Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys

Arts for LA invites eligible candidates in Los Angeles County elections to participate in our Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys. 

We thank the following organizations for supporting this round of Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys:

Fall 2014 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys

Fall 2014 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys

Arts for LA invites eligible candidates in Los Angeles County elections to participate in our Spring 2014 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys. 

We thank the following organizations for supporting this round of Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys:

Glendale USD Candidate Survey Archive

Glendale USD Candidate Survey Archive

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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.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to revise or submit responses, please contact Abe Flores at [email protected] or 213-225-7526.

Elections for this office are open to residents of the City of Glendale only. Voters may select three candidates.

To determine your home district or polling place, please visit the Los Angeles County Register-Recorder/County Clerk website.

Arts for LA thanks Glendale Arts for their partnership in collecting and distributing these survey results.

Candidates: Daniel C. Cabrera, Jennifer Freemon, Armina Gharpetian, Greg Krikorian, Ali Sadri, Joylene K. Wagner,
Christine L. Walters

Question 1: What meaningful experiences with the arts (visual arts, dance, drama, and/or music) did you have growing up?

My father, Donato Cabrera, was born in Mexico,came to Los Angeles at 19 to study opera singing. At every family gathering, he sang as my mother accompanied him on the piano.Just two years ago when I retired from teaching my youngest son, who has been the percussionist for the Stanford University Latin Jazz band for nine years, gave me a certificate for guitar lessons. I play every day now. My nephew, whom my mother raised, changed his name from Donald to Donato in honor of his grandfather and is now the resident conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Director of the SF Youth Orchestra.

Growing up I was always a part of the school school band. I started on clarinet and by high school added cello and baritone horn. I have wonderfully fond memories of the elementary school plays from adapted versions of The Wizard of Oz to our own original California History musical. Within that there are two experiences that particularly stand out. In elementary school we staged a production of Cats that was incredibly ambitious for a group of 4-6th graders! We were successful enough that we spent the next few months 'touring' the town and performing numbers for retirement homes, street fairs and a few civic events. By high school I was in both the marching band and the concert orchestra. To this day I will never forget jumping out of the pool after the water polo game to throw on the concert dress and lug both baritone horn and cello into the auditorium just as the fall concert was beginning (wet hair and all!!).

* I started singing in a chorus from very young age. * As a child, I have played in several theatrical plays * I play the piano * I participated and won a photography contest named “Snapshot of Glendale: 24 Hours in The Life of Our City” (published in 2007). One of my photographs was chosen to be published on the back cover page. * I am a docent in the “Meet the Master” art program in our school * I enjoy taking painting and ceramic lessons in local art studios

Throughout my childhood, I truly enjoyed drawing/sketching landscapes and the woods of Connecticut. This brings up some great memories of going off into the woods and finding a peaceful place just to sketch.

As we all have experienced art growing up, natural art that surrounds us. I was blessed to have a piano and a mother that introduced me to art early in life. Music has been my avenue to distress even through present. I was also blessed with caring teachers that introduced me to drawing and painting. I was honored to receive a National Art Award in my native country at 9 years old, was interviewed on national TV. Here is a statement from one of my friends 'Art was my only outlet as a child growing up in gang infested Chicago. I know this sounds a bit dramatic but nothing could be more real. I would walk miles, miles, to the Art Institute of Chicago, from the south side of Chicago as a child just to get away from my neighbor and experience another world. Drawing help me focus on what I could be done without fear - it was my safe heaven.' More should be done, as art in any form is a cost effective avenue to ensure the success of our young into a civilized society. Instead of criminal gangs we should have artistic gangs competing for a better life.

1. I had a music box that played Brahms' Lullaby hung above my crib. I remember standing to pull the string. 2. I remember my mother rocking me and singing a lullaby she learned when my father was stationed in Georgia in WWII. 3 I sang in the church choir starting in 2nd grade, and I've sung in choirs most of my life since--ever since 8th grade. 4. I directed a children's church choir for 7+ years and elementary choruses from 1997-2005. I was a musicianship teacher for Los Angeles Children's Chorus from 2002-2008 (and a parent/chaperone/rehearsal assistant for 11 years).

