Precisely what I thought might happen with the Wallace Foundation grant to develop a plan for arts education in Seattle, did happen.
The district received about $1M to develop this plan about 18 months ago. At the time I thought, well, great but what if you plan and don't get any money to carry it out?
Yesterday it was announced that the Wallace Foundation declined to fund the SPS plan. The district's communication says:
While we’re disappointed that Seattle did not fit the Foundation’s research criteria and needs, we know this plan is right for our community.
That's a bit of a bitter pill to swallow. While the district forges ahead with a pilot, the fact remains there is no money to follow-thru district-wide. Why didn't the district create the plan to meet the criteria and needs even if it was not exactly what the district wanted? In these cash-strapped times, that money would have been a boon and the arts program could have reached more students.
The Superintendent said:
Arts education for each student must be a city-wide effort. I look forward to working with our staff, families, the City of Seattle and community-based organizations to ensure each of our students has equitable access to the arts as part of their basic education.
Yes, but that hasn't happened in the past. The district has been very hodge-podge in its efforts to work with arts groups. The district built a multi-million dollar performance hall for Rainier Beach and then gave them no arts program (and didn't do a lot to bring in support from the arts community).
I hope under a new superintendent this might change. I'll put in a call to Carri Campbell who leads arts in SPS.
From SPS Communications:
In June 2011, Seattle Public Schools received a tremendous opportunity: a $1 million arts education planning grant from the Wallace Foundation to create a city-wide arts plan. With this funding, we have spent the last 18 months developing a comprehensive plan to meet our goal that each and every student has access to high quality arts education, every year and in every school.
Today I am pleased to report we have completed our comprehensive plan and we are ready to start launching our goal of District-wide arts access. Information about the arts plan developed can be found online at www.seattleschools.org/artsplan<http://www.seattleschools.org/artsplan.
I checked the SPS link and it seems to put a lot of work on the arts community and the funding on outside sources (PTA, grants, school booster clubs).
The Wallace Foundation’s investment enabled us to:
· Conduct in-depth research to find out which Seattle Public School students were participating in the arts and which were not.
· Ask young people, families, teachers, principals and community partners what they wanted from arts education in Seattle Public Schools.
· Transform Seattle’s arts curriculum and student assessments in response to community feedback and to develop 21st century skills such as perseverance, creativity and collaboration – skills we know are critical to students’ life success.
· Develop supports and tools for more impactful partnerships between schools and the many first-rate community arts organizations and teaching artists in Seattle.
· Create a comprehensive plan to ensure all students in all schools have the opportunity to learn through the arts.
We are excited to move forward with implementation, beginning with a pilot in the Central region that will ensure a K-12 arts learning pathway for every student. We will use this pilot to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan strategies and its impact on students, in order to bring the plan to scale in every Seattle school.