Request for Qualifications: Los Angeles County School-Based Healing-Informed Arts Education Evaluation

Through this RFQ, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission seeks to identify a research consultant to conduct a program evaluation that will help improve a school-based healing-informed arts education program administered by the LA County Arts Commission in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

Completion date for this project is December 31, 2019.


The consultant will undertake all of the following:

  1. Design and implement an evaluation plan that includes the following:
    1. Identification of key baseline measures in consultation with the partners outlined in number 2 below.
    2. Compilation of detailed information from multiple sources, including interviews with teachers, administrators, social service providers, and other community partners
    3. Use of reliable and valid measures for risk and protective factors used by the county’s Department of Mental Health (DMH) and other agencies
  2. Collaborate with LA County’s Arts Commission (LACAC), Department of Mental Health (DMH), Education Coordinating Council (ECC), and the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN)
  3. Provide informal feedback as a member of the planning team throughout the process, including monthly progress reports with feedback and recommendations on how to improve the program
  4. Provide a final report that complies with California Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) regulations


Not to exceed $75,000


The ideal consultant(s), which may be a firm or team, will have

  1. Established knowledge and experience of Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) practices and/or program evaluation
  2. Knowledge of mental health and youth development, particularly for vulnerable populations
  3. Knowledge of risk and protective factors, preferably as they apply to teens and/or students in a K-12 public school setting
  4. Expertise in participant observation, interviews, and development of pre and post assessments
  5. Experience with arts education programs
  6. Demonstrated capacity to complete the tasks provided in the timeframe provided
  7. A commitment to providing exceptional customer service


Please submit all the following items:

  • Up to three page description of how you would approach this evaluation
  • Summary of qualifications, up to five pages, including a bibliography of any work published
  • Three work samples


Application materials must be submitted Tuesday, May 21, 2019 by 5:00 p.m., PDT. Any application materials received after the date and time specified above may be rejected and considered non-responsive.

Please submit materials to:

Email: Matt Agustin, Research Associate, OR

Mail: Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Attn: Matt Agustin, Research Associate
1055 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Questions? Email Matt Agustin,

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission fosters excellence, diversity, vitality, understanding and accessibility of the arts in Los Angeles County, encompassing 88 municipalities and 137 unincorporated areas, and provides leadership in cultural services. The Arts Commission funds nonprofit arts organizations and school districts, runs the largest arts internship program in the country, coordinates the LA County Arts Education Collective, manages the County’s civic art policy, and produces free community programs.

The LACAC, ECC, and AIYN are partnering with the DMH to use the arts as a strategy for fostering communities of wellness within selected public schools. This model will build the capacity of school personnel and their community partners to provide healing-informed, integrated arts instruction that represents multiple arts disciplines such as dance, music, theatre, visual arts and creative writing. The term School-Based Healing-Informed Arts Education represents an evolution that begins with establishing a school culture grounded in the practices of trauma-informed care. This project will provide arts-based student instruction, professional development and community building activities to engage faculty and others in cultivating students’ resilience and build their capacity to navigate school by finding recuperative joy in their academic experiences. This work constitutes a systems change effort in which healing-informed school campuses serve as models within their school districts.

The project will initially serve high schools with a high number of foster, probation, and at-risk youth, thereby enabling the County to provide healing-informed arts instruction to students who historically have had barriers to access and participation in the arts. The goal of the School-Based Healing-Informed Arts Education project is to embed healing-informed arts practices into in-school and after-school instruction, offering learning opportunities for both youth and school staff. The project will also engage local networks of mental health providers, clinicians, community artists, arts organizations, teachers, and other stakeholders in helping build a healing-informed care network, both within and around the participating schools, to ensure sustainability over time and provide concrete supports for youth and their families.

The evaluation should help answer the following questions:

  • Can integrated arts instruction increase the use of risk and protective factors among teachers for vulnerable populations in K-12 education?
  • How can implementation of the school-based healing-informed arts education program be improved?

Evaluation Approaches for this Project:

  • Data will be collected anonymously
  • Evaluator will compare pre and post data
  • Outcomes will be measured at the teacher or school level
  • In addition to observation of teachers, data will be collected from students and aggregated to the teacher level
  • If possible, the evaluator should identify matched pairs of intervention and control schools for comparison purposes
  • Because this project involves working in public schools with vulnerable populations, the full evaluation plan will be submitted to an Institutional Review Board for review

  • Proposals will be judged on the relevance of the principals’ qualifications and experience, quality of the proposed approach, ability to commit to the timeline, and cost efficiency.
  • Proposals will be reviewed by staff from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

  • Late applications may not be considered.
  • The Arts Commission reserves the right to accept or reject any and all responses received, or hire a vendor through another process.
  • This request for qualifications does not constitute an offer to contract or a promise for remuneration, recognition, or any other thing. Submission of any materials in response to this request for proposals will not constitute an express or implied contract. The information contained and/or any program or event described herein may be changed, amended, modified, canceled, revoked or abandoned without notice at any time and for any reason in the sole discretion of the Arts Commission or the County of Los Angeles.
  • When a consultant is selected, the consultant will be required to enter into a contract with the County of Los Angeles.   

How will control groups be determined?
The Arts Commission is open to suggestions regarding the final design of the control groups.

Is the program designed and implemented?
This program is currently in the planning phase with implementation taking place in the fall.

Will this work inform the design, implementation and evaluation/continuous improvement?
Yes, the work of this evaluation is meant to inform future school-based healing-informed arts education in public schools.

Do you already have tools to measure this kind of data?
The evaluator may coordinate with Department of Mental Health and the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network to explore the types of tools that been used in other projects.

Has this program already been implemented in schools or is this a new pilot intervention? It’s noted your interest in matched pairs of intervention and control schools - how critical do you see that piece given the time-frame and formative nature of the work?
This is a new program that we are field testing, though it builds on our work with providing arts instruction in juvenile justice facilities. Considering structure of the intervention and time available, we believe matched pairs to be the best way to create a control group, though we are open to other suggestions. That said, creation of a control group is not a requirement for this evaluation.

In what ways do you envision the evaluation team engaging with the various stakeholders (DMH, ECC, AIYN)?
The Arts Commission meets regularly with these stakeholders and will continue to be the main point of contact with them on this project. We expect the evaluation team to work with evaluators from our partner agencies in design and implementation.

How many schools are or will be participating in the program? Are all the schools located in one school district or multiple?
This project will be delivered in four to five school districts, one per Supervisorial District. Each school district will select one to two schools to receive services. A total of 5 schools will participate. Each school site will include approximately 20 adults and 100 youth. There will be one arts provider contracted to manage arts engagement across the participating schools.

Are you looking for peer-reviewed publications or reports and publications prepared for a broader audience?
We are looking for published work that demonstrates the knowledge and skills required to successfully design and implement an evaluation of programs involving vulnerable youth populations and/or mental health and related issues, whether peer-reviewed academic work or intended for a wider audience. This includes but is not limited to, demonstrated understanding of concerns about protection of human subjects and the data that would be collected as part of this evaluation.

Are the schools selected utilizing a whole-school model?
This intervention is directed at specific instructors and other adults (e.g., social workers, parole officers) serving a subset of students within a school.