Since its founding in 1991, P.S. ARTS' purpose has been to ensure high-quality, sustainable arts education for children in under-resourced public schools. Our programs are designed and continuously revised to be in alignment with the needs of the communities we serve, contributing to children's wellbeing and elevating their future school and career prospects. P.S. ARTS was created in response to significant education budget cuts in the 1970s and 1980s that resulted in the near elimination of arts programs in California public schools. Now in its 25th anniversary year, P.S. ARTS has grown from serving 285 students in one school to over 25,000 students in 59 schools throughout Southern and Central California.
P.S. ARTS programs reflect our mission to improve children's lives by applying best practices in education and youth development, particularly with regard to transforming chronically low-performing schools and improving civic, school, and career outcomes for participants. Designed by P.S. ARTS’ CEO and developmental psychologist, Dr. Kristen Paglia, our program model positions student success in the arts, school, and life at the core. The P.S. ARTS model is derived from frameworks for quality in arts education and overall school improvement endorsed by Harvard University and U.S. Department of Education. Our program activities address objectives for excellence in three categories: Quality Curriculum and Instruction, Positive School Climate, and Community Engagement. We believe that the arts can drive progress in each of these domains toward improved outcomes for students, and we have modeled our programs accordingly.
- Classroom Studio: P.S. ARTS provides in-school arts education programs once a week, every week for the entire school year. Our dance, music, theater, and visual arts classes are integrated into the regular school day
- Extended Learning: P.S. ARTS provides after-school and summer arts programs through the Inside Out Community Arts theater program.
- Community Engagement: P.S. ARTS aims to provide crucial arts experiences for the entire family. We facilitate free community outreach events such as our Family Art Nights, the TakePART Festival, and various family art days held throughout the school year.
P.S. ARTS Teaching Artists are encouraged to integrate their art forms, unique perspectives, and professional experience into the classroom, and receive a minimum of 20 hours of professional development training each year. P.S. ARTS Program Managers are master level teaching artists and are responsible for conducting curriculum review, providing feedback, and coaching on curriculum materials and classroom pedagogy for all Teaching Artists in their region. Along with the Program Managers, the Curriculum and Pedagogy Coach works one on one with new and developing Teaching Artists. P.S. ARTS Teaching Artists also collaborate with classroom teachers to develop a curriculum in alignment with California's Visual and Performing Arts standards and the State Common Core Standards.