April 27, 2020|

A Reflection During COVID-19 On The Importance of Arts Education Access

Maritza LopezMy name is Maritza Lopez, and I am a second-year transfer student at UCLA, pursuing a B.A. in Art History. I am interested in engaging arts in education geared towards individuals across different communities, whether they are currently incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, system impacted, homeless, or have had other experiences that might exclude them from access to the arts.

As a former member of the LA County Arts Ed Collective's Youth Advisory Council, I had the privilege of working alongside many unique individuals from different Los Angeles school districts. I had the chance to hear the personal narratives of those individuals and the impact the arts had on them. In my own life, the arts had a huge impact. When I was 12 years old, I took an elective class in middle school to rest my mind from barriers and challenges I faced. I was trying to understand where I belong as a first generation, system-impacted woman of color. I did not have many role models, in any area, but I especially had few guides in the arts. Because of my own positive experience with the arts, I hope to inspire and create the skills more accessible for all marginalized and underrepresented communities. In fact, one day I hope to work in art spaces and focus on arts in education throughout LA County.

I am currently involved with Bruin Underground Scholars and McKinney- Vento Scholars Program at UCLA. The Bruin Underground program fosters a prison-to-school pipeline by cultivating a healthy community and pathway for formerly incarcerated, and system impacted individuals to thrive in higher education. McKinney-Vento Scholars serve students who are once houseless, currently homeless, or are housing insecure. We aim to foster academic success among McKinney-Vento students by providing community, case management, and support with basic needs. I am involved in both programs because I get the chance to share my experience with students and many more individuals whose identities are similar to my own. I've learned that the challenges we all face are different, but that we can all remain hopeful when we build communities for one another.

I have a personal relationship with incarcerated youth – my sibling is serving time in prison. His experience is further impacted by the COVID-19 crisis we are currently facing. As a direct result of the pandemic, there has been less time to speak to my sibling on the phone, and there is less time for him to go to the prison yard, prison-canteen, and prison-store. He spends 22 hours inside a cell. We talk about lockdowns and social distancing, but for the past eight years, this has been a daily experience for my brother.

It’s important to educate others and acknowledge the issue of folks who are currently incarcerated. This pandemic has limited programs and resources nationwide in prisons, including resources that help individuals earn degrees and take courses, opportunities to meet with counselors, and access to programs in the arts. These arts programs should be accessible to youth around LA County, including those who are incarcerated, because the arts can and do change peoples’ lives. The arts help us create retention programs that can help individuals find passion, create experiences, find networks, and build career pathways—overall fostering a safe space for diverse individuals from all spectrums of life.

Art and creativity are always a part of my life, whether I am handling social media flyers, co-hosting events, building workshops, etc. I can use arts in a social justice-oriented manner, which helps my mind rest. Ten years after my first experience with the arts, I still have arts incorporated into my life, and I can still see it as a path forward.

March 11, 2020|

LA County Supervisors Adopt Goals of Plan Elevating Arts as Justice Reform Strategy

(Pictured Above)"Energy" by youth artists from Challenger Memorial Youth Center (Lancaster), in collaboration with artist Joseph Montalvo of the Armory Center for the Arts. Photo by Cam Sanders, courtesy of Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network.

LA County Board of Supervisors Adopts Goals of Plan Elevating Arts as a Justice Reform Strategy

Department of Arts and Culture plan advances Board commitment to create more rehabilitative, less punitive, justice system

The goals of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture’s Countywide Plan for Elevating the Arts as a Criminal Justice Reform Strategy were adopted yesterday by the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, furthering the transition of LA County’s justice system from a punishment-based model to one that embraces trauma-informed and healing-centered approaches. The new plan guides the development of countywide infrastructure that expands arts-based programs and services to those impacted—or at risk of becoming impacted—by the justice system. Its core components focus on prevention, community development, diversion, custodial care, and re-entry strategies. The plan directs the LA County Department of Arts and Culture (Department) and Chief Executive Office to assess resources for implementation.

