her education.”   Through the beautification of our playground, students, parents, and community members will see that they are members of a vast support network as they work together to create a visible metaphor for our ‘collaborative community’.  In the classroom, students will extend their learning in art, science, and math to execute their designs and understand our school’s Mission Statement.

Broadwater Mission Statement

We are passionate, inquisitive, and creative; learning to be best we can be.

We value perseverance, integrity, compassion, balance and fun.

We will inspire joyful, rigorous learning and foster physical, emotional, and academic wellness as a collaborative community.

We have four Universals that guide our actions on our journey:

Be Respectful

Be Responsible

Be Safe

Be a Learner


Most art projects are individual classroom activities.  We rarely get to collaborate on whole-school art pieces, and even then, adults are not involved in the process beyond the occasional volunteer assisting.  In this project, adults and students are equal members of the artistic creation as we reach out beyond our classrooms, inviting the wider community to make beautiful art with us.  This will not only extend student learning beyond the classroom, but also create an opportunity for adults (who often do not make art nor see themselves as ‘artists’) to join in.  Long after individuals have created personal tiles, they will view the installation and remember what our interconnected community created together.

Project Description

We will create hundreds, and eventually thousands, of tiles that fit into the small square spaces in the chain link fence of our playground’s kickball backstop.  The goal is to fill in the second row of chain link, which is high enough off the ground to discourage vandals and not impede the view of drivers, but also be low enough that a viewer could see the individuality of the tiles.  We will use polycarbonate (like acrylic plexiglass, but more durable) and sign-grade vinyl.  Imagine a collection of many colors, unified by the repetitive nature of the chain link that will provide the structure for the piece functionally and artistically.  The final result should look something like a patchwork quilt full of different patterns and designs.

The polycarbonate will be cut professionally to ensure uniformity, maintain safety, and for ease of mass-production.  Once cut, the tiles will each need four holes drilled to secure them to the chain link.  This task will be labor intensive and another opportunity for community involvement.  Families and volunteers will be asked to help, the tiles and drill bits parceled out.  4th and 5th grade students will be in charge of measuring and safely cutting the thousands of wire pieces we will use to attach tiles.

Once the tiles have been made, they will be individualized with vinyl.  This comes in rolls with a paper backing that students can easily draw on.  They will then cut out and affix their personal designs.  Families will be invited to create their own individualized tiles during parent-teacher conferences and other school activities.  As we work with students to understand the Mission Statement, they will brainstorm a list of all the different individuals and organizations they feel they can rely on and are supported by.  They will then invite members of those organizations to personalize tiles for incorporation into the final piece.  Once we have the first 300 tiles completed, I will begin installation.  Due to safety concerns, this phase will be done entirely by adults.  We will continue to add tiles in batches with the bulk of the project installed in time for the Family BBQ in June.  Eventually, we want tiles to represent all the past and present students of our school, their families, and the members of the greater community that support us.  Any student who looks at this installation should feel loved, a part of something great.

The artistic inspiration for our project comes from an artist named Soo Sunny Park.  (See link for more information and photos of installation)

“Capturing Resonance” was created by sculptor Soo Sunny Park and composer Spencer Topel.  Park, who was born in Seoul, Korea, currently lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she is an Associate Professor of Studio Art at Dartmouth College. The sculptor is best known for turning quotidian building materials like insulation and dry wall into sublime, experiential installations. For “Capturing Resonance,” Park has transformed the unconventionally-shaped Window Gallery of the deCordova into a multi-sensory environment using chain-link fencing.


People and organizations who have been especially helpful and supportive:

