Campaigns

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Inglewood Unified School District 4

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Inglewood Unified School District 4

Candidate order: Margaret Evans, Darius Leevy, Graciela Patino, Rene Talbott

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Cristina Pacheco at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The Actors Fund, KCET Artbound, California Alliance for Arts Education, LA2050, LA STAGE Alliance, Latino Arts Network, Otis College of Art and Design, and the Social & Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Voting for Inglewood Unified School District Board of Education - District 4 will be held on Tuesday, April 7.

1 seat is available in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up? (Approximately 75-100 words)

I took piano lessons as a little girl growing up. I wish I had stayed with it. I can only play one song that I remember from back then. I love listening to musicians who play the piano and organ and wish that I could do the same. I attended all of our school concerts because I had brothers in the band. Now that I'm an adult, I have developed an enjoyment of reading and going to movies about books I've read. I enjoy stage plays and musicals. As a former school administrator, I supported my students by attending all of their plays and concerts. I belonged to an organization that had an arts facet. We mentored students in Inglewood to produce photographs and exhibit their artwork to the community.

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The most meaningful and lasting experience I had with Art was in middle school. Taking PE was a prerequisite for graduation. My school adopted alternatives to traditional PE. I selected what was titled coeducational dance. Both males and females attended this class. We learned dances from several cultures including polka, foxtrot, swing and square dancing. The dance most favored was square dancing. Our class received recognition and we went on to perform in public, off-campus and in competition. These experiences changed my life dramatically. I was shy and withdrawn. Dance gave confidence and esteem. After two years I developed the necessary creativity and confidence to successfully campaign and was elected class president.

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the drop out rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers? (Approximately 75-100 words)

Creativity can play a key role in reducing the drop out rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing students for college. Students who are involved in activities tend to want to remain eligible grade wise so they can continue to participate in their extra-curricular activities. They have to no only put forth effort to perform in whatever activity in which they are involved, but they have to also keep up with their studies. One is dependent on the other. Students who are in performing arts in school tend to continue after graduation.

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A quality education is one in which students are prepared to take their part in the world in whatever areas they pursue. Because America is forever evolving the arts prepare students for thinking outside the box. America demands creativity in order to form a more perfect union as human beings. Technology relies upon unmeasurable imagination and talent to improve the quality of life and help solve life's mysteries. When students see their education is in sync with their life experiences they are more than likely to stay in school that celebrates their culture. When children experience education they can relate to children will look forward to continuing education beyond high school with a thirst for what their education has to bring.

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Question 3: Inglewood USD district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and the weaknesses of the plan? (Approximately 75-100 words)

I feel it can't hurt and arts help to develop more well rounded individuals. I realize that some arts programs may have been dissolved because of budget cuts, but those programs need to be put back into the curriculum.The benefits of art outweighs not having it in schools.

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I believe art education is being made a permanent core curriculum in many school districts throughout California. Inglewood Unified School District recognizes the value of the arts as a necessity to student learning. Human growth and development leave no question that the formative years of our students are in many cases the most creative years. As students grow so does their imagination to shaped the world around them in their image through such expressions as drawing, photography, dance, music both instrumental and vocal, etc. For districts to be responsive to human needs of expression the arts must become part of a core curriculum.

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Question 4: How can your district make the Inglewood USD arts education plan, and its progress on the plan, more visible to parents and leaders in your community? (Approximately 75-100 words)

First it has to be part of the school's curriculum. Once students are involved, parents are involved. We have to then showcase students' work to the community with art shows, concerts, plays, etc. The community needs to see where and how money is being spent and showcasing their talents would be a good start. We live in a town that has produced many talented actors, sports figures, and the like. Getting some of them to give back to not only their schools but to other schools to help produce more talent would make our communities more visible.

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The way to move Inglewood Unified School Districts plan for sequential Arts education into the district's core curriculum and visible to parents and leaders in the community will reflect the commitment of its educators and administrators. The administrator's job is to produce curriculum that challenges the educational spirit of its educators. The educators job is to make the curriculum relevant to those cultural experiences of its students while challenging students to go beyond what they are familiar with and embrace the wonderment of creative expressions by having students think outside the box.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas? (Approximately 75-100)

Arts education can align with the eight priority areas in that it can help increase student attendance rates if they have a reason to come to school other than just academics. It could help with student performance on tests because they have become more interactive with other students, especially in the performing arts. Students may not get into trouble because they have something to look forward to during and after the school day. Arts education must be part of the curriculum and interact with common core instruction.

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Art education can be crafted to be a solid fit within the eight new priority areas. What is required is for administrators to develop a curriculum that incorporates various arts to illustrate for students various ways to understand the subject matter. When learning is fun children automatically want to have more fun. More fun means greater learning and greater learning prepares children for success in schools of higher learning or to enter the world of work bringing to the workplace higher levels of competency.

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