The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Arts Education Branch, together with Inner-City Arts, has been awarded a four-year, $1.3 million U.S. Department of Education Model Development and Dissemination Arts Education grant. The grant is a project of Los Angeles Unified School District working in partnership with Inner-City Arts, a nonprofit organization providing arts learning services to students of the LAUSD, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences. The project will make for the expansion and rigorous evaluation of an innovative, cohesive model which will provide standards-based arts education effective in improving academic performance among LAUSD English learners. The grant funds are allocated for project supplies, training teachers, teaching artists and training stipends.
“A well-rounded education requires exposure to the arts. Using the arts in academic instruction can also engage and motivate students to do better, and even stay in school because of that connection,” said Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines. “The grant is especially appreciated at a time when elementary art instruction is being reduced in our schools, a casualty of a huge budget deficit.” Most of the grant funds will be used for 15 elementary schools and three middle schools in the downtown area. Target schools are attended, in general, by students from low-income families. Two-thirds of the students, on average, are English Learners. Many are low achievers and have demonstrated a strong need for arts-infused teaching practices. The goal of the grant is to immerse the California Visual and Performing Arts standards into mainstream subjects such as English, math, science and social studies. Based on research, instruction will be tailored to reach out to academically at-risk English learners. Special emphasis will be given to non-arts classroom teachers to develop their potential as arts educators and promote activities that encourage schools to embrace a comprehensive arts strategy. The LAUSD’s Art Education Branch is in its final year of the District’s first “10-Year Art Education Plan” adopted by the Board of Education in July 1999. The arts branch has achieved its goal to place itinerant dance, music, theatre and visual arts teachers in every LAUSD elementary school.