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Webinar: Creative Ways to Connect with your School Board

Creative Ways to Connect with Your School Board is a webinar offering concrete ways to build relationships with school board members and promote arts education in your local school district. Created by the California Alliance for Arts Education and the California State PTA, it features strategies for elevator speeches, school board presentations and an array of other ways to connect with school board members. View an archive of this one-hour event here (please note presentation begins at :30). 

With the budget process underway, there are critical decisions ahead about if and how arts education will be funded. The Governor’s budget proposal, released last week, gives local districts greater flexibility and autonomy in how they use state funds, putting more decisions in the hands of local school boards, with fewer state restrictions and requirements. The Governor’s budget also eliminates some categorical funding, which could shift money away from what was previously reserved to support arts education programs.  Watch the archive here. (please note presentation begins at :30). 

Alliance Launches 5 Local Coalitions through Arts Council Partnership

As a result of a new partnership with the California Arts Council, this fall local arts councils in Amador, Fresno, Mendocino, Placer and Santa Cruz joined the Alliance’s Local Advocacy Network.

The program empowers local communities to keep arts programs in schools by providing the strategic assistance, leadership development and communication tools. Since its launch four years ago, the network has helped local advocates build strong relationships with their local school boards, participate in the creation of a district arts plan and earn media coverage and broad support for arts education.

The five local councils support from bring a wealth of experience and a strong commitment to this work. Each one hosts a breakfast event for community leaders to gather and unify local support for arts education. Read about the recent launch in Amador County. 

Adobe On Why Creativity Skills are an Important Part of a Well-rounded Education

By Jon Perera, Vice President, Adobe Education 
 
Adobe has always believed that creativity fosters success, empowers us, and differentiates us, whether in everyday life, the workplace or school. It also seemed, however, that as a society, we often take creativity for granted. To gain a better understanding of the cultural and economic impact of creativity, Adobe commissioned a survey earlier this year. The study delved into perspectives on creativity among 5000 adults – 1000 each in countries that represent five of the world’s largest economies - the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan.  
 
The State of Create benchmark study examined global attitudes, behaviors and perceptions on the topic. The results were striking. The study revealed a global creativity gap -- the universal concern that creativity is suffering at work and school. Around the globe, 8 in 10 people feel that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth. Nearly two-thirds feel creativity is valuable to society. Yet a striking minority – only 1 in 4 people – believes they are living up to their own creative potential. Additionally, many believe creativity is taken for granted (52% globally, 70% in the United States) and more than half of those surveyed feel that creativity is being stifled by their education systems.

I was shopping at Costco when I saw a school board member right there in my path.


From Costco to the Curriculum Advisory Committee – Elevator Speeches that Work

By Cathy Dagostino-Hamilton, Local Organizer for the Escondido Alliance for Arts Education

The Challenge: How do you build relationships with school board members in your community? 

Strategy: A little bit of nerve and a well-prepared elevator speech

Story: When I started working with the Alliance’s Local Advocacy Network I was a concerned, resourceful mom with a strong belief in the value of the arts. I had seen first hand how they had helped my daughter connect and learn at school and read research that backed up my experience. But I didn’t have relationships with local school board members who made the funding decisions about arts programs – how could I get my message across? 

Get to know your school board members

You may find they or one of them may live in your own neighborhood. That happens to be the case for me and once I realized that, I began to notice her around our local area, walking, shopping, and at community events. Don’t be a stalker! I do not follow her around! I just take opportunities as they are presented. As it happened, I didn’t have to wait long. I was shopping at Costco when I saw a school board member right there in my path.

Advocates in Fresno Give Fundraising a Good Name

The Challenge: Finding a concrete way to get business leaders involved in arts education advocacy.

The Strategy: Ask them to sponsor a wall to display student artwork in a community gallery. 

The Story: When Elva Rodriguez launched an arts education advocacy group in Central Unified Fresno, she already had good, solid relationships with local businesses. She had been involved with the Rotary club as well as the school district. But, she wondered how she could create a tangible way for businesses to support arts education in the community. 