Arts and culture have the power to promote positive narrative change and connect us to our humanity and the humanity of others, said Department of Arts and Culture Director Kristin Sakoda. By investing in justice-impacted youth, individuals, and communities as part of alternatives to incarceration, arts and culture can play a meaningful role in helping the County enhance our systems of care, and build safer, healthier, and more equitable communities.

Research shows us that the best outcomes for decreasing justice system involvement are achieved through individual and community development efforts, along with opportunities for job placement. These strategies also tend to be much more cost-effective than long-term custody and care, said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, lead author of the motion that directed the development of the plan. The Department of Arts and Culture has an ambitious strategy to not only help individuals re-enter society after their time in the justice system, but to prevent system involvement in the first place.

Arts-based strategies have already shown a wonderful ability to foster resiliency and positive self-images in young people, said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, co-author of the motion. As the County embraces more rehabilitative and trauma-informed practices in our juvenile system, we recognize that it’s important to incorporate innovative arts strategies. As the poet Thomas Merton wrote, 'Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.' Let the healing begin!

The arts also play a unique role in connection to community. In the criminal justice context, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals suffer additional trauma and isolation as a result of societal stigma. Engaging with arts bring forward the stories, experiences, and emotions of those affected by the justice system to be heard, felt, and embraced by the broader community.

Background
Starting in 2014, the Department of Arts and Culture (then the LA County Arts Commission) has partnered with community-based organizations, the Los Angeles County Probation Department, and other County agencies to pilot arts-based services for incarcerated and at-risk youth. This work expanded in 2018, when the agency was awarded a one-year, $750,000 grant from the Art for Justice Fund to build support for youth involved or at risk of becoming involved with the LA County juvenile justice system.

In our cross-sector collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture, our staff has been trained in arts-based interventions, and we have been able to bring transformation and access to creative career pathways to County juvenile facilities. We are incredibly proud of the work, said Department of Probation Interim Chief Probation Officer Ray Leyva.

In December 2018, Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl advanced a motion, Investing in Justice Involved Individuals Through the Arts, which called on the Department of Arts and Culture to create a Countywide plan to elevate the arts as a criminal justice reform strategy. The Department submitted the plan in September 2019. It advances the Department’s work even further—the new plan supports not just young people, but youth, families, and adults touched by County criminal justice systems. It sets out five goals, including establishing Countywide leadership and coordination of arts-based strategies; expanding prevention strategies; strengthening and sustaining support for justice-involved youth and their families; supporting justice-involved adults; and expanding external partnerships.

###
November 20, 2019|

Supporting Advocacy for Teacher Training:How LUSD Uses the Arts Ed Profile

The LA County Arts Ed Profile is a tool used by school districts, administrators, parents, arts partners and many other stakeholders to understand where arts instruction is happening in LA County public schools. It’s similar to the Arts Data Project that uses California Department of Education (CDE) data to build profiles of arts instruction in schools and districts, however it has a few important differences. The LA County Arts Ed Profile:

  • Includes K-8 statistics (the Arts Data Project covers secondary school only)
  • Includes arts partners that provide arts education
  • Incorporates discrete and integrated arts instruction data

Lynwood Unified School District (LUSD) is a K-12 district located just west of Downey and north of Compton. It encompasses 12 elementary schools, three middle schools, and three high schools. The district prioritizes arts education, and district administrators have found the Arts Ed Profile a valuable tool in helping them advocate for increased arts education. A member of LUSD since 2016, District Arts Coordinator Dr. Mariana Astorga-Almanza is one of the administrators who has used the Arts Ed Profile to great effect.

