State grant ups arts studies at SCV schools

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – Santa Clarita’s schools are developing plans and budgets for the extra cash flow they’ve received for arts education programs. Santa Clarita’s schools have long boasted successful visual- and performing-arts programs such as marching bands, choirs and dance teams that have earned state and national accolades. But funding for these programs has been an ongoing struggle. “For the most part we have relied on our wonderful parent organizations to fund our programs, music specialists and after-school enrichment classes,” said Joan M. Lucid, assistant superintendent of instruction for the Saugus Union School District. Crunelle is planning to submit a plan to the Hart board for approval next week that highlights a plan that includes a teacher-led committee. She said teachers decided unanimously to continue supporting established programs such as the district’s Honor Band and the Theater Project but also wanted to focus on staff development. “This will provide our staff with the opportunity to have their own staff development that will be focused on what is meaningful to them,” Crunelle said. This first plan covers a $105 million state grant that translates to $15 per student in the Hart district. The renewed commitment to visual- and performing-arts education comes after several studies confirmed the academic value of arts disciplines, said Nancy Carr, the state department of education’s visual and performing arts consultant. “There has been a dawning realization that students who have the opportunity to experience arts education perform better academically,” she said. Carr said the money should help teachers and administrators gain the financial means to ensure they are providing the most comprehensive, and academically rigorous, art programs for their students. [email protected] (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “What we want to do now is capitalize on what parents have already done and make sure those experiences are the same for all children at all schools. In the past these special programs have been dependent on what parents were able to bring to the table.” Like Lucid, administrators at school districts have established committees made up of teachers, administrators and sometimes parents who help establish the needs of the visual- and performing-arts programs, most of them organized independently of programs at other district schools. The Saugus district plans to team with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission to develop a program spanning several disciplines. Across the board, administrators agree there’s value in combining the arts and education. “The arts are very important because they round out the school experience for children, and we know from research how much they can improve student achievement,” Lucid said. The Hart Union High School District has graduated several prolific musicians and thespians, but Leslie Crunelle, assistant superintendent of educational services, said funds have been short for visual- and performing-arts teachers and programs. last_img read more