Creative Sonoma has been working for the past year as a member of the Arts Education Alliance (AEA) to bring attention to the importance of arts education in our schools.
The Arts Education Alliance is a collaborative venture with representatives from the Sonoma County Office of Education, several school districts across the county, arts teachers, administrators and arts organizations. After many meetings and much research, AEA determined that its most important initiative would be to launch an assessment of the state of arts education in the K-12 schools in Sonoma County. The group believes that the only way to embark on real change for the future is to understand the current state of affairs.
Our early planning work led us to the successful efforts of our neighbors in Napa County who completed an assessment and master plan for the Napa Unified School District this past year. The principals involved in Napa have generously provided us all of their tools and reports which we are revising to meet the specific needs of our county.
Another boost to our efforts came with the launch this month of an interactive website featuring data on all arts education activities, in grades 6-12, across the State of California. The database is searchable at a very detailed level for Sonoma County, including searching individual schools and the arts classes offered by grade. This work was produced by CreateCA, a statewide arts education coalition and is available at http://www.createca.dreamhosters.com/artsed-dataproject/. Building on what data is already available will help our Sonoma effort focus in filling in the gaps, in particular for grades K-5.
We will be launching the assessment after the first of the year and hope to have preliminary findings completed by late Spring 2017. If you are interested in participating in this work, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch for more updates on this work at creativesonoma.org.
This project has been generously supported by the Community Foundation of Sonoma County and the California Arts Council.
Photo: Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, One City Arts Summer Program 2016