Mariana says the Arts Ed Profile helps:

  • Drill down on arts education offered by content area and grade level
  • Identify gaps in arts education, and provide a jumping off point for the district’s strategic planning process
  • Make informed decisions on what arts courses should be offered at each grade level each year, based on current student enrollment, and where to expand in upcoming years
  • Have data to leverage partnerships to build teacher capacity and develop integrative arts training for teachers
  • Support arts education pilots
  • Advocate for district support in hiring full-time arts teachers
  • Inform projects under consideration for the Arts Ed Collective Advancement Grant

For example, one pilot program supported by the Arts Ed Profile is a teacher training partnership with the Music Center. Three years ago, LUSD piloted this program Kindergarten level. The Music Center provided professional development and arts integration training for all Kindergarten teachers in the district, which resulted in all 1,000 Kindergarten students receiving music education. This pilot was expanded during the 2018-2019 school year to encompass first grade, and today serves 2,000 students. These pilot programs build existing teacher capacity for arts integration, while creating partnerships with arts partners. In turn, this strengthens the case for increasing the distribution of resources towards arts classes and ultimately, specialized, full-time arts teachers.

This is just one example of how schools and districts can use the data provided by the Arts Ed Profile to move their districts towards access to more resources for arts education. Curious how your school or district compares to others in LA County? Look them up in the Arts Ed Profile to see what arts education looks like for your students. Don't see your school, or not sure when your data was last updated? Email Matt Agustin, Research Associate, to find out.

September 11, 2019|

Innovating Arts Education In LA County

Thank you to the hundreds of residents who participated in community forums across LA County this past spring to impact the future of arts education. Your input makes a difference!

Over the past two decades, the local arts education landscape has shifted. Today, nearly 90% of public K-12 public schools in LA County offer some arts instruction to some students, some of the time. The notion that "schools don't teach the arts" is no longer true. What is true, is that youth of color, youth from low-income households, and English language learners not only receive less arts instruction in schools, they also receive lower quality arts instruction than their peers. Increasing access to the arts—and all of the cognitive and socio-emotional benefits they offer—means reaching youth people wherever they might be—in schools, in parks, in the community, or in the juvenile justice system, to name a few.

To that end, in Spring 2018, the LA County Board of Supervisors directed the LA County Department of Arts and Culture (Arts and Culture) to update the 2002 Arts for All: LA County Regional Blueprint for Arts Education in order to reflect the current priorities and educational landscape of LA County.

During spring and summer of this year, Arts and Culture solicited input from community members in ten forums that took place in neighborhoods that spanned the geographic breadth of the County. Through dialogue and visual arts activities, residents in areas as disparate as Santa Monica, Long Beach, Lancaster, and Pomona. explored key questions across four distinct focus areas: In-School Arts Education, Creative Career Pathways for Youth, Community-Based Arts Education, and County Government Programs and Services.

 

Data from these forums was combined with input collected at separate convenings of targeted stakeholder groups, which include representatives from County government, philanthropy, organizations working in justice reform, in the creative economy, and members of the Arts Ed Collective Youth Advisory Council.

Throughout the summer, an advisory group of diverse LA County arts education leaders, reviewed all data collected and put forward strategies to inform the updated Regional Plan. Later this fall, the plan will be presented to the LA County Board of Supervisors for adoption. The goal is that the new Regional Plan will serve as a roadmap for the field to directly address the current inequities in education and serve all youth in LA County.

Stay tuned for more updates, and check out our gallery of photos from the forums!

View Gallery

2019 Arts Ed Community Forums

February 20, 2019|

Measure Progress With the Arts Ed Profile

The Arts Ed Profile is aimed at understanding the quality, quantity, and equity of arts education offered in K-12 schools across LA County. First administered in 2017, it has, to date, garnered responses from more than 47% or 1,000 schools across the County. Each year, the Arts Ed Collective incorporates more individual school and district data, using it to build a more robust picture of arts education in Los Angeles. Having this data give schools and districts the information they needed to advocate for greater resources.

