District Spotlights

Welcome to CCSESA Arts Initiative SPOTLIGHTS of districts from across the state who are incorporating the arts into the curriculum. Regional Arts Leads submitted district snapshots with examples of how educators are providing arts education to their students. Click on the map to see the districts featured. Would you like to submit a snapshot of your district? We hope to grow our map so that we include examples from all counties in California. If you are interested, contact Jessica Kroll Yoas at jyoas@ccsesa.org for more information.

A.C.T.O.S. in Action! Digital Media Broadcasting: 3rd Grade Dual Language Academy

This is a story about the third grade dual language classroom teachers learning to utilize video news broadcasts to enhance their classrooms academic learning model while creating new meaning to historical text. This takes place at the Hollister Dual Language Academy in Hollister Unified School District.  It is important because building media literacy prepares our students for higher education as well as productive members of their communities as well as society. This will also provide a model for building sustainable media arts programs that do not require special program administration but build capacity on campus for continued implementation. The program’s success has been led utilizing the arts integration pedagogy known as A.C.T.O.S, which provides guidance for building intrinsic motivated student led learning environments. This approach is also built on immersive learning environments, which provides engaging visual hands-on lessons geared toward our Dual Language Learners.

Rural Elementary School Includes Arts in their LCAP

Thermalito Elementary School District is a rural district in Northern California located on the outskirts of the city of Oroville. As a result of parent interest, funding for the arts found its way into the districts’ LCAP budget. This allowed the district to hire two new VAPA teachers, Visual Arts teacher Rebecca Harvey who started in 2016/17 and Music teacher Gregory Grant who started in 2018/19. Due to the special qualifications of the teachers together with the grade range they teach, the program has the potential to serve as a model in vertical integration of arts education from elementary through high school. The anticipated improved student learning in the arts should be evident in three or four years. The story of these district art teachers warrants a promising best practices spotlight.

Dance Collaborative Pipeline at Fontana Unified School District

This is story about a Title 1 urban school with a high number of minority students and a dance teacher who believes dance is for everyone.  This story is important because across the nation our poorest students are frequently the most deprived of arts education.  This is a story about a district and a high school who has committed to supporting dance education in sustainable and valuable ways.  Fontana Unified School District supports the Dance Collaborative Pipeline which provides dance education for students in A. B. Miller feeder schools grades PK-8.

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

Founded in 1985, the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) is an award-winning, tuition-free public high school for grades 9-12. LACHSA offers a specialized program combining college-preparatory academic instruction and conservatory-style training in the visual and performing arts. Located on the California State University, Los Angeles campus, LACHSA is operated by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) and is recognized as one of the premier arts high schools in the nation.

HLPUSD’s Art Journey: From the Ripple of an Arts Pebble to a Tidal Wave Masterpiece

In the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Department, our motto for the arts for the past four years, from 2014-2018, has been, “Let’s give ‘em something to talk about!” This is a snapshot of our journey about how the current HLPUSD VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts) Vision came to fruition. It is important because this level of progress can be replicated and sustained in any district that makes the arts a priority for student achievement and student connection to their school and life. In addition, the arts truly impact the social, emotional learning of each student, allowing them to express themselves and be inventive innovators. Art also enables students to understand the perspective or talents of another creative, thereby helping them to see the world in diverse ways.

A.C.T.O.S in Action! Luis Valdez Leadership Academy 9th – 12th Grade

This is a story about a charter high school on the East Side of San Jose, CA and how they committed to administering A.C.T.O.S. Media Arts program to every student with the hopes of having a specific impact on public speaking, school wide participation and student engagement.

It is important because the local community suffers from major gaps in digital access as well as producing graduates that are prepared for the media skill requirements of higher education.

A.C.T.O.S in Action! Digital Media Arts 3rd -12th Grade

This is a story about an elementary school in the heart of the Central Coast Valley that embarks on a three-year journey to implement and sustain its own successful media arts program.

It is important because building media literacy prepares our students for pathways to higher education as well as providing the inspiration and encouragement necessary to become productive members of their communities. Students have shown an increase in communication amongst peers and have demonstrated higher confidence within collaborative environments, a skill highly utilized in today’s innovative work environments. This program also provided a model for building sustainable media arts programming in several rural school districts that are dedicated to bridging the digital divide in their communities. The A.C.T.O.S in Action program model was designed to build a self sustaining program capacity while reinforcing a digital media arts presence on campus.

