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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Amplifying Youth and Parent Voice to Activate Socially Just Policy Change

The Communication for Motivating Change Oversight Committee is a power-house group of leaders representing Youth Leadership and Youth Artists, Parent Leaders locally and statewide, and experts in communications and lobbying. This group had a conversation about how to collectively transform public education through the arts on May 23, 2012 –

This group will review the synthesis that emerges from the overall conversations, and use it to guide their leadership, decisionamking, community organizing and communications and policy agenda in 2012-13
Mapping the Next 10 Years Conversation
Our Vision for 2023
The arts are in every school, every day.
There is so much arts funding that arts organizations are struggling to keep up and find ways to resources effectively.
Workers are required to take a 10 minute creative work break every day.
In the future, if a child opens a Time Capsule from 2012 he will be shocked to find out about bubble tests, school schedule with no arts, the CA State Budget and Art Teachers getting “Pink Slips”.
There is no need for on-going advocacy. Everybody accepts and supports the value of Arts.
Arts are integrated into all subjects; and there are full scholarships for teachers who attend and participate in Arts learning trainings. Deep connections are established among arts organizations.

In terms of developing youth voice, parent voice and policy change……
There are strong examples of youth voice amplified through arts that begins wiht youth experience, draws on community connections, and develops strong artistic skills so that students are creating new culture

Cross-age Relevance Cross-cultural
Radiates out
Media Performances

There is now both a statewide and regional focus on the arts as a learning and engagement tool for parents and families.
Opportunities and successful models are in place, such as the California PTA School Smarts program, 100 Families Alameda County and Art Esteem organizing in West Oakland. CAPTA has position statements on the importance of the arts for the whole child.

Arts Learning Leaders have successfully built relationships in the Bay Area so that local, state and federal policymakers consult with and listen to us. We have shaped a conversation about the need for new performance assessments that require, rather than push out, deeper learning in and through arts.
We have made progress on our policy agenda as evidenced by a new generation of assessments that will be performance based, and the statewide Create CA initiative to bring arts into California schools.
We need to build a popular movement where people understand the power of arts towards a better and shared vision for a future that is socially just.
We need to demystify the political and policy processes in order to support more people to present ideas, develop voices and network. We need to popularize what the issues are and the strategies for building equity and fair distribution of resources.
Organizations working with youth need to collaborate and aggregate the power of youth voice and vision. We must involve youth as essential leaders in the social change effort.
We must get out of the arts education silo and connect with STE(A)M initiatives, pre-schools, common core, etc.
How are Arts a part of the solution?

Identify who we want to communicate with and what we need to do to communicate well. We need to communicate shared values.
Consider how the arts connect youth (all of us) to our future and our dreams.

Create pathways (through collaboration) so that the public can see what kids are doing.


Arts Educators in the San Francisco Brown Bag Collaborative Think Outside the Box!

On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, over 30 arts educators representing major arts organizations, community arts organizations, after school and higher education gathered for their monthly self-organizing networking meeting at the San Francisco Library to consider the question “How can we collectively transform public education to create a better future for everyone?”

Where Are We Now:
• It is great to have community and a safe place to share ideas, such as the Arts Education Brown Bag where we share values, come together and learn from each other
• This blog is a hub we can use. What other online places are available to us?
• Organic nature of discussion important
• Good way to survey arts landscape
• Optimism with demise of No Child Left Behind – New Beginnings
• Here with people who are interested in doing good – idealism encouraged!

Where Do We Want to Go and Why:
• Stark difference between schools in different communities – how to address/bridge that?
• How do we un-silo arts orgs/schools?
• Figure out who we are serving now – how to serve everyone
• Mapping together would be useful
o Alliance for ALL can facilitate mapping at future meeting
o Clear language in map
o not just which schools are getting what, but what we have in the community to offer
o need to include school principals
• Coordination key in showing resources available
• We want to leverage our programs together
• We want to talk about arts as a core value
• Clarity in our language
• We want to talk from our heart about what we believe
• Let’s not make assumptions about what people value
• Step out of “roles” and have real conversation
• We want to work with the school district in this process. We need to know what they’re planning, to know how we can move forward
• We need to be present at community meetings, make people accountable and integrate our work
• We can support the process to create an arts supplement to the CCSESA Common Core toolkit
• We can help teachers in their practice so they deepen student learning
• Include foundation program officers/ funders in this conversation