The survey data is filtered into a manageable and usable tool that schools can refer to as they seek parent, funder, and stakeholder buy-in. This tool allows schools to take stock of their offerings and identify strengths, while granting organizations and advocates use it to identify districts that have greater need.

We encourage all LA County schools to work with their district arts leaders to complete their Arts Ed Profile. While the Arts Ed Collective recently completed a major update, we accept new data year-round.

Here are a few success stories from both school districts and funding organizations:

As part of my role with The Music Man Foundation, I regularly visit public school campuses where the Arts Education Collective and our grantee organizations partner to provide music education programs. Before visiting a school, I like to look it up on the County’s Arts Ed Profile tool to see what arts are offered on that campus. I find it interesting and helpful to see how its offerings compare with others in the neighborhood. While on-site, I’ll share that Profile data with the school’s teachers and administrators, and explain how I found it helpful. In cases when a school has not reported their data, I’ll encourage school leaders to send in their information and let them know how valuable it is for grantmakers.

I have had a number of experiences where I learned that the arts education available at a given school was not accurately reflected in the Profile. For example, I had a wonderful experience during a holiday music concert at an elementary school in the Compton Unified School District, where I sat next to and chatted with an assistant superintendent. We discussed the many fantastic arts programs happening in Compton, and I pointed out that they weren’t all reflected in the Arts Ed Profile. Seeing the importance of representing accurate data, he shared his plan to send a memo to his principals, encouraging their participation immediately. Since then, Compton schools have had much better representation on the Profile.

-Sarah Lyding, The Music Man Foundation

 

It was so easy to stand up and speak to a room full of people and easily and succinctly tell them the story of the impact that years of inadequate funding had on our arts programs, and what we needed to get back to that place. When I shared the data that showed where Burbank ranked in terms of providing funding to our arts programs, it was an eye opener for our district leadership and for our community, and they overwhelmingly approved additional funding for instrument repair and replacement.

They also added funding so that over three years, we added an additional three teachers to our elementary music program, making it possible for us to provide weekly general music instruction for every 2nd through 5th grade student. Furthermore, we were able to address a problem with providing materials and supplies for students in secondary visual arts programs.

The survey data really empowers the classroom teachers who are trying to get their job done with their students, and at the same time, lobby for their program. Our mission is to use the data to help drive the improvement of our programs. At some point you have to stop and really look at what’s real and what’s going on so that you can begin to address the things that need to be addressed."

-Peggy Flynn, Arts & Career Technical Education Coordinator, Burbank Unified School District.

 

I think most of our schools in California are data-driven places. They understand the importance of gathering data to inform and make decisions. Especially the way we’re working now with our local control funding formula and our concentration dollars we have to provide data in order to show why we’re making these decisions. So it’s mutually beneficial. Yes, it takes some time, but it’s well-worth the time. And when you are able to see interesting, rich, robust, informative data about your school or about your district or LEA that tells the story of the need for arts education, or why we should do something, or the impact it’s having, it’s absolutely motivational, inspirational, and it’s really focusing. It helps you set goals. Consider this survey as a key to unlock the door to having arts flourish on your campus.

-Geoffrey Zamarripa, Principal, Columbia Elementary School, El Monte

 

Our participation in the Arts Ed Profile data collection coincided with our becoming a member of the Arts Education Collective in 2017. We launched our district’s Community Arts Team (CAT) to create a 5-year Strategic Plan for the arts. Our leadership team was generally very responsive to collecting the data using the online instrument. Our CAT meetings quickly discovered the value of using Arts Ed Profile data to address the formation of goals for equity in the arts across the district and the importance of relating these objectives back to the LCFF in ways that aligned with the district priorities. This improved the overall awareness of the role the arts can play in meeting district needs, and provided a focus for our professional development with arts specialists.