My family was full of vocal musicians and I spent a lot of time enjoying singing with my grandparents. I was selected to be a soloist at a concert in elementary school and I remember how much confidence I gained after being able to stand in front of an audience and 'belt.' With visual arts, I had never thought of myself as an artist, but I truly enjoyed my 10th grade art class. I still have that portfolio of work from that class today and am secretly proud of the artwork I produced.

Question 2: What role do you think the arts can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as closing the achievement gap, reducing the dropout rate, and preparing more students for college eligibility and the twenty-first century workforce? (Approximately 75-100 words)

As an English teacher I would occasionally ask students to present an essay's theme in any form they liked in addition to writing. Many chose to play music or draw a picture. I've watched students playing their impression of The Grapes of Wrath and create abstract sculpture representing To Kill A Mockingbird. Students love to let their minds roam free to say what they feel, and whatever works for a student to want to learn, to enjoy school works for me.

The arts provide ways to engage students in school and keep their interest. Every student has different reasons for attending class each day and putting forth effort. The arts adds one more layer to that equation. Students who may not enjoy P.E. may love photography. Beyond engagement, the arts provides outlets for creative expression and helps students develop different pathways for learning which they can apply to their more academic subjects. The more students are able to use their brains in creative pursuits, the better equipped they are to function in a world of constant change and non-linear expectations.

The current curriculum fails to bring out student’s curiosity and therefore love of learning. Most high school children who choose to drop out of high school complain about their boredom towards subjects taught in the classrooms. I strongly believe that arts can and will increase student achievements, therefore closing the achievement gaps and boost their interest to stay in schools and go on to graduating from college. Our educational system is so cut off with teaching just the basics, that we sometime ignore the importance of creativity. In today’s 21st century global economy, employees look for workers who are innovative and productive, rather than just having skills and knowledge.

Involvement in the arts impacts brain development and often results in stronger academic achievement overall. Additionally, in a district such as the GUSD, a well developed music program often helps students who are new to the country or new to a school become or stay involved in school activities. Arts education helps students develop creative skills to thrive in this 21st Century innovation-driven society. In order to foster these skills for college and career, we have initiated partnerships in business and arts communities. All connections strengthen the instructional program and increase opportunities for student success in the visual and performing arts. Collaboration between visual and performing arts teachers, K-12, and secondary arts department chairs promote student learning.

Support every student’s artistic ambitions and interest. Let their interests be as important to you as it is to them. It doesn’t really many how talented they truly are, what’s important is their engagement. If you train them to engage in art, they will transfer that process to all other aspects of their life. They will never forget the process and the power it brought to their actions. By engaging the students in art projects they will be involved and look forward to attendance instead of dropout. Providing a safe and secure environment is essential to achieve educational excellence.

I'll mention just two things. 1. Entertainment is our region's biggest employer, as I've learned from my nearly 8 years representing the GUSD on the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board. Students who experience arts, particularly those who have an opportunity to perform on stage with professionals, are preparing for their place in the workforce, whether or not they choose to be performers. 2. I've experienced what music education can do for students' basic math skills. for appreciation for language and culture, for socialization, and for fun in learning! Music education, as part of a schoolwide core curriculum, could both support classroom instruction and increase student engagement and success.

Creativity is one of the key skills that our students will need to be successful in the 21st century workforce and both visual and performing arts are one of the best places to exercise and grow creativity. All students need a way to connect to school and for many students, the arts provides that connection. My two sons both participated in performing arts in high school and although they were successful academically, they will tell you that their music and drama programs were the best thing about high school. I believe keeping arts in the schools at all levels is critical to an excellent education.

Question 3: A standards-based arts curriculum is one of the five core subjects in No Child Left Behind and critical for developing job skills vital in the creative economy and the twenty-first century workforce. Yet, most often, only "what is tested is taught" in our schools. How do you envision bringing balance back for a comprehensive education and ensuring all students have access to a quality, standards-based arts education curriculum?

To base any significant part of a teacher's performance evaluation on a multiple choice standards test is a mistake. For the student, it is a waste of time since they have no stake in the test compared to the importance of their course grade or other tests such as the AP tests or SAT. Such evaluation pressure encourages teachers to focus on those students who are near scoring Proficient on their tests. Moving them onto the Proficient list raises their rating. . There were two events in high school that will never forget that made me love school: (1) my 10th grade English teacher crying so hard while reading Houseman's 'To An Athlete Dying Young' that the girls in the class had to hug her. (2) My Physics teacher inviting a few of us to attend a performance of his 'hobby,' directing plays. I watched, rapt, at his directed production of Williams' 'The Glass Menagerie' at the Actor's Alley in W. Hollywood. What test could possibly measure the wonderful effect these two teachers had on me?

