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!

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?

May 13, 2013

As elementary schools across the state work to address lagging math proficiency, a school in Pasadena is having success using arts to teach third graders addition, subtraction and long division. Two advocacy organizations are working to ensure that all public schools, especially in economically disadvantaged communities, have access to effective arts education strategies. A new policy paper from the California Alliance for Arts Education and Arts for LA offers a road map for schools and districts across the state and across the country to use arts education strategies to improve literacy and math skills within the Title 1 program and improve educational outcomes for low-income students.

April 30, 2013

April is a popular month for performing arts festivals and competitions.  LAUSD was well represented at the local, regional, state, and national levels.  Here are some of the top recognitions garnered by Los Al performing artists:

At the prestigious Reno Jazz Festival, McAuliffe Middle School received 2nd and 3rd place honors, and LAHS Jazz I placed 2nd in their respective divisions.  Oak Middle School was awarded outstanding rhythm section and a scholarship to drummer Liam Reece at the renowned Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival.  

The Los Al Dance Team placed 2nd and 3rd at Tremaine Convention & Competition in Los Angeles.

Four students from McAuliffe Choir were part of the Southern California Vocal Association Honor Choir, which performed in Los Angeles:  Duke Ketcham, Annie Wang, Alexis Luyben, and Gillian Kass.  Oak Choirs placed 1st & 3rd in Placentia.  LAHS Choirs received 1st and 2nd place awards in Burbank and at national show choir competitions in Orlando and Chicago.  They were crowned Grand Champions in Orlando.  Nicole Barker, Tailynn Carlton, and Chance Perez were recognized for their solos. 

Los Al Drama presented an original play, "A Chance of Color", which was well received.

McGaugh Elementary School presented its 31st annual Pageant of the Arts, adding a new work by Australian Aboriginal artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye.  

Each of these events is the culmination of countless hours of effort by students, parents, classroom teachers, private instructors, booster clubs, school administrators, school board, and others.  The experiences and lessons learned - including discipline, teamwork, perseverence, cooperation, time management and imagination - will likely last a lifetime.

March 25, 2013

LAUSD Superintendent Dr. Sherry Kropp has announced that LAHS choir director David Moellenkamp has been named as a 2013 Outstanding Arts Educator by the Orange County Music and Arts Administrators. OCMAA is a part of the Orange County Department of Education and is a network of district leaders, community arts educators, business, and parents.

Mr. Moellenkamp was awarded this prestigious honor for his ongoing efforts as an arts educator who makes a difference in the lives of students. He was specifically cited for his creative, innovative, and effective instructional strategies that have resulted in his choir groups winning numerous awards and national recognition, demonstrating his commitment to excellence in learning both in and through the arts.