This year additional funds were set aside for arts specialists to schedule field trips and attend conferences. Perhaps the most significant advance that the data will make possible will come about as a result of updating the metrics for this year. We anticipate that the Arts Ed Profile will become a foundational piece in measuring the types of improvements being implemented as the arts strategic plan shapes our district’s commitment to achieving equity in the arts in AVUHSD.

-Betsy McKinstry, Career Technical Education Director Antelope Valley Unified High School District

 

January 17, 2019|

2018 SSAE Grants to Support Arts in Schools

The Arts Education Collective extends its congratulations to the Pasadena Unified and Lancaster school districts which join the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) in using their 2018 California Department of Education (CDE) Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SAEE) grants to fund Arts Education.

The SSAE grant program was created to support districts and charter schools across California in their efforts to providing all students with access to comprehensive, quality education. The grant program specifically prioritized applicants that aim to strengthen arts education, as well as those that will use funds to increase access to physical and mental health care.

The SSAE grant will be used to expand a program piloted at Eliot Arts Magnet, in which physical education teachers receive professional development and arts integration training from Lineage Dance Company teaching artists. It will also be used to complete the development of curriculum in the five art forms to align with core subject units and the California Common Core State Standards, NGSS, and History/Social Science standards. Lineage Dance Company will expand their partnership with the district by providing a dance residency in the district's secondary schools and managing dance training, while the Music Center and other contracted partners will assume teacher professional development training. Furthermore, the grant will fund the creation of well-equipped dance spaces, as few schools have facilities appropriate for such programming.

Lancaster School District will use their funding to implement arts integration classes which will be open to parent and teacher observation. These open classes will share ways that the arts transform learning in the classroom, by showcasing the district-wide arts learning currently in place, and creating community buy-in for further expansion of arts integration.

Finally, the LA County Office of Education’s $1.02M award from CDE’s SSAE Grant Program will support Scale Up! Student Success through Technology and Arts Integration Project to provide high-quality online/in-person professional development. Using a blended technology-driven instructional model, LACOE’s Center for Distance and Online Learning (CDOL) will help local educational agencies, schools and communities build knowledge and capacity to integrate arts strategies into Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS). In the summer of 2019, district leaders will come together to learn evidence-based integration strategies, and develop a collaborative implementation model that focuses on well-rounded education, academic achievement, and digital literacy for all students.

LACOE welcomes all interested Los Angeles County districts to apply to the Scale Up! Academy, taking place in June of 2019 in DTLA. Space is limited, so districts are encouraged to apply early.

April 3, 2018|

Los Angeles County Adopts Arts Ed Equity Policy

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has long advocated for the importance of the arts in public education. In 2002, the Supervisors unanimously adopted the Los Angeles County Regional Blueprint for Arts Education which established the LA County Arts Ed Collective as a part of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. The Arts Ed Collective was directed to work with the Office of Education to ensure that LA County’s 1.5 million public school students receive high-quality arts education. Sixteen years later, in a motion co-authored by Supervisors Hilda L. Solis and Sheila Kuehl, the Board of Supervisors has reaffirmed its commitment to the arts and adopted the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning (The Declaration).

The Declaration was put forth by California’s statewide arts education coalition, CreateCA, and has been adopted by a number of school districts across the state. It outlines the rights of all students to a high-quality arts education, regardless of race, culture, language, religion, national origin, place of residence, socioeconomic or legal status. However, supported in part by a study completed by the Arts Education Collective, Los Angeles County has become the first municipality to adopt The Declaration. The study concludes that while most schools in Los Angeles County have some arts education, access to quality arts education, especially for lower income students and students of color, is not equitable. By adopting The Declaration, the Board of Supervisors ensures that the importance of access to quality arts education is communicated across all levels of Los Angeles County government, and that steps are taken to address the disparity. In fact, a result of the Supervisors’ adoption of this motion, the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), has followed suit. Most significantly, the passage of this motion creates opportunities for equitable access to arts education through partnerships with multiple County departments, extending the reach of the work facilitated by the Arts Ed Collective.