  • The Helena Education Foundation has provided funding for the bulk of the project through a Great Ideas Grant sponsored by the Mediterranean Grill.
  • Chary Majerus, artist at Framing Etc. (Conrad, MT), has collaborated on dozens of test tiles, donated materials, and acted as a consultant for artistic and technical aspects of the project design.  She also cut all the polycarbonate tiles.  Dan Majerus helped drill countless tiles!
  • Emily Kohring, Director of Arts Education for the Montana Arts Council and leader of the Teacher Leaders in the Arts Initiative, is supporting projects such as this one from the cohort of teachers involved in the project (including a stipend for supplies and other expenses). Beyond feedback and suggestions, she is also directing the share-out of project information. Other cohort members have also given valuable feedback and suggestions.
  • Montana Office of Public Instruction as also been instrumental in the Teacher Leaders in the Arts Initiative and getting projects like this one off the ground.  Superintendent Denise Juneau has also been a great supporter and even came to our classroom to make a tile!
  • Tim Riley, Senior Application Development Engineer, Specialty Film & Sheet, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), has been invaluable technical support discussing and identifying appropriate materials for this project’s application to ensure that it will survive in Montana’s environment and has shipped Lexan samples at no cost. 
  • Kip at the Dean of Signs (Great Falls), Greg at FastSigns, and Trevor at Signs Now have donated vinyl for individualizing the tiles.
  • Gary Frankforter, Building and Grounds Manager for HSD1, has asked many excellent questions about materials, safety, and longevity, leading to an improved project design.
  • Fencecrafters built and donated a demonstration model of chain link (so adorable that I am referring to it as a ‘fenceling’) and a larger model for display at the Holter Museum of Art.
  • Sue and employees at TC Glass (Great Falls) have also been very helpful with suggestions and helping to get us polycarbonate at a discounted price.
  • The Holter Museum of Art hosted a ‘Creation Station’ during the Youth Electrum Show to highlight our project and encourage community involvement.
  • RockHand Ace Hardware gave us an additional discount on the mile of galvanized wire purchased for this project.

Drilling Volunteers!  Thank you so much!

  • Juli Tenneson–Also helping significantly with cutting vinyl!  Juli also made all of the sponsor tiles recognizing our many community supporters.
  • The Heller Family
  • The Lanigan Family
  • The Rea Family
  • The Weber Family
  • The May Family
  • Broadwater’s SACC after school program (with Kirstan Roush)

Businesses and Organizations beyond those listed above that have and continue to support our students:

(This is by no means a complete list, and listed in no particular order.  If you see an omission, please email Jodi Delaney at to be added!)

Many of these organizations and businesses directly supported our recent Color Run–thank you!

Robert Allen Nissan

Van’s Thriftway

MT Credit Union Network


Finstad’s Carpet 1

Capital Collision

Niemeir Construction

Rocky Mountain Credit Union

The BaseCamp


Shaun Peterson/Payne West

3 Brothers Plumbing and Heating, inc.

Home Depot

Cross Roads Sports & Fitness

Tread Lightly


The Frozen Moose


Stone Tree Climbing

Lehrkind’s Coca-Cola

Capital City Car Wash

Sherwin Williams

Silver Star

Carmike Theater

Pampered Pets

Laughing Stock Hornses

Pivot Physical Therapy

Discovery Ski Area

Sandord Family Farm & Pony Rides

Lasso the Moon

Woolsey’s Tire Brake and Alignment

Outside In

Staggering Ox

CASA Advocates

Mediterranean Grill

Carroll College

Intermountain Children’s Home

Helena Police and Fire Departments

Water Watchers

StarBase (Dept. of Defense)

Montana Wild

Prickly Pear Land Trust

Lewis and Clark Library


Please help us list more!


Posted on March 29, 2020

April Newsletter

Check out our April Newsletter!

Posted on January 6, 2015

Keeping Kids Healthy

There are a number of things families can do to help keep their children healthy and in school:

  • Remind your children to frequently wash their hands; before they eat, after they have recess and after they use the bathroom.  Proper hand washing is the single most important behavior in preventing the transmission of many infectious diseases
  • Avoid close contact  with children and adults who are showing signs of illness
  • Check with your health care practitioner about immunizations for those diseases that can be prevented with vaccination ie: Influenza, Chicken Pox, Pertussis, etc.
  • Remind your student to cough into his elbow or shoulder

In addition, to help keep our school community healthy please keep your student home if:

  • S/He has a fever of 100 degrees or over
  • S/He appears ill and you suspect it may interfere with his ability to be an active learner ie: s/he is coughing repeatedly
  • S/He has nausea and vomiting, cramping or diarrhea

If you have questions or concerns about school health, please feel free to contact our school nurse.

Posted on January 6, 2015

Broadwater Temperature Guidelines

Above 10 degrees–no restrictions

10 degrees to zero–duration of recess may be limited and announced

zero or below zero–indoor recess

Wind chill factor is considered in determining outdoor recess.

Broadwater uses a weather station located at the school as the source of information used to determine temperature decisions at Broadwater School.