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