Advocacy & Leadership

Arts Brochure - on Arts Site

Advocacy-oriented administration and leadership is essential to implement system-wide mechanisms to focus all stakeholders on the diverse visual and performing arts needs and assets of each specific group of students. These administrative and leadership systems structure, organize, coordinate, and integrate visual and performing arts programs and services to respond systemically to the needs and strengths of each group of students.

In many districts and schools, study of the arts is considered the responsibility of the arts teachers, or the visual and performing arts program. To create districts and schools that embrace and support the arts well, the entire school community has to feel and enact ownership of an arts education for every child, in every school, every day, and proactively work towards eliminating the arts deficit that occurs in most districts today. Rather than being served in “pull-out” programs or in 30-minute “add-ons,” the arts are taught as discrete disciplines related to each other and when appropriate to other subject areas in the curriculum. In the elementary grades, arts are taught in an integrated fashion as an important aspect of other core curriculum disciplines. This requires strong advocacy-oriented leadership from district superintendents to site-based principals that makes it clear that arts learning is important for all students and that all students are guaranteed access to a rich, comprehensive, and meaningful standards-based arts curriculum.

District and site administrators, counselors and other support staff, visual and performing arts coordinators and teacher, parent, school board, and student leaders work together as a district-wide arts team to develop a policy for arts education. This advocacy team additionally builds broad-based support through in-depth strategic planning that yields results in professional development, standards-based curriculum, quality instruction and methodology, partnerships and collaborations, sustained arts funding, resources and facilities, program evaluation and student assessment. School and district administrative systems need to effectively address issues of data, communication, accountability, and equity relative to their arts programs, as well as leverage and maximize existing arts resources to create sustainable arts programs.

Advocacy-oriented leadership realizes that to achieve the emerging statewide vision of arts learning for every student, every day, in every school, requires the ongoing expansion of our community of arts education supporters. A common unity must be developed among arts education colleagues, friends, and allies. This involves providing arts leadership that models, inspires, and facilitates relationship building, trust, and mutual support—qualities required for long-term social change. Finally, advocacy-oriented leadership requires celebrating successes and struggles. It is important to engage in public ceremonies that acknowledge who the students are, what they contribute, and what they have the potential to become relative to the arts. Through the celebratory process, new arts visions and possibilities are created that move schools from a deficit, behavioristic way of thinking, doing and being, to a more asset-based and culturally and linguistically responsive approach, which is what students and families need, want, and deserve.


Be a Leader for Arts Education

This leader’s guide was produced by CCSESA and the California State PTA and builds on the premise that the arts are essential for student engagement, learning and creative expression and play a vital role in the educational development of students.

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Counties on the Move Toward Arts Education for All Students

The CCSESA Arts Initiative is collaborating and partnering with other education and nonprofit organizations at all levels to tie arts education firmly into the core curriculum. This publication is a celebration of progress in improving and increasing arts education throughout the State of California through the 58 county offices of education.

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Advocacy Toolkit for K-12 Arts Education in California Schools

This web based toolkit provides a wealth of resources to assist county offices and school districts in advocating for arts education. The toolkit includes video testimonials, articles, research studies, and practical advocacy-related information that educators can easily use and adapt.

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