When we finally let go of the idea that students are better able to learn and perform when they are taught to think critically rather than when they learn to take standardized tests, we will free up the space needed to improve arts education. What we can do now is empower teachers to focus on the skills we need our students to learn and to provide once again a well rounded education that includes arts and P.E. We can partner with our PTAs and community in order to bring in great arts programs for all levels from ArtsAttack to Meeting the Masters to local musicians and artist who will do workshops to teach teachers creative arts based lesson ideas.

As a parent of 3 children in public schools, there is definitely a need to bring balance back to the curriculum. In today’s educational system, student achievements are typically measured by reading and mathematics performance tests. Our teachers need to have the appropriate training to find innovative ways to incorporate arts into their teaching methods. We must find ways to motivate students and at the same time teach them more challenging subjects and skills, in preparation for the 21st century workforce.

Fortunately, in Glendale, we have maintained that much needed balance. In fact, almost 50% of our students are enrolled in an arts course elective today. Arts education is not incidental in our district. It is highlighted within the Glendale 2015 Strategic Plan and is an emphasis not only in our current magnet schools with an arts emphasis (Keppel), but included in our latest grant efforts. Our schools have won awards for their programs, teaching staff and individual student achievement in the arts. All four arts disciplines are taught in the high school and most are taught in middle school. Elementary schools use the Arts Attack program, which is funded through the Glendale Educational Foundation, to infuse visual arts into the curriculum.

Place the same value on artistic accomplishments that is placed on successfully completely achievement test – the same. Let a talent young artist shine as well as a brilliant academic student. Let them share the same stage. Einstein played violin as well as developed physics.

As a certificated 'graduate' of the Armory Center for the Arts/LA County Arts Commission program in VAPA standards, I have a sense of what's possible. My hope in this next term, as post Prop.30 funding and an improved economy begin to stabilize district budgets and as our district rolls out the Common Core Curriculum, is that we can integrate arts instruction--preferably by credentialed arts teachers--to support schoolwide academic plans.

I think that Glendale has been unique in working hard to maintain arts in our schools, even through difficult financial times. We have started an visual and performing arts elementary magnet school that is using the arts in many different subject areas to enhance learning. I believe that the lessons learned at our magnet will also influence other schools in the district that arts is not just something 'extra' we do in the school day. We also have a Visual and Performing Arts Academy at one of our high schools where students are encouraged to participate in multiple arts classes and explore arts career options.

Question 4: If elected, how will you engage classroom teachers, arts teachers, parents, and community arts organizations to implement your district's strategic arts plan? If you are not familiar with the plan, how can the district make the plan more visible?

I attended every meeting during creation of the GUSD Strategic Plan 2015 and remember working with several other members on the statement 'Students will participate in a well-rounded curriculum that includes performing and visual arts...' We don't have any of our three sons' high school papers. We do have several examples of their ceramics, drawings and developed photography. Outside of their technical careers, two are accomplished musicians, one is a published photographer. If elected I will commit to achieving this portion of the Strategic Plan, 'Learning Beyond the Core.'

We start with the principals of the schools and work with them on how to make art a priority, not a Friday afternoon past time. We facilitate workshops where district schools with strong arts programs present to schools who are trying to figure out how to incorporate the arts.

In order to implement such a plan, our teachers, parents, and community art organizations need to move above and beyond their call of duty. It will require guidance, education and motivation from their part to create several committees and subcommittees and through public outreach programs, to make this plan more visible and tangible for all students in our district. With the ongoing budget cuts, this may be a challenging task, however it is time for our community as a whole to take a stand and do what is best for our children's future.

GUSD’s current Visual and Performing Art Strategic Plan calls for professional development focused on integrating essential VAPA standards into the core curriculum. However, as the district has experienced a reduction in funding, professional development in the arts has been less coordinated. Teachers at the elementary and secondary levels attend arts workshops based on interest or when funding permits. Secondary school VAPA department chairs meet once per month to share best practices. VAPA teachers at secondary sites also work in professional learning communities with colleagues both at their site and across schools to support each other’s learning and share best practices.

