Welcome to the Los Alamitos Alliance for Arts Education. Our coalition of parents, school officials, arts organizations, community and business leaders are working to keep the arts in our local schools. Join us!

June 19, 2014

 Marcy Sudock is a multi-faceted professional musician, conductor, and private music instructor in the Los Alamitos area.  

She is the founding artistic director and conductor of the Musique Sur La Mer Orchestras since 2001, and leads the various performing groups that are under the MSLM umbrella.  They serve every level of musical performance starting at ages 7 - 14 for La Petite Musique Children’s Orchestra, progressing to the MSLM Youth Symphony Orchestra, MSLM Chamber and Jazz Orchestra, MSLM Wind and String Ensembles, MSLM Chamber Ensembles, and the professional Musique Sur La Mer Orchestra.
The MSLM Youth Symphony Orchestra is comprised of 

June 2, 2014

-by Donna Chinn, Los Alamitos Alliance for Arts Education

Mrs. Rikki Jones is the founding artistic director of Los Al Dance, where she oversees 5 levels of dance ranging from beginners to advanced.  Mrs. Jones has led the dance program for all of its 15 years. She specializes in jazz technique, but includes ballet, hip hop, character and lyrical styles.  
She conceives two full-length themed dance shows annually, for which she is in charge of the narrative, original choreography, choice of music, costumes, and lighting, Some of her past shows have been “America’s Favorite Dancer”, a reality show in the style of American Idol; “Happily Ever After” a fairy tale mash-up; and “The Piano”, which followed the “life” of a grand piano in its various homes over the years.  The shows are so popular that they usually sell out.
She arranges additional performance opportunities for her most advanced students, such as Back to School Night, Homecoming, Open House, the CSULB Pyramid and a local invitational. The school Dance Team takes part in two convention - competition events each year, where the students participate in master classes.  Mrs. Jones recently added a Student Choreography Showcase at end of the year.

May 21, 2014


- by Donna Chinn, Los Al Arts; Sally Neiser & Amber Lee, LAUSD

The Los Al school district has a long and rich history of excellence in the arts.  Our strong programs in music, theatre, dance, and visual art are a result of leadership by our many dedicated arts educators.  Earlier this month, the Orange County Music and Arts Educators of the Orange County Department of Education presented their 2014 awards to “honor the accomplishments of teachers who make a difference in the lives of students through arts education”.  LAUSD is especially proud to have multiple OCMAA winners this year.  

Suzanne McElderry – Mrs. Suzanne McElderry received the award for Vocal Music - Elementary because she makes a difference in the lives of students and staff through arts education. In her role as music specialist at McGaugh, Mrs. McElderry makes music come alive in her classroom in part by connecting it to other disciplines and content students are learning.  As a result, students receive a highly rich arts experience in her classroom, but also in their core content classrooms. 

When upper grade students were studying the westward movement, Suzanne wrote and directed a westward movement themed musical.  The knowledge she gained from collaborating 

April 22, 2014

-by Barbara LeMaster, 2013-14 LAHS PTSA Reflections Chair; photo courtesy Donna Chinn

The PTSA Reflections Program has honored four students at Los Alamitos High School for their achievement in the arts.  Donnovan Hill won the category of “Literature” with his piece titled “Life Changes”.  Delaney LeMaster-Dwyer won the category of “Dance Choreography” with her artwork titled “Believe, Dream, Inspire”. Serena O’Sullivan won the category of “Visual Arts” with her artwork titled “Believe, Dream, Inspire”.  Noah Patterson won the category of “Photography” with his work titled “Sanoset”.  Colin Brown-Greaves won second place in the “Visual Arts” category.  Hailey Morales won third place.  Zachary Harwood, Noel Limfueco, Shannon Ortiz tied for Honorable Mention 1, Riko Martin IV, Taryn Lee, Christen Drake were tied for Honorable Mention 2, Lindsey d’Arnaud , Taryn Lee (another submission), Lauren Hopkins Holly Fosmire, Kelly Peterson were tied for Honorable Mention 3 in the Visual Arts category.  Kevin Christensen won second place in the Literature category, and Elizabeth Guldimann won third place.  Matthew Eclevia and Elizabeth Guldimann tied for second place in the Photography category, Elizabeth entered other pieces that earned third place and honorable mention.  All four winners were advanced to the PTA fourth district competition.  Delaney LeMaster-Dwyer was first runner up in her category, and Donnovan Hill won an honorable mention.

March 4, 2014

By Joe Landon, The Sacramento BEE

We now have an opportunity to bring arts education back into our schools in a significant way. After years of focus on standardized tests and a narrowing of the curriculum under No Child Left Behind, the “local control funding formula” sets new goals for local districts that prioritize student engagement, parent involvement, school climate, student achievement, a broad course of study – all things that the arts are known to contribute to.

