April 2023 Newsletter

Inside This Issue

Welcome to the April Issue of the California County Superintendents Arts Initiative Newsletter!

Arts Initiative News

April is Arts, Culture, and Creativity Month

While many recognize March as Youth Arts Month or variations of that, April brings the opportunity to celebrate Arts, Culture and Creativity Month. The California County Superintendents Art Initiative supports the recognition of both and the robust participation in festivals, exhibitions, and opportunities for public affirmations and resolutions in support of arts education that comes with this time of year.

Fullerton Union High School Receives National Recognition

Recently we learned that Fullerton Union High School (FUHS) has been named a Premiere Community for Theatre Education by the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA). EdTA recognizes individual schools that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide theatre access and education to all students and FUHS went through rigorous vetting of elements including funding, teacher development and evaluation, theatre class curriculum and participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the theatre program. You can read the full press release which includes statements from students and administrators here. The Arts Initiative has recently refreshed its website (read more about this below) and will be spotlighting the FUHS program. We welcome suggestions for additional schools and districts whose arts education best practices we can spotlight and celebrate.

Prop 28 Update

Speaking of arts education best practices, we know that many counties and districts are preparing to implement Proposition 28 by taking a close look at what is currently in place, what is working, and what can be expanded. Recently an education budget subcommittee hearing on Prop 28 was held and testimony was given. At the hearing, the California Department of Education (CDE) announced that they have published a website with information including FAQs and email addresses for fiscal and program questions. There are several key issues that remain to be clarified including annual certification, waivers, and workforce issues but now there is a place to send questions. Even amid uncertainty, taking stock of what is in place and making time and space for dialogue with families and education partners to inform planning to supplement and strengthen programs is essential in preparing for the use of funds. It is also a good time to remind decision makers that the arts should continue to be included in LCAPs and be funded from a variety of sources such as those listed in this Arts Education Funding Sources document put together by Santa Clara County Office of Education.  

New Website!

We are excited to announce the launch of our new website! Our old website ccsesaarts.org has moved to cacountyarts.org. Check out the refreshed look and updated content which includes materials for leaders on creativity and leadership with research briefs and one-minute videos created by Dr. Gary Waddell.

Upcoming Arts Initiative Events

Community of Practice

Our Arts education Funding Implementation Community of Practice for arts leaders continues through June. While registration is closed we are considering continuing with a new cohort in Fall. Please contact us to let us know if you are interested in Fall meetings.

Rural Arts Network

Are you interested in participating in discussions about topics specific to Rural Arts Education? It isn’t too late to join our last virtual session of the year.
Date: May 17th
Time: 3:30 – 4:30 PM

Regional and County Art Leads Meetings

Regional and County Arts Leads network members will convene for the last time this school year on May 23rd and 24th. We are looking forward to discussing the future work of the Arts Initiative including how we may support Prop 28 implementation, and engaging in a needs assessment to identify priority focus areas for the Initiative for the next five years.  

News from Around the State

San Mateo Superintendent of Schools

 The San Mateo March Spotlight newsletter featured educators and school districts who were championing arts education in the county. Superintendent Nancy Magee from San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools recently highlighted the value of arts education in honor of Arts Education Month last month.

“The visual, performing, and media arts are essential to success for all students in our 21st century world. The arts engage students in learning by encouraging self-exploration, creativity, and empathy. They help build student resiliency by providing healthy ways to process emotions and trauma. The arts require critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, all skills which contribute to health, happiness, and life success. Now more than ever, investing in the arts is the right thing to do by students, and, with new funding sources and increasing statewide support, the County Office of Education is poised to expand its role to help ensure all students gain access to the arts as part of their TK-12 education.”

Napa County Superintendent of Schools

Napa County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Barbara Nemko recently visited Teacher of the Year finalist Tyrone Sorrentino’s art class at Calistoga High School and tweeted “Visiting Teacher of the Year finalist Tyrone Sorrentino’s art class at Calistoga HS is a glorious buffet for the eyes. Almost every surface is covered in art, much of it spectacular!” It is inspiring to see California County Superintendents at work as arts education leaders uplifting the work of educators and student artists in their regions.

Alameda and San Mateo County Offices of Education
Bay Area Prop 28 Bootcamp

Join ACOE and SMCOE for a Region 4  Prop 28 Bootcamp! District teams will be facilitated to define best practices and identify action steps to plan for Prop 28 implementation. 

Date: April 21, 2023
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Flyer;  Registration Link


San Francisco Unified School District

For the first time since the pandemic, SFUSD will be hosting a Citywide Youth Arts Festival by showcasing student visual and performing arts throughout San Francisco. From April 6-24 there will be visual art exhibitions taking place throughout the city, as well as live performances on the 15th. Read the full press release here. 

Citywide Youth Arts Festival

Check out live performances from SFUSD students in the music, theatre, dance, and media arts disciplines

Date: April 15th
Time: 10:00 AM

Citywide Youth Arts Festival Website


Balboa High School student Natalie Wong designed the official poster for the event.
Ventura County Office of Education
Celebrating Arts and Equity!

