District LCAPs show investment in arts education

The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), passed last year, offers a historic opportunity for school districts to set new, locally driven goals aimed at improving outcomes for students who are often underserved in public schools.

Responding to this shift, the Alliance created a toolkit of materials, which connect documented impacts of arts education to the law’s eight new priorities. Working with our Policy Council, Local Advocacy Network and through partnerships with the California State PTA, Arts for All, Arts for LA, California School Boards Association, Nick Rail Music, Families in Schools and Ed Trust-West, we were able to engage hundreds of community members who:

  • Made school board presentations in 30 school districts
  • Served on district advisory committees
  • Provided written feedback or public comment on their district’s draft LCAP plan

We are now in the process of gathering district Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs) from the advocates and districts we worked with this year. We will share them on LCAP Watch, a site that aims to gather LCAPs from all of California’s schools districts to create public transparency in school district plans and budgets.

As we begin to review some of these plans, there are some exciting investments being made to support student achievement, student engagement, Common Core Alignment and a broad course of study using arts education. Below are some initial findings. Thank you to the amazing students, parents, teachers, and other stakeholders who participated in local district advocacy and planning.

Twin Rivers Unified School District is using arts education to improve student achievement and student engagement. Over the next three years, the district plans to hire a total of 60 new Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) teachers for elementary and middle school students. High school students are accounted for as well, as the district plans to hire four additional choir teachers in each high school. In total, Twin Rivers plans to invest more than $5M in supplemental concentration funds in arts education. Congrats, Twin Rivers!

Capistrano Unified School District is using arts education to improve course access, align the district with the Common Core State Standards, to improve student achievement and engagement, and to help students be college and career ready. They will update their District Arts Plan and increase student access to Visual and Performing Arts courses. To accomplish this, they are creating additional VAPA course offerings, hiring a VAPA Coordinator, and investing in books and supplies. Across three years, Capistrano will invest over $900,000 in supplemental funds to support arts education.

Chula Vista Elementary School District is investing in arts education to broaden course access and provide students with a balanced educational program. They will create a Visual and Performing Arts Strategic Plan, and hire one VAPA Teacher on Special Appointment (TOSA) each year for three years. In total, Chula Vista will spend $270,000 on hiring VAPA teachers. The funding source is not specified.

Fountain Valley School District is using arts education to provide students with a robust broad course of study and to improve student achievement. They have identified that they need teachers with quality training in how to teach the arts. To that end, they will provide professional development to support K-5 arts. The district also will provide certified music instruction to elementary and middle schools, amounting to a more than $800,000 investment towards music instruction. To implement these programs, Fountain Valley will use both base and supplemental funds.

Huntington Beach City School District will continue to follow its Art Priority Goals, and will invest in arts education to satisfy basic services and to align with Common Core State Standards. The district will provide professional development for arts integration through a partnership with the Orange County Department of Education Arts Advantage. The district will use base and supplemental funds for this investment.

Live Oak School District plans to use arts along with STEM to involve students in collaborative, inquiry-based learning. The first year, summer school classrooms will pilot strategies for collaborative group learning, and this will be implemented the upcoming year. By year three, every student will participate in a culminating project that demonstrates their new 21st century skills. STEAM lessons will allow teachers to develop and practice these interdisciplinary techniques. No additional funds will be used for this plan.

Ontario-Montclair School District is broadening their elective offerings in order to ensure that students have an enriched course of study and to improve student engagement and school climate. Starting in the second year, the district will increase the number of elective classes in middle schools by two each year, including Visual and Performing Arts courses. For these electives (which include subjects such as STEM and Robotics), the district will invest $400,000 each year; funding source unknown.

Pajaro Valley Unified School District’s LCAP states the need for elementary students to have access to Visual and Performing Arts, as a means of improving course access. Each year for three years, access to VAPA courses will increase 25%. The district will update their arts plan, and will hire 14.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) release time teachers for primary grades each year for three years, with the release time dedicated to VAPA instruction. Total, this amounts to more than $3M in base grant funds towards arts education.

Poway Unified School District states that the district needs Visual and Performing Arts to improve student achievement. They will increase the number of graduating students taking at least one yearlong VAPA course by 5%. They will invest more than $1.5M in base funding towards fifth grade band teachers, band materials and supplies, band uniforms, and performing arts costs in theatres.

Riverside Unified School District is using the arts to improve student achievement and parental involvement. The district wants to increase opportunities for students to participate in extracurricular activities and eliminate barriers to doing so. Over the course of three years, the district will develop and implement a plan that eradicates the barriers to participating in elementary band, and invest more than $300,000 in LCFF funds in instruments and sheet music. They also will increase VAPA services each year.

Additionally, to improve student achievement and engagement, and enhance school climate, Riverside wants to increase opportunities for students to choose their own academic path. To that end, by the third year they will hire one full time VAPA teacher at Ramona High School  and an 80%-time teacher at Central Middle School. Total, this amounts to more than $100,000 in LCFF funds to expand VAPA services at these two schools.

Temecula Valley Unified School District is using arts education to broaden course access. Elementary students will receive instruction in VAPA once a week, and English Learners will receive an extra class per week focused on Academic Vocabulary. The district will hire VAPA teachers in years two and three, investing more than $500,000 in supplemental funds. The district will also provide VAPA Professional Development with supplemental funding. Lastly, the district will invest $15,000 in supplemental funds for VAPA materials and resources.