December 13, 2018|

Teaching Artists Guild Launches Teaching Artists Asset Map

Teaching Artists Guild (TAG) is an advocacy organization dedicated to the professionalization and visibility of artists who teach, establishing them as equally valued peers with partners in education, community, and social services. Recently, TAG launched the interactive Teaching Artists Asset Map. This important resource illuminates the depth and breadth of the field, assisting in the creation of community and connections. A LinkedIn for teaching artists and arts organizations, the Teaching Artists Asset Map, allow teaching artists, arts organizations, and advocates to connect with one another, build momentum, and share opportunities and resources.

While its primary function is network-building, the Teaching Artists Asset Map has a secondary function – allowing stakeholders to determine which populations are and are not being served. This enables advocates a more comprehensive understanding of equity in arts education, which in turn builds a case for support and resources in low-access areas.

November 13, 2018|

Inequity in Education

Last year the LA County Arts Ed Collective released a study that identified critical inequities in arts education. If you want to dig deeper on equity data in education, we suggest you check out ProPublica's recently released Miseducation, an interactive database that highlights racial disparities in opportunity and discipline at districts and schools across the U.S.

Their analysis of the data, which is primarily from the Civil Rights Data Collection, shows that nationally, “Black and Hispanic students are, on average, less likely to be selected for gifted programs and take AP courses than their White peers. They are also more likely, on average, to be suspended and expelled.”

Interactive data tools such as Miseducation and our Arts Ed Profile online tool can be important in uncovering inequities based on demographics within a district or school. Our countywide analysis of arts education data from LA County schools found that schools with more White students receive more and better quality arts education than schools that are more Black, Asian or Hispanic/Latinx.

Does your district or school face inequities? What kind of arts education is happening at your district or school? The LA County Arts Ed Profile seeks to answer these questions. Last year, 41% of Los Angeles County public schools submitted data, and helped arts advocates gain a partial view of existing inequities. A first step in addressing inequity is to identify it. With your help in gathering data, the Arts Ed Profile can provide a complete picture of access and inequity across LA County schools.

To answer questions of this nature, take a look at the existing information available in both tools:

   
August 29, 2018|

The Arts Ed Innovation Lab Travels to Berlin

"We are living in an era of great disruption and enormous potential." —opening comments, Presencing Foundations Program, Berlin, Germany

Building on work of the Arts Education Innovation Lab, eight arts education leaders from California traveled to Berlin in July to attend the Presencing Foundations Program. Participants represented over 20 nations and were committed to systemic change across multiple sectors including universal healthcare, banking and sustainable agriculture. Over the course of the 4-day intensive, participants were introduced to the concepts and practices of Theory U, a “social technology for helping bring about profound innovation and change.”

In the year ahead, ten arts education leaders from across the state who have trained in Theory U will partner with emerging arts education leaders in a professional learning community to advance systems change in arts education in California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured (L-R, Top)

  1. Nancy Ng, Luna Dance Institute
  2. Kate Stover, Tulare County Office of Education
  3. Kimberleigh Aarn, Arts Education Consultant
  4. Gillian McCarthy, LA County Arts Commission
  5. Victoria Lanier, Education Through Music—LA

(L-R, Bottom)

  1. Stacy Young, Humboldt County Office of Education
  2. Denise Grande, LA County Arts Commission
  3. Pat Wayne, Create CA

Other leaders in the professional learning community with previous Theory U Training

  1. Jean Johnstone, Teaching Artists Guild & Alameda County Office of Education
  2. Merryl Goldberg, CSU San Marcos

Learn more about Theory U Process and Practice


Over the past 18 months, the Innovation Lab’s strategic visioning has been guided by Theory U. Those interested in deepening their understanding of Theory U processes and practice can participate in U.lab: Leading From the Emerging Future, a free on-line course this fall. The session begins September 13, 2018.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Arts Education