Ventura County Office of Education hosted it’s annual Equity Conference on March 7th, 2023. Over 400 people attended the event that featured 16 different breakout sessions on topics including, migrant education, homelessness, LGBTQ+ students, and more. Included in the event was a number of Ventura County school districts highlighting “Equity in Art” with student art displays that were viewed by all participants. Student Art was collected from multiple districts and schools in Ventura County, including Santa Paula Unified, Rio School District, Oxnard Union HSD, and Ventura County Office of Education’s Triton Academy and Gateway Community School. Displays featured themes such as, cultural mask making, self reflection, unity, and diversity.

The State and Federal VCOE Team has also shared the advocacy opportunities to support the Arts with the block grant. Tools and resources have been shared with all district and charter leads aligned to accountability and instructional services.

Santa Barbara County Office of Education

Santa Barbara County Education Office / Children’s Creative Project are working to ignite partnerships across schools and community organizations. There is a lot of synergy between non-profit youth serving organizations and school leaders. Some successful programs that took place recently include a professional development opportunity through dance specifically geared towards secondary P.E. teachers. A brief overview of other programs include; a pilot music program for TK-6 at a local Elementary school where students are taught sequential music education from counting, reading music, solfege, writing music, etc., professional arts workshops and residencies throughout the county, touring performances in local schools from groups such as Pacific Conservatory Theater who presented, “Breaking Through,” a story about a family who migrated to the Santa Maria valley from Mexico. SBCEO/Children’s Creative Project is actively exploring ways to connect the many amazing arts service providers in the community doing great work.

Madonnari Street Painting Festival

SBCEO/CCP are also in production mode for the upcoming Madonnari Street Painting Festival which will take place Memorial Day weekend at the end of May. We invite any of our regional and state partners to come get involved! 

Dates: May 27- 29, 2023 
Location: Old Mission Santa Barbara
More information here

Riverside County Office of Education
Prop 28 Planning Bootcamp

The Arts at RCOE held a Prop 28 Bootcamp in January, and plans on holding another bootcamp in the Fall of 2023.

Materials from this event can be accessed for use in planning similar events: Slides; Handouts 

State Partner News

The California Arts Project (TCAP)

The California Arts Project, TCAP, network supports and collaborates with districts, schools, arts educators/administrators, and our partners through a variety of professional learning programs and activities.

TCAP’s work with districts to meet their needs includes strategic planning focused on equity and improving arts teaching and learning, creating new or revising and aligning dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts courses and related scope and sequences to the arts education standards, and supporting teachers content knowledge and content pedagogies in the arts.

Upcoming 2023 TCAP Professional Learning Opportunities

To keep current and be updated on additional TCAP programs and events, join TCAP’s email list.

Art Making and Technology Series

One final webinar in this series will be held on April 20, 2023 with guest artist Refik Anadol. The four part series in collaboration with CSU Fresno’s College of Arts and Humanities has explored AI and ramifications for K-12 arts educations with a series of contemporary artists and scholars. Additional information and registration link is available on the TCAP website.

There is no cost to attend the webinar, but pre-registration is required.

Date: April 20, 2023
Time: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Courageous Creativity Conference

Save the Dates! 

Courageous Creativity will be held on June 20, 21, 22, 2023. Registration information will be released in April. Scan the QR below to join the interest list.

Arts Education Administrators and Leaders: Implementing Equitable and Effective Arts Education 22-23 Series

Program Assessment: A Pathway Toward Equitable and Effective Arts Education

The 2020 CA Arts Education Framework illuminates the value and importance of providing equitable and effective arts education for all students. This series focuses on Chapter 9, Implementing Effective Arts Education and engages arts education leaders and administrators in conversation, sharing, and reflection.

Join this statewide leader community of practice! Register for the last session this year. There is no cost, but pre-registration is required. Registration is available on the TCAP website.

Date: April 20, 2023
Time: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Regional Arts Education Network Communities

TCAP’s statewide and regional networks support TK–12 through post-secondary dance, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts, and CTE AME educators as they strive to implement the goals of the Arts Education Framework and Standards to further equitable, standards-based arts education for California students. The network sessions provide opportunities for teachers and administrators in the arts to stay informed of statewide and regional arts education news, issues, and dialogue with others on critical arts education topics.

TCAP’s Arts Education Networks convene online from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m., free of charge. Pre-registration is required and available on the TCAP website.

Date: May 18, 2023
Time: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Arts Education Resources on the TCAP Website

The TCAP website has useful arts education information and resources for teachers, administrators, and arts education advocates. The Arts Education Resources website tab has a growing collection of resources including California Arts Education’s Framework and Standards, California’s Transformative Social and Emotional Learning (T-SEL), and resources related to safe school opening and arts education. Visit often, as the collections are updated.