West Palms Conservatory – Arts at the Center of Instruction

West Palms Conservatory, a 2018 California Distinguished School was founded on a simple question: “What if the arts, rather than being considered a luxury or something “extra,” served as the center of instruction?” From this foundation in 2007, West Palms staff created a school that fostering creative thinking, goal-setting and achievement through the exploration of music, language and art.” While arts centered, West Palms operates from a well-defined strategic planning process that not only provides visual and performing arts education to a diverse student population, but also uses data from multiple sources to measure academic progress and drive instruction.

San Diego JCCS and David’s Harp Foundation

This is a story about untapped potential. Jerry is a 16-year-old African-American male who was referred to The David’s Harp Foundation (DHF)  by our partner in the foster care system, Voices for Children.  When Jerry first arrived at the DHF’s state-of-the-art recording studio for underserved youth, he had just been released Juvenile Hall after having verbally assaulted a prosecutor during a probation hearing.  He was making F’s and D’s in school and was constantly in trouble at his foster group home.  Jerry entered the DHF electronic music production program that allows youth to trade their good grades and behaviors for studio time in December 2017 and behaviors improved drastically in only 12 weeks.

A Valuable Partnership with La Jolla Playhouse

Each year our students at Ocean Beach Elementary are delighted, entertained and challenged by the La Jolla Playhouse POP Tour Play.  The POP Tour plays an important role in our curriculum, it portrays contemporary issues of the day in a very accessible and enjoyable format that cannot be emulated effectively with more traditional teaching methods.  Ocean Beach Elementary (OBE) has been a partner with the La Jolla Playhouse for four years.

Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) believes that Every Child is an Individual of Great Worth

Name of Regional Arts Lead: Pauline Crooks School/District that you are spotlighting: Chula Vista Elementary School District Address: 84 East J Street Chula Vista, CA 91910 County: San Diego Name of District Contact:619-425-9600 ext. 1560

Arts Integration: Students Explore the Importance of Protecting Marine Life

This is a story about how a teacher, Mrs. Jacqueline Corcoran, uses art to educate and inspire students at RJ Frank Middle School.  A key goal is to act in the protection of our Marine Life. It’s important because the arts needs to be seen as meaningful. Students need to know that art is a form of expression as well as an important tool for change.  

Rock Band Club at Apollo Continuation High School

This is a story about the implementation of an afterschool “Rock Band Club” at Apollo Continuation High School in Simi Valley, CA”
It’s important because . . .
When students are exposed to music–learning an instrument, making music with each other–they begin the shift away from isolation, connect to their emotions and each other and continue the journey of self-discovery.
This matters because research has shown us that when high-risk students are connected to their school and develop a sense of pride, they are much more likely to have greater success in life.

Music Enables Every Child to Speak the Same Language

To create beautiful music in rural Madera County, it took the vision of one teacher and the enthusiasm of countless students. This is the story of the Howard Elementary School Music program.

Arts Education Changes Climate at Glick Middle School

This is a story about how a principal with a vision motivated teachers and students to use arts education to change the climate of a middle school campus. This story is important because it highlights how a community can come together with a singular purpose and vision to deliver amazing result for students.

Visionary Principal Leads Arts Integration at Freemont/Lopez Elementary

It would be easy to say this is a story about a phenomenal principal who does incredible things for his students, but this story is about more than that. This is a story about how the passion and dedication of one person motivated an entire campus of people to utilize the arts to work towards a common goal of improving student behavior, academic performance, engagement, and social-emotional learning. This story is important because not only should the tremendous grit, determination, and devotion of the people involved be celebrated, but the process of how they achieved their goals is vital in understanding their model of successful and meaningful arts integration.

Inspiring Principal Brings Arts Alive at Eisnut Elementary School

This is a story about how one principal is utilizing straight-forward plans for the inclusion of arts learning, alongside strong leadership to demonstrate how arts learning leads to positive changes for school culture, student engagement, and student social-emotional learning. It is important because it demonstrates how a school does not need large funds or complicated plans to successfully integrate art into the school environment. Principal Trish Anderson of Eisenhut Elementary School uses art integration professional development, visiting artists, and the Eisenhut school community to bring arts alive on her campus.

Inspire School of Arts and Sciences

Inspire School of Arts & Sciences is unique in this area. Founded in 2010 it is the only public charter school in the county and the entire region that provides a college prep education that intersects the arts and sciences. Inspire’s Best Practice that warrants spotlighting is its Advisory Program. The program touches each student from Freshman through Senior year and beyond the classroom. It supports the successful implementation of arts education at Inspire and also generates positive outcomes for all facets of the school.

