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2017

Update to Action Alert: Support the Arts in ESSA Plan
August 31, 2017

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...

From 1 Art Teacher to 20
August 31, 2017

The Challenge: An Arts Plan Was Never Fully Implemented

The Strategy: Community Engagement

The Story: When the Santa Cruz County Alliance for Arts Education (SCCAAE) launched in 2012, there was longstanding support in the community for arts, but great disparities between arts offerings across school districts in the county. The largest district in the county, Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD), had an arts plan in place, but had never fully implemented it. Among its 17 elementary schools there was only .2 Full Time Equivalent visual arts teacher.

At that time there was longstanding support in the community for arts, but great disparities between arts offerings across school districts in the county. The largest district in the county, Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD), had an arts plan in place, but had never fully implemented it....

Measuring Success: State of Arts Education Survey
August 30, 2017

The goal of the Arts Now Campaign is to establish the expectation that every district is responsible for providing their students with a high quality, comprehensive education that includes a strong arts program, complete with instruction by credentialed arts teachers as well as arts integration strategies being implemented across the curriculum. But how do we measure our progress toward this goal?

This fall we are launching a new, more robust set of metrics that includes both quantitative measures such as number of participants and event survey results as well as qualitative tools such as open ended responses to surveys and interviews.

With the launch of the Arts Education Data Project, arts enrollment data for every school in the state is widely available and easy to use. This provides us with a clear baseline as we begin our work with individual districts and counties. In addition, the Alliance has developed a rubric called the State of Arts Education Survey to measure a district’s capacity to deliver arts education...

Implementing a Strategic Arts Plan in Napa
June 27, 2017

Guest author: Robin Hampton, Local Advocacy Field Manager

The Challenge: How to keep a strategic arts plan from ending up in a drawer

The Strategy: Engage community and stakeholders through events and updates

The Story: The Arts Council Napa Valley (ACNV) Education Alliance was launched in 2013 to assess the state of arts education in Napa County. A countywide assessment by this public-private alliance resulted in the drafting of an Arts Education Master Plan, which presents a comprehensive framework for the development of TK-12 sequential, standards-based arts education curriculum for Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD). The NVUSD Board unanimously voted to adopt the NVUSD Arts Education Master Plan in June 2016.

The Plan follows best practices, amplifies existing programs and incorporates bold and...

Strategic Communications with District Leadership: Creating Arts Champions!
May 30, 2017

Guest Author: Peggy Burt, Senior Advisor, Arts Planning Initiative

The Challenge: How to communicate strategically with district leadership to demonstrate progress in arts education.

The Strategy: Structured, reflective, brief monthly reports to leadership, turning district leaders into arts champions!

The Story: The coordinators of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA coordinators) as well as other arts leaders and arts educators in school districts often find that their work is well known by some in the district, but almost “invisible” to others.

In an environment where information is often “information overload,” how can we be strategic about getting the facts and the stories to decision makers who have influence around arts education for all students in the district?

A few years back, I had the honor of working as the VAPA coordinator for a small district in Los Angeles County. The superintendent was warm, collegial and very open to communications. I started writing a brief monthly update to keep him informed about all of the progress and successes around...

Building Relationships with School Leaders in San Benito County
April 26, 2017

Arts Now Community: San Benito County

Guest Author: Amanda Chiado, Program Manager, San Benito County Arts Council & San Benito County Arts Education Alliance

The Challenge: How to build on collaboration between a school district and community organization

The Strategy: Developing 1:1 relationships with key school leaders

The Story: The San Benito County Arts Council is a key community partner in providing arts education programming to their county’s largest and most underserved school district, Hollister Elementary School District (HESD). For the last four years, they have garnered district support and funding for their comprehensive Arts in Education Program, which they have translated into direct programming at each of the district’s 11 schools. 

In 2016-17, the Arts Council joined the Arts Now Communities program with the goal of sustaining and increasing district funding for arts education from HESD and to begin to build their local Arts Education Alliance. With a new superintendent, the San Benito County Arts...

Letter on Title I Funding to Support Arts Education
March 31, 2017

The California Department of Education (CDE) released last month an updated letter to county and district superintendents outlining the appropriate uses of federal funding, in particular Title I funding to support arts education, signed by Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley. This new letter reflects a broader understanding of the role of arts education strategies in academic achievement and factors that directly affect academic achievement, such as student and family engagement and school climate. Having a current letter on file is a powerful tool for counties and school districts embarking on this Title I work, and we're proud to see it emerge from our long and fruitful relationship with CDE. Download the letter.

Murrieta Valley Unified Joins Arts Now Communities
March 1, 2017

Murrieta Valley Unified School District joins the Alliance's Arts Now Communities program, a statewide network of districts and counties working to increase access to arts education in local public schools. This month, Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington, Murrieta Valley Unified School District (MVUSD) Superintendent Patrick Kelley, and Miyamoto Music Studio Director Susan Miyamoto hosted a group of 50 parents, teachers, school leaders, arts organizations and local businesses to launch the new effort. Carol Hernandez, MVUSD's Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Coordinator, presented on the amazing arts programs currently underway and invited attendees to participate in the district's upcoming strategic arts planning process, which aims to ensure that all students in the district have access to the arts.

The Arts Now Communities program offers coaching and training, communications tools and field-tested strategies for advancing arts education in California schools. Start a coalition.

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2016

Bringing Arts into the Lives of All Students: Burton School District Strategic Planning Success Story
December 15, 2016

The Challenge: How to bring equitable access to arts education to a rural school district

The Strategy: Use a strategic arts plan to provide a framework for arts education throughout the district and community

The Story: Teacher Mentor Hector Marquez is highly motivated, and he has been promoting the arts within the Burton School District for some time.  But he realized that in order to provide equity and access to the arts for all students, he was going to need a team, and a plan!

With the support of the California Alliance for Arts Education’s Arts Planning Initiative, Hector gathered a team of district and community members in October of 2016 to make arts education history in a small school district in the Central Valley of California.

Nestled in a rich agricultural area in the central region, the Burton School District is a gem of a district in Porterville, California. The town is a gateway to the nearby Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park.

During the arts...

Bringing Arts Masterpieces to Life for All Students: A Pasadena Strategic Planning Success Story
November 21, 2016

Guest author: Peggy Burt, Senior Advisor, Arts Planning Initiative

The Challenge: How to create a greater impact in arts education by connecting to your local arts organizations and city 

The Strategy: Use a strategic arts plan to provide a framework for arts education throughout your district and city

The Story: How many times have you driven by a piece of public art or a local museum without taking the time to stop and really see the work? 

Pasadena is a special place - rich with arts and creativity. But we asked ourselves, “How do we share these riches with the school district? 

In 2003, the Pasadena Unified School District began a strategic planning process to strengthen arts education district-wide.  The team came together to create a comprehensive arts plan to provide dance, music, theatre and visual arts education to all students, K-12 within the school day.  In partnership with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission: Arts for All and the California Alliance for Arts Education, the district received a coach and planning assistance. As...

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