Kelly Kent

District: Culver City USD
Position Seeking: Governing Board Member

Question 1: Please share a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts) while growing up.

I played 1st flute for the Friends Seminary Chamber Players, and performed in a number of school wide events. Practicing and performing marked my high school years, and in particular I remember the pride I felt at my progress and improving skill level. My persistence and effort culminated in the performance of a flute duet at my high school graduation where parents and peers alike expressed joy and support for my success. I know that without this experience, I would have been less motivated to succeed in school and certainly would have been less disciplined as a student.

Question 2: What kind of creative solutions would you suggest to support student outcomes such as English language development, closing the achievement gap, and preparation for college and/or meaningful careers?

One of the biggest barriers to improved achievement outcomes is student engagement. Art has been shown to enhance student engagement by connecting children more deeply to the world around them. This along with the unique skill sets afforded to children exposed to the arts explains why art instruction has also been shown to narrow the achievement gap. As project-driven work corresponds to Common Core standards, enhances student motivation and is an excellent means of incorporating art into all academic content there is a significant need to rank arts education as among the highest of student outcome driven priorities.

Question 3: What do you think should be the role of the School Board in ensuring that students have access to a broad range of study?

Reinvigorating the arts in schools takes leadership and partnership. If a school board favors the most progressive vision for education that research-based best practices will allow, the educational services department will take on the mandate to implement the latest in innovative instructional pedagogies. As arts education has been shown to broaden the course of study, enhance pupil outcomes and strengthen school climate, it is the imperative of any forward-thinking board of education to push through higher standards for arts education. Additionally, as a city parks commissioner, I am well poised to nurture collaboration with the city for cultural resources.

Question 4: In light of the Local Control Funding Formula and development of district Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs), what are your creative solutions for achieving goals in the eight priority areas?

A number of districts in California are designing LCAPs to support arts as a means of improving student outcomes. CCUSD’s current LCAP does allocate for increased arts spending in the next 3-year period, but teacher training is not included in this projection. I am interested in having the district include in its increased support of arts a significant teacher-training component, where teachers receive professional development in the arts specifically to support the needs of socioeconomically disadvantaged students and English language learners, populations that are currently suffering from a lower graduation rate.