Olga Rios

City: ABC Unified
Position Seeking: Board Member Trustee Area 6

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.

When I was in high school, I was fortunate to have been invited to participate in a college prep program targeting low-income, minority, and first in their family to attend college. The program provided us with academic support, college guidance, and enrichment activities. On the weekends they would allow us to participate in activities that were incredibly meaningful and had a great impact. They took us out of our environment and communities and allowed us to experience the arts. They took us to landmark locations to enjoy the theater, music concerts, and museums. I had never before visited such places. They had us interact with people there. The Arts were for everyone. They wanted us to experience a completely different lifestyle and instill in us a sense of belonging. It also motivated me to want for a better life and strive to be successful through education. I attribute my love of the Arts to those experiences. The Arts are a part of my life and have become a significant part of my own children’s lives.

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?

Substantial research supports art education in improving student outcomes. On such study points to how music helps prepare students to learn and cultivates better thinking skills. Others suggest that it develops creative capacities for lifelong success. I have seen the benefits of including the arts it in my many years of teaching (16) and as school administrator. It can reduce the achievement gap by improving attendance and student performance by using the Arts as a learning tool.

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)?

I think that the role of the Board should be to support the inclusion of the arts in the curriculum. It should also allocate it's funding so that schools have the resources needed for a good Arts program. In addition, I see the role of the Board as one to provide an environment where kids have a myriad of Arts programs to chose from, the equipment needed to learn the Arts (art utensils, instruments, etc.), and trained teachers to provide the instruction needed.

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?

I think that LCAP is an excellent opportunity for schools who used to struggle with resources have more money to work with. One example, is to include the arts and align them to the eight priority areas. We know what it takes to get kids to achieve, parents to participate, and schools to shine. We just need to keep doing better. We also know that embedding the arts into the various content area increases engagement and achievement.