City: Glendale USD Board of Education
Position Seeking: Trustee Area D
Question 1: Please share a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts) while growing up and its impact on you.
It’s 1977. I am 9, and I am cast as Oliver in R.D. White Elementary’s production of “Oliver!” Forty years later, I still remember the thrill of show night, I still swap lyrics with friends, and I still feel the confidence that the experience instilled in me. Last year, when my son was 9, and a student at another Glendale Unified school (Mark Keppel Elementary), he was cast as Scar in a production of “The Lion King,” and I saw the same light go on, as a result of the hard work, camaraderie, and freedom of thought that only the living arts can provide. As a Glendale School Board Member, I will ensure that even more children get the chance to live out loud through the Arts.
Question 2: How can arts education support student outcomes such as English language development, reducing the achievement gap, and preparing youth for college and/or meaningful careers?
There is ample scientific evidence that early exposure to the Arts helps children look at problems differently, and think about them analytically, increasing their aptitude in science and math and developing lifelong critical-thinking skills that can lead to success in school, college and the working world. This benefit is independent of language spoken at home and socioeconomic status; the Visual and Performing Arts are a universal language, which means their benefits are available to all students.
Because my son’s GUSD school is a Visual and Performing Arts magnet, my family has lived this reality; our child and his peers benefit from weekly classes in art, dance, drama and music. As a Glendale School Board Member, I will work to bring these same benefits to all students in the Glendale Unified School District, via a middle-school magnet for the visual and performing arts, and making sure that district-wide arts instruction for our youngest learners in grades K-3 is discussed as an academic necessity that is tied to the core curriculum.
Question 3: What do you think the role of the School Board should be in ensuring that students have continued access to a broad range of study subjects, including the arts (broadly defined)?
Not only is it squarely the School Board’s job to develop curriculum, it is a School Board member’s job to be proactive on budget matters, and to look beyond the current year’s bottom line, so that no matter the economic climate, our students’ education remains rich and diverse. As the District D School Board member in the Glendale Unified School District’s new era of geographic neighborhood representation, I will be a passionate advocate for the Visual and Performing Arts by being a passionate advocate for equity: The Arts are a universal language, and as such should be a core strategy for learning in our schools, especially in a school system as diverse as the GUSD. They are not an “extra” to be funded solely by a school foundation or PTA, and they should be available to all students in the GUSD, regardless of the vagaries of geographic location or student and parent population.
Question 4: Do you see a role for arts education in the development of district Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs)? If so, how would you hope to use arts education to advance the eight priority areas identified in the LCAP template?
Yes. Arts education can help us achieve many of the goals outlined in the funding formula, from transition to Common Core in English and Math (Priority 2: Implementation of State Standards) to improving attendance and reducing chronic absenteeism (Priority 5: Pupil Engagement). But we need to make a commitment to it.
Maintaining current levels of arts education has been part of Glendale Unified’s LCAP since the adoption of the initial three-year draft in 2015; however, it is included only as a part of “learning beyond the core curriculum,” the 5th of 7 GUSD priorities.
One of the cornerstones of my School Board campaign has been a call for an Arts magnet middle school, to both attract and retain districted students. This is a way to use the Arts to increase revenue, and in turn, that revenue should be used to increase access to the Arts throughout the district.
If the GUSD chose to expand opportunities for the Arts in all of Glendale’s schools, rather than maintaining current levels, it would increase compliance with the State’s LCAP goals. Investing in new instruction and equipment for the arts, for instance, can lead to an increase in academic achievement among ELL students and those with an IEP.
The Arts can be a calling card for the GUSD, if we make it a priority; as a School Board member, I will make it mine.