This is the online stream for sharing conversations that happened throughout the Greater Bay Area from March through June 2012 around the question:

How can we collectively transform public education through the arts to create a better future for everyone?

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Hello from Tana Johnson

Name Tana Johnson
Date of conversation Saturday, May 19, 2012
Conversation Participants
Thanks to all of the teacher leaders who attended:
Arts Learning Leaders: Ruben Aurelio, Principal, Jefferson school, Rosette Costello, Principal, Peralta School, Marilyn Koral, Principal, James Lick MS, Louise Music, ACOE, Tana Johnson, ACOE, Dr. Julia Marshall, SFSU, Miriam Spilman, Jefferson, Susan Wolf, Jefferson Teaching Artist and Coach, Diane Wang, Jefferson, Judi Burle, Jefferson, Ana Guzman, Jefferson, David Patusco, Jefferson, Heidi Cregge, OSA, Ann Wettrich, MOCHA, Susan Deming, Washington School, Kathy Graddy, ACOE, Suzette Hackett, Carolyn Carr, ACOE, Sara Stillman, Emery, Alane Paul Castro, Washington School, Amy Rosenbaum, Petaluma, Pamela Chang, Peralta PTA, Wendi Bushehry, Trena Noval, Peralta and CCA, Pamela Lucker, Peralta, Marie Stewart, Peralta, Lynn Zamarra, Le Conte, Awele, Theater Artist, Felicia, Skyline College and Tana Johnson, ACOE.
Meeting Topics?
Ruben Aurelio, Principal, Jefferson School welcomed participants in Jefferson’s library, awash with hundreds of colorful prints from the school’s ‘Print-A-Thon’ (led by artists Miriam Spilman and Susan Wolf, every Jefferson student created a print.) Louise Music set the context by explaining the goals of Mapping Our Future strategic plan, modeled after Margaret J. Wheatley’s book TURNING TO ONE ANOTHER: SIMPLE CONVERSATIONS TO RESTORE HOPE TO THE FUTURE, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.; February 2009. Tana Johnson set the group to work in a café-style brainstorms to inform the questions: What supports do teachers need? What is our vision for teacher voice/teacher leadership? How will we spread our news? How will we engage families and communities to ensure all children/families belong? What does pedagogy look like in this new world? How might our schedule change to accommodate deeper learning contexts?
Where are we now? Share key takeaways We are in a climate of shrinking resources and higher demands; teachers are being asked to do more with less. We wanted to ask: what do we envision and what do we need to do to do to change the culture of our schools in order to deepen the learning for every child? How can our collective voices help transform this culture of scarcity and want into a culture of abundance, clarity, and vision? After the cafés took place, Awele helped groups present their discussion topic in theater, movement, visual arts,
Where should we go, and why? Share key takeaways
What supports do teachers need?
Time / common prep time (mandatory) / time to collaborate / time to function as inspired professionals
Get out of assembly line model of education
Current, high quality materials, resources and technology
Strong community partnerships
Autonomy
Opportunities for PD, staff development that is relevant to the students – not district mandated, and PD with teaching artists
Beauty, light, windows
Sharing resources across schools, districts
Revamp teacher evaluation system/teacher-generated standards
Less students in the classroom to be able to give them the support that they need
Each teacher giving themselves permission to take a risk, stretch and explore a new paradigm that is unfamiliar
Counselors/nurses to deal with student health needs
Space for art supplies / place to submit reciepts
$$$

What is our vision for teacher voice/teacher leadership? How will we spread our news?
Teacher collaboration across schools, districts, and counties by discipline – encourage cross pollination -> summer institutes -> January retreats -> meetings where teachers share vision
Documentation of powerful teaching and learning
Interview teachers
Interactive Websites, blogs, and lesson shares
Cable TV
Podcasts
Communicate effectively w/school board, district, community and students
Advocacy
Mills Scholars
Bay Area Writing Project
More voice in Department of Education, both state and federal level
Interact and display arts within and among community

How will we engage families and communities to ensure all children/families belong?
Equal distribution of budgeting
Social services support in all schools
Affective services for students with learning differences and their families
Language support for families and students
Translation of all school documents
Equal access to resources across school and district
Quality healthy breakfast, lunch and after school snacks
Quality after school age-appropriate care
Strengthen connections between schools and homes w/more communication
Move public libraries to schools
7-day school access=community centers
Family resource center in school site / childcare at meetings
Family art events drawing on our community talents
Draw upon family talents and expertise so they can be community teachers

How Should we get there? Share key takeaways
Name our collective assets…How can we connect the dots?
Share resources to bring in teaching artists
Improve communication
Create a Hub for Arts Education with dedicated resources—an office, books, resources, etc.
Create online hub for Arts Education events, PD, student exhibitions, etc.
Artists and art teachers are valued and part of all decisions
Fund stable budgets / less grants
Create and use political power to get stable funding
Equitable allocation of $$
Paradigm shift—horizontal, not vertical, let creativity rise to the top

What do we want need in order to do high quality assessment?
Assessments through rubrics so that both teachers and students know what the learning goals are
Align to the learning community needs
Smaller, more often
Knowing, doing and reflecting match assessment
Broader variety of assessments – project-based, performance-action based, culminating, and peer assessments
Tools for learning and growth
Student reflection and coaching tools
Time to create tools that work for our learning environments

What does pedagogy look like in this new world?
Lesson study – teacher reflection and collaboration
Impact of advanced technology; lesson delivery using technology
Learning by doing projects to build 21st century skills: communicate, collaborate, create, think critically
Interdisciplinary, project-based work that links arts to math, science, literature and history/social studies, health, culture, etc.
Common language to encompass all of our students

How might our schedule change to accommodate deeper learning contexts?
60-90 minute blocks of uninterrupted learning time (block schedule)
Time to process, practice collaboration, reflection and application
Stop pacing calendars
Less state and federal mandates, more district control
Flexibility
Less content/more depth on important standards
Core standards
Fewer walls between classroom and community; more experiential learning in the world
Greater integration of disciplines – collaborative staff
Teacher training – in addition to subject matter expertise, teachers are trained in collaboration and integration

Next Steps? Create an advocacy campaign where students, teachers, and parents create short YouTube videos to talk about importance of funding programs
Have this conversation with parents at schools
Attend the “Inventing Our Future” Summer Institute to connect with a larger network of educators and providers

The Arts Learning Leaders will meet again in Fall 2012 and look forward to sharing new work as well as progress on today’s conversation.

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