2020 Arts Education Framework Grantees - Progress Update Spring 2021

Ice Drawing- Courtesy West Side Union District

This is an update intended to recognize the 2020 Arts Education Framework Grantees and their progress. Schools and districts selected as grantees in 2020 report that implementation for increased arts programming is on track despite pandemic and distance learning challenges.

West Side Union School District expanded their arts programming through professional development. This training inspired the creation of an arts equity committee and allowed for more focus on using the arts for social emotional learning to help navigate the stresses of fires and pandemic. Teachers reported higher participation when the arts are integrated into all subjects, especially during distance learning. Resident teaching artist, Jessica Martin, conducted research on arts integration models, success for arts equity, and provided more art therapy sessions to the school curriculum. Examples of the art program at West Side can be found HERE.

McNear Elementary School in Petaluma reported that their arts plan has helped staff establish a stronger mission. They have leveraged the initial grant to obtain more funding for programming. McNear teachers who participated in arts integration training through the iAspire Summit feel more confident in teaching arts integration. Arts integration in science, developed by McNear teachers, has yielded engaging lessons; currently the school is developing math standards using arts integration for 1st graders. Teachers at McNear also received professional development in social emotional learning and the arts.

For the Santa Rosa City Schools, the development of an arts plan has led to more conversations about, and greater interest in, the arts as a way to engage and support teachers during distance learning. As a result, SRCS are offering more arts-related professional development, infusing the arts with social emotional learning (SEL). This has not only given support to Visual and Performing Arts Teachers, but has also drawn in teachers from other curricular areas to collaborate. 

Santa Rosa has offered two workshops provided by teaching artists from the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts related to SEL during weekly professional development time. The district also offered an arts-integrated, SEL Visual Art and Poetry professional development session taught by local arts educators, that was attended by teachers across curricular and grade level areas. 

Finally, Santa Rosa is working with SSU and Creative Sonoma on a project in two Continuous Student Improvement (CSI) elementary schools that pairs Teaching Methodology Dance Majors with elementary students. The project, Dance CONNECT, engages all students once a week for 6 weeks in learning a Hip Hop dance that brings all students and staff together in a joyful and engaging way. 

The pandemic has provided a real need for new ways of reaching students. Arts-related professional development has been a part of helping them meet that demand. The district will use these increased opportunities for teachers to engage in the arts to encourage them to use what they learn and to ask for more arts related opportunities.

A new round of support for developing a strategic arts plan is available in April 2021. Learn more about the Arts Education Framework Consultancy Awards HERE.