In the coming months, as school boards seek input and develop their local control and accountability plans, local advocates have an opportunity to provide a teaching moment about the benefits of arts education in their district.

“As we begin to uncover the consequences of the last 10 to 15 years of the widening education gap, I hope we begin to bank on students’ abilities and potential by investing in arts learning and professional development, and this go around: truly not leave any child behind.”

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/02/6195720/viewpoints-why-teaching-art-to.html

February 11, 2014

- by Donna Chinn, Los Al Arts

 Los Al Drama Director Stacy Castiglione, known to her students as “Mrs. C , is new to our district, but she has 10 years of teaching experience, plus an extensive background in various aspects of theatre.  She oversees the high school drama program of approx. 60 intermediate & advanced drama students plus 2 beginning drama classes.  She has set out an ambitious schedule of 6 dramatic productions for her first year, which includes a musical. She coaches students for theatre festivals, the Cappies (Critics & Awards 

November 9, 2013

- by Donna Chinn, Los Alamitos Alliance for Arts Education

Justin Padilla is one member of LAEF's Royal Court who is vying to become King.  The top fundraisers in the Los Alamitos Education Foundation's King & Queen of Hearts Campaign will be crowned at the Royal Ball & Coronation event on November 22nd.  All monies raised go to LAEF to support LAUSD in connecting students to the 4 As of Academics, Athletics, Activities, and Arts.

Mr Padilla is a performing artist and passionate arts educator.  He directs the instrumental music program at Oak Middle School, which includes jazz band;  philharmonic, symphonic & string orchestras; symphonic winds; concert winds, concert band, and exploratory wheel.  He has brought his students to perform at Disneyland and the Monterey Jazz Festival,  as well as a Family Event for fellow district school Rossmoor Elementary. Among his many credits as a performer, he played saxophone with the Class Notes Big Band this March.  Mr Padilla's goal for students is" to have fun while making music and develop the disciplines to enhance lifelong learning potential."

Go to LAEF4kids.org for more details on the King & Queen of Hearts Campaign.

September 9, 2013

Walter Issacson, author of the Steve Jobs biography, discovered that in all Apple's products "technology (was) married to great design, elegance, human touches, and even romance." On a personal note, Isaacson added,

The creativity that can occur when a feel for both the humanities and the sciences combine in one strong personality was the topic that most interested me in my biographies of Franklin and Einstein, and I believe ... will be a key to creating innovative economies in the twenty-first century.

Not surprisingly, the importance of design and the creativity inherent in the concept of design, is weaving its way into more programs on college campuses.

Recently, the Paul and Stacy Jacobs Foundation (Paul is CEO of Qualcomm and a Berkeley alum) gave $20 million to the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, for a new institute for design innovation that will expand the role of design in engineering education.

In making the gift Jacobs said:

In our interconnected innovation economy, it is not enough to provide our future engineering leaders with technical skills.... they must also learn how to work in interdisciplinary teams, how to iterate designs rapidly, how to manufacture sustainably, how to combine art and engineering, and how to address global markets.

To read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-m-eger/design-thinking-on-the-co_b_3813464.html

August 7, 2013

Last year, despite Europe's budget woes, the European Union announced that it was spending €1.8 billion ($2,423,520,000) for the period 2014-2020 (to) "boost their cultural and creative industries,' which, they said, "are a major source of jobs and growth in Europe."

The U.S. meanwhile is doing too little to prepare itself for the creative and innovative age: The U.S. education system isn't yet educating for the new economy; cities and town across America are not yet renewing their communities with the broadband infrastructures at affordable costs, or providing the public art and architecture of the creative economy; and business has not yet stepped up the plate either.

Some years ago Business Week Magazine (BW) the leading publication for business said: "The game is changing... It isn't just about math and science anymore (Although those are surely important disciplines). It's about creativity, imagination, and, above all, innovation."

August 7, 2013

By Sharon Verner Chappell of California State University Fullerton, and Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor of the University of Georgia and formerly the University of California, Santa Cruz


Woodworth and colleagues studied California’s arts programming, finding that 89% of K-12 schools failed to offer a standard course of study with consistent scope and sequence based on CA Standards in the four arts disciplines. Limited access to arts in schools tends to disproportionately impact minority youth…

We argue that we need to disallow statements such as “I don’t sing” and “I don’t dance,”(made by teachers)  just as we disallow any K-12 teacher to state “I don’t read” and “I don’t do math.”  We also need to question the assumption of only considering the experiences of minoritized youth if we have them in our classes or if they don’t bring a lunch to our school. The studies we reviewed demonstrate that being creative, critical and publicly engaged are skills we all share and experiences we all crave. We ask educational researchers, teacher educators, and education policy makers: what reforms are necessary so that all students and their teachers have opportunities to realize their creative, multilingual, and multicultural potential?