Her team came up with a concrete idea. They asked the Rotary Club to sponsor and name a wall in one of the galleries at Arte Américas, a community cultural center. The wall will be devoted to displaying student artwork. 

Eight OC School Districts Receive Grants to Fund Arts Plans

The Orange County Arts Education Collaborative Fund—a collaboration between the Orange County Community Foundation and Arts Orange County—recently presented grants totaling $66,000 to 8 Orange County (OC) School Districts. Grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 were made possible by funding from The Boeing Company and the Orange County Community Foundation.

News from the Local Advocacy Network: Placentia Yorba Linda

The Challenge: How do you garner support for a far-reaching arts plan in tough financial times? 

The Strategy: Partnership and patience. But not too much patience. 
 
The Story: Adopting a district arts plan is a great way to build community support for a long-term commitment to arts education in schools. But given the state of public school funding in California, it’s understandable that district officials would be cautious about agreeing to a plan with long-term financial implications. 
 
Sandee Van Oyen, the Local Organizer for the Placentia Yorba Linda Alliance for Arts Education, who spearheaded the effort says she was lucky to find strong commitment to the arts in the school board, district staff and County Department of Education -- and patience. 
 
“Without the support and partnership of staff within the district office we could not have pulled this off,” says Van Oyen “It took months and months of meetings and carefully going over the details of the Arts Advantage plan so that everyone could understand and become comfortable with the fiscal impact. A lot of patience was required on everyone’s part.”
 

Sonoma and Beyond with Karin Demarest

When the Local Advocacy Network was getting off the ground, Karin Demarest brought a passion for the arts, combined with a commitment to public education and forged a successful alliance within her community in Sonoma County.

Over the past three years she has expanded her understanding of what it means to support local advocacy as the Program Coordinator for the LAN network. She's been in the trenches and a relentless leader for our local organizers. Her wisdom and dedication has left its mark on our advocacy work.

We wish her all the best as she departs to become a program officer for the Community Education Foundation in Sonoma County. 

Thank you, Karin! 

 

Local Advocacy in Stanislaus: Getting Parents Involved

The Challenge: How do you connect with parents across a large, rural county with twenty-three separate school districts?

The Strategy: Invite parents to an event featuring resources for advocacy and a free night of theater.

The Story: When the Stanislaus Alliance for Arts Education launched last fall, it was clear that parents were key to preserving or expanding arts education in Stanislaus schools.

“We saw right away that the districts that had arts programs were the ones where parents were involved -- through booster clubs, PTAs or education foundations,” says Patty Larrick, the local organizer for the Stanislaus Alliance. “Our challenge was to bring all these different groups together, in order to share best practices and coordinate efforts.” 

A Guide for Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What if you could help students create change? And what if there was an established program and a guide to help you through the process step by step?

Each year, the California Alliance for Arts Education hosts a Student Voices Campaign (SVC) that empowers students to communicate their creativity and passion for the arts with their elected officials. Students take part in a video advocacy campaign that offers them a real-world 

opportunity to author content, communicate creatively and practice civic engagement. This year, hundreds of students in 7 California counties created 59 videos for submission to their local school board. Students submitted their vision for change ranging from the need for arts education and updated computers, to securing safe bathrooms for transgender youth. Take a look at some of last year's videos here.

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.

To help facilitate this as a learning tool, we’ve worked with the California Arts Council to create a Student Voices Campaign Teacher’s Guide to teach the Student Voices Campaign as a classroom based project. Last year, teachers in middle and high school classrooms across California piloted the use of the guide. 
 
As a result, a record number of students took part in the 2016 Student Voices Campaign (link: ttp://www.studentvoicescampaign.org), generating persuasive two-minute videos that were sent to their respective local school boards, and impacting their district’s annual Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) planning process. The feedback were outstanding. 

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