Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Survey Results

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Survey Results

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 3:53pm

Photo: Candidate Survey LogoArts for LA surveyed 177 candidates in 31 school board elections this fall as part of our semiannual Arts & Culture Candidate Survey program.

Arts for LA Releases School Board Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys

Arts for LA Releases School Board Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys

Fri, 10/11/2013 - 10:03am

Photo: ArtsVoteLAWith an estimated $5.3 billion in educational funding set to invigorate California’s schools due to Proposition 30, school board leaders will be tasked with setting the priorities and direction for their schools’ future.  To help spark dialogue around arts and education issues, Arts for LA has distributed Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to every eligible candidate for election in 33 school district races throughout Lo

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District

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 Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Arts for LA thanks the Friends of Arts Education at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center for their partnership in collecting and distributing these survey results. The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

4 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

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

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: Darryl Rodney Adams, Ed Hengler, Salvador Limon, Sean M. Reagan, Margarita L. Rios, Ana Valencia, Mark Owen White

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

I have been blessed that my family has had deep roots in the art.. Three sisters played the clarinet, one sister was voted Most Talented in High School and studied drama in college. I took drama and co-wrote a skit in high school in Oakland that we performed for churches, school and community groups and we were slated to perform it for Coretta Scott King, but her visit was cut short.

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I thoroughly enjoyed performing (lip sync) songs from the Sound of Music on stage with friends as a 10 year-old during a benefit for the special education program where my mom taught. I also recall the exhilaration of being the lead in a community play while in Junior High. But the moments that still take my breath away were watching my little brother excel during plays in High School. Although we’re only one year apart, his dedication and passion for theater far surpassed mine, and was so impressive that the memory lives on vividly for me 20 years later. I’m now married to a filmmaker who writes, directs, sings, acts, and dances with tremendous skill, but also a zest for life that is amazingly contagious. The passion she devotes to her artistic career constantly inspires me to be the best I can at my chosen profession – teaching.

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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 dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

Arts is synonymous with student success. While we often view it as a co-curricular program, it needs to be part of the academic program. It instills confidence, provides for independent and group success and can cross into numerous careers or opportunities- There is a strong correlation between students remaining focused and artistic expression.

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Creativity provides a student with a disciplined way to pursue their passions while finding success and enjoyment in school. Not only does it enrich and open up new pathways in their mind, it creates a culture of success that synthesizes knowledge of the core subjects, as well as inspires passion and ingenuity that will guide that student forward to greater achievements in their college and career life. At its heart, creativity and the programs that enhance its cultivation create students that are more advanced, cohesive, and intellectual in every aspect of life.

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

One of the strengths of this program is we have buy in from both communities (middle school VAPA programs) tremendous Band, Drama programs, and while everyone in the country loves art, funding mechanisms are not in place to ensure that everyone has access. Our district has an Arts Coordinator, and we are one of the few, but it is essential.

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Since 2004, the NLMUSD has been implementing a far-reaching plan to improve arts education in our district. This plan is very strong and has already shown comprehensive improvements in music and visual arts teaching in K-12, still lacking is beneficial progress in the theater arts. Heading forward, there must always be advancement in the way arts education is implemented in our schools. This can be motivated through technologically smart choices in classroom resources and the best-trained teachers who encourage the utmost of inspiration, critical thinking, and dynamism in students across the socioeconomic spectrum.

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

Promotion and displaying the talented students in our district is but one way of making it more visible. Providing demonstrations at Council, PTA, community meetings is indeed another. We must share and celebrate these successes as our students deserve the very best when it comes to the opportunities. We must also ensure that the very young kids are exposed and provided with every opportunity to explore the arts.

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Progress can be made through an action plan which would encourage more advertisement in school bulletins and outward publications regarding the success of the various art programs of our schools, based in both numerical data and student testimony. As well, more visibility can be attained through public displays of the outcome of arts education, whether through school-sponsored art showings, film festivals, or musical concerts, etc. This can then be promoted in various means throughout the community via social media, newspaper publication, and partnerships with local organizations in the cities we serve.

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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?

I begin with the premise that your culture is your culture, and if one continues to treat the arts as the wicked stepchild, it will slowly become one. We have to embrace the opportunities that are presented in this. Arts are colorblind, have no significant economic preference and is not a gender based opportunity. You do not have to be too tall, short or extremely popular. It is in alignment with the new priorities and should be featured.

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Arts education is the catalyst to a culture of success, creating schools that surpass the expectations of standardized testing and common core standards. Arts are fundamental to student engagement and achievement, as shown by prestigious research. School climate is also improved as students become more dedicated to their education, while parental involvement improves as they see their children thriving. What will be a challenge in its implementation, but will greatly enhance the level of success in arts education, is allowing access to all students, supplying the best trained and supplied teachers, and finding the best resources for students for the betterment of themselves and the community.

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Arts for All and Arts for LA Announce Arts Education Support for LA County School Districts

Arts for All and Arts for LA Announce Arts Education Support for LA County School Districts

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 2:15pm

Photo: map of Arts for All and Arts for LA's current districtsArts for All, Los Angeles County’s collaborative effort to ensure curriculum in all public schools includes the arts, recently announced that four new districts and one charter school group have joined the initiative. Of the eighty-one school districts in the county, fifty-four are now part of Arts for All.