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From Assessment to Arts Plan in Napa County

At this year’s Local Advocacy Retreat, local organizer Robin Hampton presented a breakout session featuring a case study of a countywide assessment of arts offerings, done by the Napa County Alliance for Arts Education - a local coalition made up of the Arts Council Napa Valley, the Napa County Office of Education, and over 50 Napa County educators, arts organizations, nonprofits, and community leaders.

The group’s extensive 360 Degree Assessment of arts education in Napa County aimed to identify the current landscape in relation to arts education assets the county already had, and also what it needed. 

The Making of the Animated Video: Interview with Nevada Lane

The first installment of our Student Voices Visionary features Nevada Lane, whose drawing are featured in the animated Student Voices Intro video. We spoke to her by phone and asked about her vision for schools, what creativity means to her, and what it was like to draw with a camera recording her every move! 
 
What is creativity? Can you give an example of creativity in someone you know?  (It could be a friend, a relative, a public figure, or you)
 
Nevada: I’m going to take a different slant on it. We often think of creativity in the arts, and I think that’s beautiful and wonderful.  But what’s under recognized is the creativity people have when working with other people and how they’re able to create something out of bringing people together around collaborating and achieving a common outcome.  
 
For a practical example – young activists who can create networks of people and bring people together to have a conversation about and tackle issues like climate change, or gun control laws.  It’s a beautiful form of creativity that we don’t often think about.

CTC Reviewing New Teaching Performance Expectations

By Joe Landon
 
Earlier this year, the California Alliance for Arts Education submitted a policy brief, authored by Dr. Merryl Goldberg of California State University, San Marcos, which highlighted the role and value of arts integration in student learning, to be considered by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in revising current Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs). TPEs are the foundation of what all licensed teachers should know and be able to demonstrate, and they provide an important basis for teacher preparation program curriculum and fieldwork experiences.

New Policy Paper on the Arts and Equity

By Joe Landon
 
The Alliance has released a new policy paper titled “At the Crossroads of the Arts and Equity.” The paper underscores the Alliance’s commitment to its goal of every California student receiving access to high-quality arts education. That commitment has informed our efforts to promote Title I funds being used for arts education strategies to support Title I goals, our focus on arts education as an effective strategy within the goals of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), and our work to articulate and promote arts integration throughout the curriculum. 

What Works in Letters to Elected Officials

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 school she saw broken and deteriorating facilities, and wished her child could have something better. She asked for an investment in schools because she cared about her son’s education, and knew more funding would help. 

This woman used a basic form letter for the bulk of her message, but she also took the time to tell her story—and it made a world of difference. 
You don’t have to write a three-part saga to create an effective letter. Here are three easy things you can do to make sure your message packs the most punch: 

Get the Student Voices Classroom Guide

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 use California Social Studies Standards and National Core Media Arts Standards to structure the process, outcomes and assessment; other Arts and Common Core Standards will also be referenced as appropriate.
 
PILOT THE GUIDE IN YOUR CLASSROOM: Download our flyer with more details. 
 
GET THE GUIDE: To get an electronic copy of the guide when it's ready, please click here.
 
QUESTIONS: contact us
 
 

Anaheim: Arts Education & Student Success Go Hand in Hand

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, Field Manager for the Local Advocacy Network and Program Director for CREATE CA offered the following suggestions:

Mission Possible: Napa County Alliance for Arts Education

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.

Your District Superintendent: A Key Ally for Arts Education

"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

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.

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