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: Hacienda La Puente Unified School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Hacienda La Puente 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 Nuvein Foundation 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 Hacienda La Puente Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

3 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: Joseph K. Chang, Bryan Coreas, Jeffrey de la Torre**, G. Anthony Duarte, Penny Fraumeni**, Henry E. Gonzales

**Candidate has no email address available; contact the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder's Office for contact info

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

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There are many meaningful experiences I’ve had with art growing up that have shaped my life and continue to inform my creativity. One of the more recent experiences in the arts involved mentoring a class of first-time middle school actors as they examined and helped shape an adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. As part of a group of mentors who were also first-time actors, I would encourage students to step up on the stage and share their personal narrative through thought-provoking workshops. They helped me understand how uplifting it feels to be in the presence of people who motivate you to try your best. Both groups learned that theatre is challenging for anyone regardless of their age level. I felt proud to share a stage and to rejoice in the applause of a job well done.

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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?

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As a district we need to acknowledge the full spectrum of our students’ talents. Allowing for creativity and self-expression in and out of the classroom provides an arena for our students to harness an in-depth personal connection to education that steers clear from the stereotypical monotone reactions to learning. We need to provide many opportunities for our students to find their inspiration, to imagine the possibilities and the power they have to transform their peers and their community.

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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?

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One of the strengths of our plan is that we began by recruiting volunteers from within the faculty and staff, allowing them to use their experience in the arts and in working with our students to shape district goals. Some of the areas for improvement are specifying the stakeholders. Identifying the groups as accurately as possible assures that we target each of our diverse audience members. Likewise the lack of a timeline means that we may never see this plan completed. Finally, establishing the program from a student-initiated level versus a top-down approach would be a great tactic to our VAPA plan. To foster creativity, we have to ensure that our students support the plan and its goals well before they are implemented. Incentivizing the art program by incorporating their suggestions from the start allows for ownership of their education. When students feel their voice is heard in education, they are more likely to succeed.

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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?

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A great step to gain visibility of VAPA plans would be to have an agenda of all on-going projects and initiatives, with relevant documents accessible via the web to be reviewed at the board meeting, with deadlines on reporting updates. Another step would be to reduce the use of stock photos on district media and instead showcase students working on their VAPA activities, sponsoring competitions and recognizing student effort in this stead. However, the most effective way to make our arts plan visible is to advocate for it as a board member personally with parents, students and other stakeholders as we make visits to school sites and conferences.

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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?

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We know that arts education benefits low-income, English learner and foster youth students –all key beneficiaries of the local control funding formula. This makes for an exciting opportunity to place arts education as a primary tool for student progress, as an avenue for student involvement and creative expression. There is no doubt that when students feel like they are acknowledged as stakeholders in their own education and feel empowered to make changes, success is inevitable as they discover their own personal drive to triumph.

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