San Francisco to become an Arts Equity School District?

Update: the resolution passed unanimously. San Francisco is now an Arts Equity District.


The Board of Education meeting
Irving G. Breyer Board Meeting Room
555 Franklin Street, First Floor
Tuesday, June 25, 6:00 pm (we may need to arrive as early as 5:00 pm to be in the room to comment).

To provide public comment, you will need to fill out a comment card with your name and note that you wish to speak about item G-4 on the agenda, the Resolution on Arts Learning Equity. Find accessibility information on the agenda here.

⚠ Because of national attention about the Arnautoff Mural at George Washington High School, we may need to arrive as early as 5pm to be sure we can be in the room for public comment. ⚠

On Tuesday, June 25, the San Francisco Board of Education will be voting on the Resolution to Adopt the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity and Access in Arts Learning put forward by Commissioners Alison Colins and Gabriela López.

Note that the Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area has not officially endorsed this Resolution. Find our official statement about the resolution below.

In addition to joining the statewide Create CA campaign and making the San Francisco Unified School District an Arts Equity District, the resolution would also start moving toward having a full time arts teacher in every elementary school and would put teachers in charge of arts curriculum planning.

Below is an official letter from the Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area commenting on the resolution as it was originally proposed. The current version of the resolution includes amendments calling for a detailed fiscal impact analysis and asks staff to determine which schools should be prioritized for implementation.

Sam Bass is becoming the new director of the Visual and Performing Arts Department.

Sam Bass is becoming the new director of the Visual and Performing Arts Department.

You can listen to the curriculum committee meeting about this resolution here (start 52 minutes in). Keep listening to hear discussion of the long-awaited Arts Education Master Plan Refresh which will be revised in consultation with the new director of the Visual and Performing Arts Department, Sam Bass before being brought to the board for a vote.

Also on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting will be resolutions to amend the process for the Public Education Enrichment Fund Community Advisory Committee, close the opportunity gap at schools, support more health services at schools, and to vote on how to cover or remove a WPA mural at Washington High School. We may need to show up as early as 5pm to be sure to have a chance to comment.

Sketchnotes from a meeting between Commissioner Alison Collins and local arts education leaders, 9” x 6”, marker on paper, Todd Berman

Sketchnotes from a meeting between Commissioner Alison Collins and local arts education leaders, 9” x 6”, marker on paper, Todd Berman

The letter sent from the Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area to the SFUSD Board of Education:

 
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June 11, 2019

Dear Commissioners of the San Francisco Board of Education,

Members of the Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area (AEABA) Board of Directors in consultation with other leaders of arts providers in San Francisco would like to provide some comments about the Resolution to Adopt the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity and Access in Arts Learning as submitted by Commissioners Alison Colins and Gabriela López.

 We are thankful to the commissioners for reaching out to our community for feedback.

 AEABA would like to offer our support to the San Francisco Unified School District in developing plans to provide arts education to all students. As providers of arts education services to students throughout the SFUSD, our members can offer valuable perspectives to the planning process.

 AEABA recognizes that our own current power structure reflects historic inequities and institutional racism. We are committed to doing the necessary work to create a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse organization so that we can better represent arts educators in the Bay Area and the youth we serve.

1.      The Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area strongly supports adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning. The  SFUSD should absolutely become an Arts Equity District as part of the statewide Create CA campaign.

  • We view the arts as core to learning, and provides essential tools for reforming and revitalizing education and communities. Students who benefit from a robust arts education will have advantages over those who do not. If arts education is not provided equitably to all students, it can become a force for furthering inequities in our education system and our society.

  • We would love to see the Board of Education explore how additional funds can be allocated from the Local Control and Accountability Plan and other sources to meet the needs of the Arts Education Master Plan refresh and other programmatic pieces of this equity resolution.

  • The arts could be very useful for helping the district meet all of the Vision 2025 goals, for developing community at school sites, for bolstering ethnic studies programs, and for helping each individual student find their own voice and their identity as learners.  

2. AEABA membership does want to make sure that the Board of Education and the community know the ways that the Visual and Performing Arts Administrative Office assists arts partners in providing arts education resources .

  • The VAPA office has been helpful to arts providers by identifying schools that need additional support and can benefit most from community arts programs.

  • The VAPA office has been an excellent partner in throwing the annual Arts Education Resource Fair. This event brings together at least one teacher from every SFUSD school with representatives from scores of arts providers.

  • The success of the Mariachi Initiative is an example of how the VAPA administration can provide essential support for a culturally responsive arts program. Central office staff were able to coordinate the efforts of our members (community-based arts education providers) with principals and teachers at multiple schools. Central office staff were key to designing a partnership where teaching artists who are content experts could partner with music teachers in the areas of professional development, curriculum planning, program planning, and evaluation. This is just one example of the kind of value a partnership between centrally-based staff and school sites can make an impact.

3. Please consider feedback collected by the Arts Education Master Plan (AEMP) advisory committee, task force, and consultants. Also, we believe that the AEMP Refresh should be an iterative and inclusive process.  

  • The district has made investments and put several years of consideration into developing the AEMP Refresh, gaining feedback from parents, students and community members. While this process was admittedly slow, the fruits of this labor are finally ready to be shared and implemented. The information and ideas they have generated should be utilized.

  • When members of the SFUSD community say they were not included in this refresh process, we must believe them. The AEMP will only be strengthened by engaging new voices in an ongoing evaluation process.

Sincerely, 

Todd Berman

Executive Director of the Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area