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Forum with 2018 Candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction

On April 7, 2018, as part of the Arts Now Bay Area Summit, four students from schools across California, posed questions about arts education policy, equity and access at a Candidate Forum. The SPI of California is the nonpartisan elected executive officer of the California Department of Education. The SPI directs all functions of the Department, executes policies set by the California State Board of Education, and also heads and chairs the Board. View a recording of the full Candidate Forum below to learn about how each candidate plans to support arts education!

 

How to use the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning in the Arts Planning Process

The Challenge: How to introduce the Declaration and Model Resolution as part of the arts planning process so that the ideas and principles of the Declarations can be fully embraced in the Arts Plan.

The Strategy: Bring the resolution into the planning process as a way to guide thinking and support adoption of the plan!

The Story: A number of districts have adopted the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning and/or a Resolution supporting the Declaration based on the model available on CREATE CA’s website.  In our blog post last month, we highlighted The Amador Alliance for Arts Education, a local advocacy coalition working to increase access to arts education, and their local success in adopting the Declaration.

There’s not enough time in the day! How to find time in the schedule for arts.

The Challenge: Middle and high school students simply don’t have time in their schedules for arts education courses

The Strategy: Adopt a master schedule that ensures that every student can take arts classes

The Story: Middle and high school students have many competing priorities that quickly fill their course schedules: in addition to core academic courses, Advanced Placement courses, instruction for English language learners, academic intervention, and special education instruction all can take up precious time in a student’s schedule. All too often, when school counselors create schedules that accommodate required courses and the unique academic circumstances of each student, arts courses—visual art, music, dance, theatre—get cut from student schedules because there simply is not enough time in the day. How can schools create more time in the schedule so that students have access to valuable arts education opportunities and are able to fulfill the "F" Requirement? The answer is not actually more time, but instead a shift in the master schedule!

Amador Adopts the Declaration of Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning

The Challenge: How to Energize Support for Arts Education among your School Board, School Administration, and district Parents

The Strategy: Ask the School Board to Adopt the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning

The Story: The Amador Alliance for Arts Education, a local advocacy coalition working to increase access to the arts education, was looking for a way to gain visibility and inspire district leaders to take action. Faced with this challenge, the group turned to the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning.

Student Advocacy Success Story by Xochitl Morales

Hi. My name is Xochitl Morales, and I am a 17-year-old high school student from a small town in the Central Valley. I go to a school in Delano that you may know as either Paramount Bard, Paramount Academy, or Wonderful College Preparatory Academy (what we are called now). When I first started going to my school in sixth grade, it was called Paramount Bard.

At that time, it had only existed for three years, but it proved to be a leader in the arts education scene. We had mariachi, choir, animation, visual design, and theater classes, as well as an entire block in our schedule dedicated to creating in any club we chose. We also had a collaboration with the prestigious Longy Conservatory of Music that allowed many of us to travel across the country to share what we were learning.

Our school was blossoming with passion and creativity.

However, four years later, after two name changes and several administration re-assignments, this was all gone. We were left with only one Art Appreciation class - just enough to fulfill our A-G high school requirements. Being an artist, I was saddened to the core as I witnessed the change in atmosphere on my campus. School became less focused on the students’ development as expressive humans, and more focused on the test scores used to academically rank local high school campuses.

Orcutt Union School District Uses Schedule Rotation to Support Music Education

The Challenge: How to deploy limited resources to serve high needs students and establish a sustainable elementary music program that serves every student

The Strategy: Create a schedule rotation of P.E., music and intervention to achieve smaller class size and arts instruction for all students 

The Story: The Orcutt Union School District, located in Santa Barbara county, includes five elementary schools, two middle schools, one K-8 school and two K-8 and one high school charter schools. Faced with the challenge of a tight budget and looking for a way to address the needs of a student population with a high number of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, the district needed to use their existing funds in a creative way. 

Moreno Valley Unified School District Includes Students in Arts Planning Process

The Challenge: How to Get Student Input for District Arts Planning  

The Strategy: Invite Exceptional High School Seniors to Attend Arts Planning Meetings

The Story: Shania Carden, a high school senior in the Moreno Valley Unified School District, was never expecting to be invited to participate in the school district strategic arts planning process. “[It] was a surprise to me,” Shania explained, “but I was very eager to do so! I was very interested in being there to learn what was behind the scenes in the arts planning process.” 

Framing the Arts for Success in California Schools

Artspiration invites you to join representatives from California’s leading arts education and advocacy organizations: Create CA, California Alliance for Arts Education and CCSESA Arts Initiative and the California Department of Education, for a special arts education workshop.

Outcomes:

  • Understand the background and history of the Blueprint for Creative Schools and the CREATE CA initiative
  • Explore the Arts Education Data Project and its role in ensuring equitable access to high-quality, standards based arts education
  • Discuss the strategy of creating a district-wide arts plan and hear examples from the field
  • Build knowledge of why and how arts education meets the eight state LCFF Priorities
  • Receive valuable updates on state and federal arts legislation that impacts school and district policies

Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Time: 11:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. (Lunch Provided)

Location: Santa Clara County Office of Education

Cost: Free

Register: http://bit.ly/2rBp2LU Registration open to district and site leadership teams

Riverside Unified School District embraces Community Partnerships!

Guest author: Peggy Burt, Arts Now Program Director

The Challenge: How to engage and gather input from the community for school district arts planning

The Strategy: An invitation to a meeting at the Mayor’s office!

The Story: On a lovely day in Riverside, August 15, 2017, a passionate group of arts education providers and supporters gathered in the Mayor’s Ceremonial Chamber at Riverside City Hall. As soon as you stepped into the room, you could feel the buzz of excitement! This was a moment of collaborative opportunity and an invitation to contribute to the work of enhancing and strengthening the arts in the Riverside Unified School District. Holding it at the Mayor’s office underlined the value placed on the community’s input.

Update to Action Alert: Support the Arts in ESSA Plan

Thank you to everyone who sent letters to the California Department of Education requesting the inclusion of language about the Visual and Performing Arts in the state plan to implement Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). We have been in touch with the California Department of Education to raise our concerns about this issue and received the following response from Barbara Murchison, ESSA State Lead at the California Department of Education:

The current draft of the ESSA State Plan, available on the California Department of Education California ESSA State Plan Drafts webpage, does reference the VAPA standards and the state’s intentions to support the implementation of these standards, particularly in the Title II, Part A section of the document.

Perhaps more important, the ESSA State Plan is fundamentally an application for federal funds—not a master plan for P-12 education—and the State Board of Education has directed us to meet, not exceed, plan requirements. The template does not require California to describe how it is supporting VAPA education, so the document already goes beyond what is required to signal California’s commitment to supporting VAPA education as a key element of a well-rounded education for our students.

We will present the plan to the State Board of Education for approval at its September meeting and submit it to the U.S. Department of Education on September 18. However, there will be much implementation work to come after the plan is approved, with most of the opportunities to support VAPA education happening at the local, not state, level. To support local implementation efforts, the California Department of Education sent a letter regarding using federal funds to support VAPA education to local educational agencies on February 27, 2017. I anticipate that more guidance regarding local use of federal funds to support standards implementation will be forthcoming once the plan is approved. Notably, to date, the VAPA standards are the only set of SBE-adopted standards for which the California Department of Education has provided ESSA-related guidance.

The most recent California Department of Education California ESSA State Plan Drafts can be viewed here. In addition, anyone interested in expressing their opinion about arts education is welcome to attend the next State Board of Education meeting on September 13-14 in Sacramento. More information here.

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