Monday, September 09, 2013

Seattle Schools and Arts Education - Part Two

(Forgot I wanted to fire this off so it's on the fly.)

When we last left this discussion, the district had received a $1M grant from the Wallace Foundation to improve arts education in SPS.  The money was enough to allow surveys among parents and school staff, create a plan and then plan how to roll it out.

The district did not get the implementation grant money (very few districts did) BUT the City of Seattle discovered more revenue from the Seattle Great Wheel and the Chihuly Museum.  We should all be grateful that Mayor McGinn and the City Council directed $500,000 towards arts education in Seattle Schools.

The name of the plan is The Creative Advantage.  This program will be rolled out over several years so you may not see the impacts for several years.  However, discussions are starting in schools.

SPS is encouraging you and I do, too - ask your principals, "What's the plan for arts at our school?"  Get your PTA to be proactive now and get ideas out there about what you might want to see for your school/region.

So what are the updates?  The starting point will be the Central Region.

From SPS:

Creative Advantage Launch

Implementation of the Creative Advantage will launch in the central pathway in 2013-2014. In March 2013, the Central Arts Pathway principals and a team of teachers and family representatives developed a k-12 Central Arts Pathway vision and allocated centrally provided seed staffing.
(Editor's note: every elementary principal in the Central region has participated in this effort.)

Superintendent Banda speaking to the Central Region Arts Team

Next year, six K-2 general music programs will be developed. Funding provided by the City of Seattle will support the purchase of the instruments, text books and resources needed for the new general music programs.

Next school year, each Central Arts Pathway school will develop an arts plan responsive to the regional goals. Completion of school-based arts plans will trigger additional investments including integrated arts professional development and artist residencies. Program evaluation will be conducted and outcomes reported to the community annually. Please check back for Central Arts Pathway updates and progress!

I had an interview last week with Calandra Childers in the City Office of Arts and Culture about updates. She said that the K-2 programs starting in the Central region would largely be choral. She said there will be 6 new programs (as 3 schools already have established music programs). They are developing plans to bring in artists in residence for schools. At John Muir, they are choosing to use ALL their funding towards music for all their students.

They are still working on/looking for philanthropic partners as well as arts partners to help create/run after-school programs.

I was pretty impressed that principals have some power over the direction of arts at their schools. As well, each region will work together on regional goals.

Want to see how you can integrate arts with core subjects?  Check out this great article about kids learning math from dance choreography (5,6,7,8! - for all you dancers out there) at Northgate Elementary.

The goals are that by 2020:

Elementary school students will receive:
  • 60 minutes per week of visual arts taught by a certified arts teacher
  • 60 minutes per week of music taught by a certified  music teacher
  • instruction from master cultural artist, integrated into core arts classrooms and responsibe to the school's community
  • dance instruction in physical education classes, supported by community organizations.
Middle school students will receive:
  • a minimum of two semesters of visual, performing or media arts classes
  • integrated arts instruction in either 6th grade science, LA, or social studies,
  • arts options that are diverse and relevant and continue further study in high school
High School students will receive:
  • a minimum of 4 semesters of visual, performing or media art classes
  •  integrated arts instruction in 9th grade LA/SS
  • sequential opportunities to participate in visual arts, music, theater and media arts programs at each high school
  • opportunities to connect the arts to careers such as music recording and graphic design at Media Arts Skills Centers, available to juniors and seniors district-wide, regardless of their high school.  
Implementation of the plan is shared by SPS and the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.  Here's the SPS website and the City website.  The City also has a Facebook page for this effort. 


Anonymous said...

Great hearts and flowers post and darn right this is what kids need. Actually, they need even more. But it ain't going to happen. This is not sustainable funding. More prominently Common Core and Finance and MTSS are at the forefront of staff and board goals. (See Charlie's post below on the Board's Priorities and the discussion that follows.)

After all, Seattle MUST get more widgets into more boxes with the lowest possible cost.

District Watcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay, District Watcher, point taken. But my hope is that this launches district-wide and arts/philantropic folks will see this REAL plan and want to help make it sustainable.

But yes, much will get pushed aside for Common Core.

Anonymous said...

Why it's such a secret, I'm not sure...when it comes to Arts Education including actually infusing arts into the curriculum, Adams Elementary (in Ballard) has it going on!!! It's a passionate, art-loving and art-teaching place where school is engaging and fun. It has the most beautifully decorated elementary school halls I've ever seen.

Adams Fan

Anonymous said...

John Muir already has a full time art teacher with a dedicated art room (including a kiln) so it makes sense that they would put the funding towards music, which if my 1st grader can be believed, is happening in our new portable. Super exciting!

-Muir Mom

Maureen said...

there will be 6 new programs (as 3 schools already have established music programs)

By my count, there are ten elementary schools in the Washington Middle School service area (Muir, TMarshall, Gatzert, Leschi, Madrona, Lowell, Stevens, McGilvra, Montlake and TOPS.) I can't find any specific info on which schools are included. I haven't seen the phrase "central pathway" used before, but ArtsEd website says it refers to the schools in the Washington Middle School Service area. That would be the ten schools above, plus WMS and GHS.

Anonymous said...

Watch this inspiring short video documentary about how arts integration has enriched a school community, deepened student engagement and helped increase learning.

Ann D.