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 Mapes at jmapes@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.

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