Music Flourishes at Ridgewood School in Humboldt County

This is a story about . . .the tail not wagging the dog It’s important because . . .students really learn foundations before being required to perform. Key components to the successful implementation of arts education at Ridgewood School are: A certificated music teacher with a strong background in Orff-Schulwerk sees each class 30 minutes per week. They work on standards-based lessons and get a solid foundation in music.

Renaissance in Arts Education: Burbank USD’s Story

The Burbank Unified School District has been experiencing a renaissance in arts education since first joining the Los Angeles County Arts for All Initiative in 2003. Through strategic planning, community engagement, a shared vision (and definition) of equal access, we have improved access to sequential, standards based arts learning for all kindergarten through grade 12 students.

On the Fringes of the Mojave Desert

On the fringes of the Mojave Desert, in the town of Apple Valley, educators, administrators, board members and counselors are working hard to bring back high-quality arts education wedded with career readiness. This story is about a group of dedicated individuals who are working on creating a 21st century CTE (Career Technical Education) Performing Arts Pathway. The Granite Recording & Entertainment Arts Training (GREAT) Academy. Arts education is essential because the arts develop critical thinking skills, innovation, and the value of humanity.

Musical Show Production and Advanced Musical Theater

Musical Show Production and Advanced Musical Theater allow students to participate in all elements of theater
production while taking on leadership roles. They have complete creative control and a sense of ownership of a
production that they write, produce, advertise, choreograph, direct, and perform. Students can blossom as leaders and
show off their creative strengths in a number of areas. One student summed up our program best when she said, “you
learn important life skills, such as leadership, perseverance, and teamwork, since you’re all working together for the
same goal.”

Bringing the Community Together through Theatre

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, but at Weaver Union School District in the heart of Central California, it has taken a community to bring the arts to life. This is a story about the birth of the Weaver drama club and the volunteers who have made it successful through the years.

How do you grow public will for arts in the schools?

Synopsis How do you grow public will for arts in the schools? By taking the art to the streets! At the Tulare City School District, in Tulare County, art teachers April Books and Amy Smith are showcasing their students’ work by turning local businesses into mini art galleries. Time frame Since 1989, Tulare City School…

Palmdale School District: Art-Centered Literacy Support for K-8

This is a story about a rural K-8 school district that is making an effort to put in place a plan of action that will bring the arts to all of the schools in their district.

Art-centered Education in Court and Community Schools

This is a story about educators and administrators who work in the Contra Costa County Court and Community School system. It’s important because they have spent multiple years building their capacity to bring more art-centered education to the students they serve. Key components to the successful implementation of arts education at Golden Gate Community Schools (GGCS) are intensive professional learning, follow-up coaching support, and dedicated time to plan.

Whole School Transformation Through the Arts in An Urban Context

In 2014 the Alameda County Office of Education began planning and implementing the School Transformation Through the Arts (STTAarts) project with funding from the US Department of Education’s Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant. The first two years (2014-16) of the grant focused on getting every educator and administrator through the 90 hours of professional development of the Integrated Learning Specialist Program. During the last two years (2016-18) of this four-year project, extensive onsite coaching and professional learning was provided for educators and both schools.

Link Up

The Twin Rivers Unified School District (TRUSD) is an urban school district that has made art education a priority for all students by requiring art education be a part of their required curriculum.

San Juan Unified Instrument Loan Program

Synopsis The core intention of Arts education in San Juan Unified School District is to teach all students the essential elements of the visual and performing arts through standards-based classroom instruction, guided practice, and performance. Students learn by example and are encouraged and inspired to develop their imaginations and conceptual thought processes, and to continue…

Sacramento Arts Education Consortium

The newly formed Sacramento Arts Education Consortium is a county wide consortium that will assist with the implementation of art education in all districts in the capital region. The consortium is comprised of several partners that are part of the local art community, have art education as a component of their work and through their work contribute to art education in school districts.

Special Education and Visual Art

Jennifer Alexander’s teaching practice effectively integrates Special Education and Visual Art in a middle school classroom. Her ability to encourage students to engage with their artist/creator selves while teaching them technical skills in visual arts and increasing their visual literacy merits a spotlight.

Native Tongues and Culture

Native tongues and culture are dying out. It is imperative that we keep this alive for future generations. Why does it matter? America did wrong by our Native peoples, attempting to erase them from the narrative. We must do everything we can to preserve their heritage.

Zane’s STEAM Play

Zane’s STEAM play is an integrative, memorable, and visible way to showcase student learning. Students collaborate on all aspects: script, art, costumes.

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