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: Palmdale Unified School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Palmdale 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 Museum of Art & History 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 Palmdale 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: Juan Carillo, Sandy Corrales, Jeffrey E. Ferrin, Stacy Fournier, David Markov, Jeffrey D. Moffat, Joyce Ricks, Nancy K. Smith, Carol A. Stanford, Michelle D. Whitaker, Don F. Wilson

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

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I have played a musical instrument since I was in 3rd grade. I played the harmonica, and transitioned to the Trumpet. Despite playing in competition events and religious services, it is not a single act of playing that has been significant in my life to the point of life changing; my Colorado high school band played at the Disney fairgrounds, and although that was significant it was not life changing. Music played a life changing part in my life, at the point in time I had a traumatic auto accident at age 13. The grim fact is that I was hit by a van, thrown nearly 100 feet in the air. I suffered brain trauma, brain swelling, as well as 13 broken bones. I was also in a coma for 9 days. I am convinced that the musical training I had, assisted my brain in recovering from the incident. I went from a life threatening point in my life, to one where I should have been a paraplegic. I am now a Tax and Social Security Attorney that has some recognition in those two fields, in part by the training my brain had via music.

During my growing years I was part of the drama class in Chicago we were poor but the Social Center in our area provided free classes to us. I loved acting and remember going on stage before my peers it was an exciting time. I was also part of a tap dance and modern dance class. My mother made sure I was gettign exposed to as many arts as I desired. When I went to High School I took band and learned a few notes on the clarinet. As an adult I realize the importance of a child expriencing these activities.

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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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Music and the arts are tied to creativity. Many individuals that drop out of school do so out of shear boredom. Music and Arts provide for individuals to see past their individual circumstances. A Reuters study came out, propounding over 80% of the individuals making $150,000 or more per year have studied music. In talking with several headhunters in the job industry, I was advised that separates the good from the excellent candidates is their ability to be creative; creativity is enhanced by exploring both arts and music. A statement made on comments of the ED.gov page summarize the global intelligence far more eloquently than comes naturally to me. In giving credit for the statement I totally agree with, here it is: “Research has shown that the arts contribute to the development of “Global Intelligence” because they engage the full brain in multi-dimensional “ways of knowing.” The artistic process integrates sensory knowing, emotional knowing, cognitive knowing and kinesthetic knowing into an afferent and co-informing whole. This signifies the height of human intelligence in action. This form of intelligence far surpasses the skills required to “take a test” and “get a job” although it enhances those capabilities as well. This is precisely what happens to our students when REAL art is made in classrooms under the guidance of a qualified art educator.”

I feel the districts have great responsibility in assuring our children with the right skills to help them achieve jobs & careers in this new age. First they need to have the nessesary tools in the classroom such as advanced technology. The school can become a place where children can come to for a safe haven if it has music, arts, drama available. Just like the social center I went to when I was a child . School should add more after school programs and classes that prepare our students for their future. In my district there are two elementray schools which offer Spanish to k-8 , why not all of the children since Spanish is a language that can help them in the work place as well. Programs of this sort would allow the children to make better choices and have less time for activities which may pull them out of school (drugs,alcohol,gangs etc) Building self esteem is a very important factor to lesson the dropout rate and providing adequate upto date technology are top priority.

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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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Palmdale School District in September 2013, was at the end of the Implementation Task for Developing and Implementing a curriculum. The implementation never happened, as was targeted in 2009-2013. The district simply created a spreadsheet for development and implementation that took the project from July 2008 through June 2013. The Arts have never been re-entered into the k-8 program for Palmdale School District, despite the 5 year plan being exhausted. The money spent on developing a curriculum, without any implementation is one of the many reasons I am disappointed with the School District, and have decided to run for office. The School District had been claiming it was short $16.7 million dollars, as recently as July 2013. Labor negotiations were breaking, and ultimately the District now has millions of dollars in excess revenues. It is my desire, that some of this money be used to implement the previously created curriculum to re-establish the Arts. The strength is that the ground work has been done, the weakness is that the arts have been one of the first programs on the chopping blocks during financial hard times. Now that millions of dollars have been found, creates strength in implementing a program that should have been implemented in part over 5 years ago; this delay has been a weakness.

The strengths of adding arts into the core curiculum is that children will be given an opportuntiy to explore their creative side thus less opportunity to find time to get into trouble. Also many times a child will talk with a coach before a regular teacher because of the difference in the enviorment they might feel safe. Also aggression is placed into the space where anger has been.

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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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I have a plan to add, Music, Arts and Sports, as well as a reading plan of the top 100 books back into the school system. Given that the community has over 420 community watch groups. If these watch groups were coordinated to also engage in activities other than crime prevention and neighborhood watch related events, such as arts promotion would explode in relevance and participation. As an example of the lack of coordination that exists in the school district, young adults competing in art rich activities such as pageants, crafts and band events are virtually unknown to the vast majority of the community. My wife has assisted in some of these events, and discovered that these events utterly failed to reach into the schools and the 420 community watch groups. With a coordinated effort the school could use programs already in existence, and attempt to expand the exposure from the handful that participate in the local events to reach the nearly 22,000 students in the community. By using the existing venues of the 420 watch groups as well as engaging events that already exist, the program will be more visible to the community as a whole.

To make this plan more visible they can advertise in the paper , televison and on social media. Keeping the C average is also a good thing for the children to have in order to participate in the programs.

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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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My wife has assisted in some of these events, and discovered that these events utterly failed to reach into the schools and the 420 community watch groups. With a coordinated effort the school could use programs already in existence, and attempt to expand the exposure from the handful that participate in the local events to reach the nearly 19,000 students in the community. The LCF program is generous in its funding for those on a Free and reduced Price Meal Percentage. Palmdale Elementary has 82.85% in this category, so additional funding should flow based on how this element is heavily weighted in the funding matrix for extra money. The Palmdale School District has a makeup of over 56% Hispanic population. The community has two duel immersion programs, one that my son attends, that ease the entry of English learners into the bilingual education program. Substantial funding is available through the LCF for English learners, which comes hand in hand with having a large population of individuals that are learning the English language. Palmdale Elementary has 29.73% listed as the English Learner percentage. In examining the funding the 2011-2012 Revenues derived from the ADA was $5,713. With the full implementation per ADA formula the funding will nearly double to $ 11,214. This vast increase in revenue should assist with activating and or restoring the many necessary programs that have been cut during the school districts reaction and response to the state fiscal crises.

Arts and education go together you must provide an opportunity for both and intergrate it inot the curriculum .

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