Collaborating to Build Statewide Awareness and Support Implementation: California's Arts Education Framework

TCAP’s and California County Superintendents’ Arts Initiative’ Year 2 support for the California Arts Education Framework is well underway! Collaborative Design Teams consisting of county office arts leads and TCAP arts leads have drafted a set of additional resources to support awareness and implementation of the Framework. New resources will be available in the spring with additional resources added over the following months. These and other Framework resources can be found on California Arts Education Framework Resources for Implementation Hub.

TCAP Customized Professional Learning Programs

Contact TCAP at reach.tcap@gmail.com to arrange or learn more about TCAP’s customized and context specific arts education professional learning programs for schools or districts.

Arts, Media, and Entertainment Institute

The WNET Group’s Youth Collective Introduces Inaugural Film Festival

The WNET Group’s Youth Collective is introducing its inaugural film festival, which will be held in spring 2023 in New York City. We’re seeking submissions by filmmakers ages 13-25 and welcome short films of all kinds: narrative, documentary, comedy, drama, animation, music video, under-60-second social media video.

Deadline for Broadcast/Digital Fest submissions: May 15, 2023
More information here

Music Forward All Access Fest

All Access Fest is an in-person & virtual career fair that invites youth ages 16-24 to follow their dream of a career in the music industry at a fair that will spark discovery and map pathways to success.

Date: April 26, 2023
Time: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
More information here
Registration Link

Create California

A Create CA Crossover Series
April Toolkit

Join Create CA’s Student Voices Leaders for a cross-generational training series. Student Voices Leaders provide promising practices for connecting with the group of people most impacted by the fight for equitable arts education – youth! Part 1 of this 2 part series begins May 10th at 4:30 pm. Register here!

Sow the seeds of student development through arts education by sharing the April Toolkit!

Other News in Arts Education

California Arts Council

Sacramento local, Alex Yue was named California’s Poetry Out Loud state champion after receiving first place in the statewide recitation competition that was held on March 19th. Yue is a 17 year old senior from Sacramento County, and attends John F. Kennedy High School. Yue will go on to the national finals taking place in Washington D.C in May.

Read more about the competition and Yue’s win on the California Arts Council Website.

Watch the 2023 California Poetry Out Loud State Finals Competition

2023 Poetry Out Loud winner Alex Yue (right) was recognized on stage, along with runner-up Julia Smith. Photo Credit: SCOE
National Endowment for the Arts

Regina Carter was recently named a NEA Jazz Master. She is a recipient of a Macarthur “genius” grant and a Doris Duke Artist Award. Carter is well known for her mastery in jazz music in violin. She shares her knowledge and talent through teaching workshops. View her biography in the National Endowment for the Arts Website.

Full Press Release: Fullerton Union High School Received National Recognition for Theatre Education Program

Fullerton, California April 3, 2023 – Fullerton Union High School has been honored with the distinction of being named a Premiere Community for Theatre Education for its outstanding commitment in the field. The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) recognizes individual schools that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide theatre access and education to all students.

“Our school and its community wouldn’t be the same without the arts,” said FUHS Principal Laura Rubio. “Receiving this award is a reflection of the hard work and talent of our teachers and our community and the commitment we have to educate our children well, especially in the Arts”.  

To qualify for the distinction, Fullerton Union answered detailed questions about funding, teacher development and evaluation, theatre class curriculum and participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the theatre program. Responses were verified with official documentation and reviewed by the Educational Theatre Association.

“Theatre at FUHS is important because it provides a safe space for every student on campus and it helps develop skills that will help in the future, such as self-confidence, public speaking, critical thinking, and creativity” said senior Lily McWatters, FUHS Thespian President. “Personally, theatre has provided me with a comfortable place where I can express fully who I am as an individual.”

Research affirms the educational and social-emotional benefits of participating in school theatre. In one study, at-risk middle school students who engaged in an after-school musical theatre program demonstrated improved confidence, creativity, resiliency, responsibility, collaboration, and sense of community. Another study found that students who received drama-based instruction made better connections to the curricular content. 95% of school administrators believe that theatre experiences improve students’ overall academic skills.

“EdTA’s vision is that every student will have access to theatre education taught by qualified educators as part of a well-rounded education,” said Chief Content Officer Allison Dolan. “We’re proud to honor Fullerton Union High School for helping to achieve that vision.”

Fullerton Union High School is a diverse, program-rich, academically rigorous, award-winning school that provides opportunities for students to explore their future, serve the present, and honor tradition.

About the Educational Theatre Association

The Educational Theatre Association is home to the Educational Theatre Foundation and International Thespian Society, is an international nonprofit whose mission is shaping lives through theatre education. The foundation provides essential financial support to enhance theatre education, expand access, and foster racial equality. The International Thespian Society, an honor society active in nearly 5,000 schools, has inducted 2.4 million students since 1929. Visit schooltheatre.org to learn how EdTA honors students, supports teachers, and influences public opinion that theatre education is essential for building life skills.

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