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Embracing Community Partnerships in Riverside

Annemarie Guzy, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist at Riverside Unified School District, brought together a group of diverse community arts leaders to help define goals for the district Arts Plan. With the expert facilitation of Annemarie, the group brainstormed fresh, creative ideas to coordinate community and city resources with the district, connect professional artists with students, and develop possible ways to weave RUSD students into the arts community of Riverside. The California Alliance for Arts Education believes that working in this collaborative way – bringing leadership together from all different sectors - is a key element for a successful Strategic Arts Plan. The Alliance has captured this and other important practices in the Insider’s Guide for Arts Education Planning, produced in partnership with the Arts Education Collective. Learn more about Annemarie’s strategy and the arts planning process in Riverside here.

“We are here to help!”

Meghan O’Keefe, leader of the Amador Alliance for Arts Education, was looking for a way to gain visibility and inspire district leaders to take action in support of arts education, so she turned to the inspiring message of the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning. Meghan and her fellow advocates decided to use this document as a way to say, “We are here to help!” and provided the community with more information about the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), attended the LCAP meetings held by the district, and recommended the creation of a district strategic arts plan. Attending the school board meeting to offer support and resources, the Amador Alliance hoped to spark excitement and start conversations about how to bring arts to schools. The upbeat, collaborative and helpful approach of the Amador Alliance has proved to be highly successful and as a result of their work, the school board adopted the Declaration! Learn more about Meghan’s strategy here.

Sharing Information about Resources Opens the Door for Collaboration

Arts Now leader Susan Miyamoto alerted district leadership about an arts education grant opportunity and then served as a community representative in the proposal brainstorming process! Susan heard about the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program offered by the California Department of Education and hoped her district might apply for funding for the arts. Susan sent information about the grant opportunity to Jodi McClay, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Support Services, who she had met at the launch of the Temecula Arts Now Community. As a result of Susan’s outreach, Assistant Superintendent McClay invited her to join a meeting of VAPA teachers and school administrators who worked together to come up with ideas for possible projects to include in the grant proposal. She worked with the group to identify ways to connect project proposals to the district Arts Plan and LCAP. Susan was able to participate in this meeting because of the relationships she had built as an Arts Now leader and the coaching she received from the Alliance.

Student Speaks up for Arts Education

Lulu Briggs, senior at Amador High School, brings her student perspective to nonprofit board meetings, statewide advocacy summits and convenings, and her local school board meetings. By speaking about how the arts have impacted her life, Lulu effectively advocates for increased access to arts education for her fellow students. As a sophomore, Lulu became a student director at AmadorArts, where she represented a student perspective at board meetings. With the support and encouragement of Meghan O’Keefe, Executive Director of Amador Arts, Lulu also participated in competitions like the Student Voices Campaign and Poetry Out Loud. She wrote and directed the Amador High submission to the Student Voices Campaign, which placed third statewide and played a part in adopting The Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning in the Amador County Unified School District. Her role as an arts advocate has helped Lulu realize the power of her own voice and empowered her to take on a leadership role in her school theatre program. Because of her impressive arts advocacy efforts, she was invited to speak on a panel entitled “Nothing About Us Without Us: Meaningful Student Leadership” at the Create CA Statewide Convening. Lulu’s high school experience has been shaped by her role as an arts education advocate and influenced her goals for the future. Originally setting her sights on becoming a theatrical performer, Lulu is now focused on directing theatre and participating in the fundraising, logistics and administration of theatre production.

 

Donna Chinn Champions the Candidate Survey Project

As the leader of Los Alamitos Alliance for Arts Education, Donna is a veteran participant in the Alliance’s Candidate Survey Project, which invites local school board candidates across California to go on record with their views about the role of arts education in local schools. The arts are a dimension of local elections that voters may not have considered in their decision-making process. The Candidate Survey Project gives them a way to learn more about candidates’ views on arts education policy before they vote. Donna contacted candidates for school board in her district via email, letter, and even hand-delivered an invitation to participate! This targeted outreach not only helped build relationships with the school board candidates, but Donna’s formal requests for participation also lent legitimacy to her role as arts education advocate in the community. Once the candidates filled out the survey, Donna promoted their responses on the Los Alamitos Alliance for Arts Education Facebook page. She recommends “building a strong case for why it is important for your school and your child to connect to the local elections and elect school board members who value the arts.”

Arts Education Week 2018 featuring Arts Now Heroes

Pulling Together Outside Resources in Support of Equity

Miko is working to address issues of equity in arts education by utilizing outside resources and synergizing multiple initiatives happening all at once in her area. Marin county is home to 30,000 students in 18 school districts, with schools ranging from extremely wealthy to Title I funded schools with limited community resources. As a result, issues of equity are profound in the region. In order to help address this inequity, Miko has served as a connector, collaborator and leader in elementary data collection, the arts planning process, National Arts in Education Week event planning and the Alliance Arts Now Community program. Reaching well beyond her role as Executive Director of the nonprofit Youth in Arts, Miko has leveraged the collective power of multiple initiatives to address equity issues. 

New VAPA Standards Available for Review

In November 2016, the California Department of Education, Instructional Quality Commission, and State Board of Education began the process of revising the California Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) content standards. On July 26, 2018, the Instructional Quality Commission opened the public review and comment period for the draft VAPA Standards. The public review and comment period is an important opportunity for stakeholders to provide comments and suggested edits.

Otis Report on the Creative Economy

On May 22, 2018 the Otis College of Art & Design released the 2018 Otis Report on the Creative Economy of California. Data shown are from 2016, with projections out to 2021.

Why is this important to K-12 educators, parents and community members?

Because the so-called “jobs of tomorrow” are here today!  As students search for a path forward, having this kind of data makes a compelling case for pursuing education that prepares students for creative careers. 

 

How to Use Data in Arts Education Advocacy

The California Arts Education Data Project is powerful tool for anyone hoping to learn more about the access to and quality of arts education in their community. It was designed to help increase participation in arts education across the state. It was first piloted in New Jersey, where access to arts education has risen from 94% to 99.8%.

What information is included in the Data Project?

  • Participation rates for secondary school students in California
  • School-level, district, county and statewide data is displayed in an interactive, color-coded dashboard 

New this year:

  • Year-over-year comparison tools display changes in access over time
  • Arts participation of students enrolled in free and reduced lunch program shows how the socio-economic status of a school district impacts access to the arts 

Conversation about Arts Advocacy on KVGC 1340 AM

Jessa Brie Moreno, Field Manager for the Alliance, and Meghan O'Keefe, Program Coordinator at the Amador County Arts Council, discuss topics such as the state education code, the creative economy, the Local Control Funding Formula, arts integration, and parent engagement in a recent radio interview. Listen to the full conversation at the links below.

Part I

Part II

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