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2015

What Works in Letters to Elected Officials
October 1, 2015
By Kathryn Arnett
 
I have written many letters to elected representatives in my life. But while interning at the California State Capitol one summer, I had the chance to be on the other side reading those letters. Seeing the hundreds of emails and mailed letters that come to a State Senator on any given day, I learned what kinds of letters are most effective and influence representatives most. 

When I was interning at the Capitol, there was talk that the education budget would get a major overhaul—and potentially receive much more funding than in recent years. So, we saw a lot of letters come in asking the legislature to invest more in education. Many came in bulk, and those I do not remember. The letters that stood out to me, and to my boss and the staff, were personalized. 

I remember one letter in particular from a concerned mother with a son in elementary school in Los Angeles. She shared the story of how cuts to the budget had affected her and her child. He was less engaged in school because classes like Physical Education had been cut. When she walked through his...
Get the Student Voices Classroom Guide
July 24, 2015

The Student Voices Campaign (SVC) invites young people to create videos that show their creativity and passion for the arts and share them with elected officials. 

California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) guarantees students a voice in planning and budgeting for their school district.  SVC provides a pathway for students to realize the role envisioned for them in LCFF community engagement guidelines. 
 
With support from the California Arts Council, this fall, the California Alliance for Arts Education will release the Student Voices Classroom Guide and we are looking for teachers grades 7–12 to use it in their classrooms during the 2015–16 school year. The lessons can be scaled to unfold over two weeks or to be pursued more deeply over several months.  

The guide will equip teachers to use the campaign as project-based learning opportunity that offers students a real-world opportunity to author content, communicate creatively and practice civic engagement. The lessons will u...
Anaheim: Arts Education & Student Success Go Hand in Hand
May 14, 2015

This week, Anaheim Unified High School was chosen as a Gold Ribbon School for demonstrating exemplary achievements in implementing California’s academic content standards and, the district also received recognition for having an “Exemplary Program in Arts Education, Career Technical Education, or Physical Activity and Nutrition.” According to Shanin Zeimer, a parent, PTA member and local organizer for our Local Advocacy Network, the district has a strong commitment to the visual and performing arts that goes hand in hand with overall student success.

Numerous research studies suggest a correlation between access to high quality arts education and student success. Student involvement in the arts is linked to higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, greater involvement in community service and lower dropout rates.[i]

So how can community members work to build a high quality arts program in their district? Shanin Zeimer and Pat Wayne,...

Mission Possible: Napa County Alliance for Arts Education
April 13, 2015

The Challenge: To launch a countywide advocacy effort with multiple partners and stakeholders who have diverse goals and little to no bandwidth to ‘start something new’

The Strategy: Define your terms: Know your mission; educate your stakeholders about what advocacy is… and isn’t.

The Story: In December 2013 Arts Council Napa Valley, along with the Napa County Office of Education and the California Alliance for Arts Education, convened more than 50 Napa County educators, arts organizations, nonprofits, and community leaders at an early morning breakfast to garner support for arts education in Napa County schools, launching the Napa County Alliance for Arts Education (NCAAE).  The event was a success -- there was enthusiasm among the participants to increase access to arts education in the county, and there was also concern about the cost, benefits and time involved with this undertaking. Partners, wondered ‘What’s in this for my program?’ and ‘Will this group raise funds for my organization, program?

“Understandably, the various stakeholders in our group had varying concerns...

Your District Superintendent: A Key Ally for Arts Education
March 13, 2015

"Your district superintendent is the person who knows and understands what's happening on a day to day basis in each school in the district. He or she is responsible for implementing programs.[…] [and] oftentimes their voice is the one the SB hears the loudest or that carries the most weight.”

In this month’s blog from our Local Advocacy Network, advocates from the San Luis Obispo Alliance for Arts Education explain how and why they worked with the district superintendent in Paso Robles in this brief video blog

 

Why a District Arts Plan Still Matters
February 10, 2015

The Challenge: How to build a district wide arts program starting now.

The Strategy: A district arts plan builds broad support and maps a path for incremental, but sustained growth.

The Story: California’s state education code requires that students receive K-12 instruction in visual arts, music, theater and dance. Yet, during years of tough financial times, many schools were forced to cut their arts programs. During the lean years, advocates in Orange County (OC) undertook a systematic effort to pass district arts plans that means as new funding comes in, both a commitment and a plan are in already place.

According to Pat Wayne, who shepherded many plans into being in her work for Arts Orange County and the California Alliance for Arts Education, “The strength of this approach for advocacy lies in the fact that the district has a blueprint to follow and advocacy efforts can be very specific rather...

Launch of Online Guide Put Arts Integration within Reach of Title 1 Schools
February 4, 2015

The California Alliance for Arts Education has launched a new online resource to support arts integration programs at low-income schools. The website guides Title I school leaders through a rigorous process to plan and evaluate arts strategies that can help achieve the goals of the Title I program.

“Arts programs can help schools achieve the aims of Title I by facilitating student engagement and learning, strengthening parent involvement, and improving school climate and school wide behavior,” according to the website live at http://www.title1arts.org.

Yet, up until recently, there was no procedure to do this and zero California Title I schools – out of approximately 6,000 Title I schools – that were officially using Title I funds to support arts education strategies. Despite a substantial body of research demonstrating that arts education increases student achievement, there has been a lack of clarity whether or not arts strategies...

Art in District LCAPs: Tools and Best Practices
February 4, 2015

Each June, every school district in California is required to submit a three year Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) as part of the state's new school funding formula. New resources from the California Alliance, Arts for LA and Arts for All offer a look at trends in the ways that districts are investing in arts education and a closer look...
How SF Arts Advocates Leveraged Support for Ballot Measure
January 8, 2015

How SF Arts Advocates Leveraged Support for Ballot Measure

Challenge: Persuade city officials to introduce and support a ballot initiative to fund arts education, libraries and sports.  

Strategy: The San Francisco Alliance for Arts Education authored a white paper that decision-makers clear, sound arguments for amending a funding policy and putting it on the November 2014 ballot.

Story:

San Francisco’s PEEF (Public Education Enrichment Fund), which for years had protected funding for physical education, libraries and arts education in San Francisco public schools seemed to be on the back burner, despite the fact that it was set to sunset at the end of the year. With careful planning, research and plenty of lead time, the San Francisco Alliance for Arts Education (SFAAE) succeeded in getting a ballot measure passed reauthorizing PEEF and securing funding for programs that historically have been vulnerable to budget reduction or elimination in difficult economic times.

1. Gather Input...

CREATE California Statewide Convening
January 6, 2015

CREATE CA January 30 & 31

We’re kicking off 2015 with a statewide convening of CREATE California to ignite collective impact and expand arts and creativity in California schools. Join us in Oakland on January 30 & 31, 2015 for workshop sessions, policy briefings and conversations to open up new opportunities for collaboration. We will be joined by Governor Jerry Brown, Apple University’s Randy Nelson, as well as students from the Oakland School for the Arts and the San Francisco Student Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble.

What is CREATE CA?

CREATE CA (Core Reforms Engaging Arts to Educate) is a unique statewide coalition of agencies, organizations and individuals partnering on an education reform movement that views arts education as an essential part of the solution to the problems facing California schools. Using a model of “collective impact,” CREATE CA is led by five leadership organizations and five individual elected members from the field. It is a model that has garnered interest from advocates in other states.

How is CREATE CA different than...

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