Meeting Notes from Feb. 23, 2011 leadership meeting

Our first meeting for the Placentia-Yorba Linda Alliance for Arts Education Leadership Team took place on February 23, 2011 at 3:30 in the afternoon.  We had Pat Wayne of Arts Orange County present, along with Jim Thomas of OCDE, Phil Mortensen of PYLUSD and 11 other PTA members, business owners, educators, and representatives from local arts organizations. After I welcomed our Leadership Team, Pat talked a bit about Advocacy and what are we advocating for. Our mission was shared with our team, we went over the elements of an Advocacy Plan, and I shared my notes from our Breakfast meeting. Then we used our last hour to review our advocacy table, break into small discussion groups, and share our ideas and suggestions afterwards. Some of the opportunities/needs that exist are:

  • Keep School Board members informed of arts activities, invite them to arts events, solicit their support of the arts plan, as they will make decisions for direct funding towards arts-related classes.
  • Give our Superintendent the opportunity to feel “ownership” of our arts plan.
  • Keep Jeanie Cash, the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, informed of our work and keep her an active participant in our work.
  • School Counselors/Advisors need to be informed of the importance of a creative background for our students, and share that with parents.
  • Principals should be praised for their support of their art programs, and encouraged to recognize the programs whenever possible.
  • Teachers should receive support for their efforts, as their hands are often “tied”, and parents/community members can make a huge difference if they choose to advocate for their students.
  • Credentialed Specialists should provide specific workshops to be available to all teachers, and staff development for content instruction and technology understanding and implementation.
  • Parents should be educated on the benefits of Arts in Education. A brochure could be produced that contains specific information about the programs that the schools offer. Parents should be encouraged to develop yearly arts showcases at every school. PTAs are a good way to get committed parents on board.
  • Students should be encouraged to participate in events and programs, and communicate their support through facebook and twitter accounts. Credentialed specialists could supply advocacy message to them to share with friends via social networking. Older students could mentor younger students in the K-8 grades. It would also make a big impact to have students speak at the school board meetings to share how their lives have been transformed by the Arts.
  • Local businesses should be contacted to solicit their support and that can begin with informing them how our community can be transformed if the arts are part of our daily lives.
  • Our community can become more informed if we could arrange for an Arts in Education column to appear in our local newspapers that includes current school district arts-related events, resources that are available, and an explanation as to how to become involved.