Take the plan off the bottom of the pile and place it on top. Call on Art Teachers for their input on how to improve the situation. Invite parents of students who are clearly engaged in developing an art career to offer their wants and needs. Speak with, and invite any higher artistic educational institution to offer suggestion, but to also give guidance to teachers and parents on what they want an entering student to have under their belt. If elected, I will always available to learn from experts and will be studying successful educational programs elsewhere and will introduce recommendations, my site at www.armguard.com/ALI includes a suggestion box to help me learn more

I am familiar with the district's plan, having served on the last two arts plan committees (as well as on the County plan committee in 2000-2002). I am already engaged in dialogue with district administration regarding the implementation of the arts part (STEAM) of two proposed STEM magnet schools. I will continue to work with Glendale Arts, the Glendale Educational Foundation, and other local arts and community service organizations to support arts education and develop arts experiences for students.

For our plan to become more visible would require the staffing to continue to promote it. Despite our lack of promotion of our arts plan, we have done a very good job of partnering with community organizations to help supplement needed funding for arts programs in our schools. The Glendale Education Foundation has provided visual arts lessons for all of our elementary schools for the past few years. In addition, they are currently running a 'Save the Music' campaign to purchase instruments for our elementary age students so that students do not have to pay a rental fee. I will continue to promote the collaboration of our community partners with our local schools so provide arts instruction to our students

Question 5: Over 50% of School Districts in Los Angeles County have adopted Arts Education policies and plans to restore all arts disciplines into the core curriculum of K-12 classrooms. If elected, what would you do to develop and adopt a policy and implementation plan to increase access to the arts in the district?

I would work to establish a Glendale Schools Day of the Arts, during which students from K-12 classes would show off their arts to the community. I envision it taking place at Glendale High School, centered around the GHS Performing Arts Center, and would feature an entire day of outdoor and indoor art displays, music and drama performances from morning 'til evening and conclude with an outdoor food festival with attendees being entertained by musical groups from all the schools. It would be entitled 'Glendale Schools Rock!' and would constitute a major fundraising for our schools' Visual and Performing Arts programs and showcase our Culinary Arts as well.

Polity? I assume the question is asking about policy. In GUSD there is already strong appreciation of the arts. The key in this district is to move that appreciation to priority. You do that by implementing the steps laid out in question 4.

We must utilize federal and state policies to reinforce the placement of art programs into the core curriculum of k-12 classrooms. Our federal and state education leaders must provide policy guidance to implement arts into the core curriculum, improve teacher quality and help uplift schools which need support. In order to do this, our leaders in education need to accept that arts programs are essential to be a part of our educational system.

As in my last response, the key is to provide teachers with professional development in the arts by continuing to apply for grants and establish strong partnerships with organizations such as Arts for All Residency Program which offers mentoring to aspiring artists and training for teachers. A strong arts foundation in elementary school not only leads to a healthy district-wide arts program but also increases student achievement in core subjects. Consequently, the main goal of our arts professional development is to train teachers on how to integrate essential VAPA standards at each grade level into the core curriculum at the elementary level and across a wide range of exploratory and elective classes at the secondary level. A second goal centers around training teachers in strategies to assess students’ demonstration of their knowledge of VAPA standards and connecting arts education to the Common Core State Standards and 21st Century skills, including an emphasis on critical thinking and the proficient use of technology for creating multimedia projects.

Set up, or open doors from the classroom to reel life artist and higher artistic education institution. Show students (and even teachers) what their shooting for, what’s possible. Fine individual who have gone on to successful careers (possibly outside the artistic community, but got to where they are through art). Show how art helps all demographic of life.

My personal hope would be to find ways to offer credentialed or certificated arts instruction as part of the core curriculum for all students in elementary school, in ways that enrich student learning and support classroom teachers.

Because we have not made significant cuts to arts, I don't think I can say that we have a plan to restore. Instead, we are continuing to find ways to infuse the arts into our instruction. We are currently applying for a magnet grant for two additional schools that are STEM + Arts and have very specific plans for arts education written into the grant. I am committed to keeping our elementary music teachers and arts curriculum as well as finding additional ways to infuse arts into all of our instruction. I am also committed to continued support for our strong arts programs at the secondary level, including providing pathways to careers.