How we will get there:
• Advocate within own organizations, have larger conversation about how we want to educate our children within our organizations
• Parents need to get in and use voice to PTA
• Develop common language to use with our (non-arts) community? That maps onto common values and Amplifies student voice
• Mapping piece exciting – knowledge leads to more opportunities and collaborations
• Appreciation that this process values all voices in the community
• Hurdle – until we overcome bubble tests we’re sisyhpus pushing the rock up the mountain – we must change attitudes about how schools are judged
• Afterschool: let’s remember them
• Pre service teachers need to be engaged in arts learning from the start
• Getting to bottom of what teachers really need
• What is our vision for better future for EVERYONE – challenge to consider this in our competitive culture/ this isn’t just about serving some – talking about politics here
• Being accountable and responsible for EVERY CHILD
• Grappling with Breadth vs Depth – should we reach every child in shallow engagement or work with 10 schools and work deeply
• Keep returning to pragmatic questions and stakeholders who need to be involved
• Working on ground level – volunteering to teach
• Commitment to educating ourselves about what’s happening and keep students in loop
• Resources sharing/ shared sense of vision – how does it manifest in our own organizations? Offering that back to other organizations
• Excited about places of collaboration instead of feeling competitive / finding shared vision without changing who you are reaching out to community
• Great to be in space where addressing equity – Bay Area districts compared to Dallas
• We will have a “Bigger” Thought in the Bay Area

Next steps:
• Invite Create CA to SF
• Talk about doing good work, talk about things we care about
• Community meetings
• Deepen instruction – learning – new assessments
• Mapping what this community can provide
• Leverage partnerships to meet bigger need/ can’t serve all students alone
• Communication amongst providers
• “Unsiloing” providers
• Interdisciplinary planning
• Start with mapping
• Map to brown bag, working tool
• Agreed on language/ direct language about program, coherence
• Equalization/ coordination/ equity

A Conversation in Washington DC about Californians Working Together

Name Louise Music
Date of conversation Friday, April 13, 2012
Conversation Participants
On April 13, participants at the Arts Education Partnership Spring Forum in Washington DC, met for a lunchtime conversation to discuss opportunities and challenges unique to California. 14 leaders gathered at lunchtime. They were: Anthony Cantrell from CSU Northridge, Julie Fry – Program Officer at the Hewlett Foundation, Martha McKenna, Michael McCarthy and Lisa Donavon from Lesley University, Eric Engdahl from Cal State East Bay, Browning Neddeau from University of San Francisco, Julia Marshal from San Francisco State, Jessica Mele from Performing Arts Workshop, Oren Slozberg from Visual Thinking Strategies, Lauren Stevenson, researcher and writer, Sharon Herpin from West Ed, Linda Johnson from Streetside Stories and Louise Music from the Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership
Meeting Topics? The conversation was framed around benchmark opportunities in California such as Create CA (the statewide effort by the California Department of Education and California Arts Council to bring arts into every school), planning for the Bay Area National Arts in Education Week in September, legislation to create a Creativity Index to assure access to opportunities for creativity in schools, and the November ballot initiatives to raise money for schools (the millionaire tax sponsored by the CTA and the governor’s office, and Our Children, Our Future sponsored by the CA PTA.
Photo: courtesy students at the Arts and Humanities Academy at Berkeley High School, from the RADIATE project – an interdisciplinary study of radiation, issues of power, language and visual arts
Where are we now? Share key takeaways
The group brainstormed ideas about how to demonstrate the intrinsic value of the arts for individual and collective solution finding:
a. Connect to Linked Learning
b. Get out of the arts education silo
c. Connect Lesley University cohorts to local networking and learning opportunities by creating and distributing a packet of resources
d. “Tagging” resources and compiling them into resources that make them easily accessible
e. Connect with CAAE’s local advocacy networks to schools, districts, higher education and each other
f. Connect and mobilize teachers
g. Convene arts teachers to name their value and their new leadership role in helping all teachers learn to teach in and through the arts
h. Host a ShoM-apalooza for dance, music, visual, media arts and drama teachers
i. Dance and theater credential
Where should we go, and why? Share key takeaways
Next Steps:
Think about Pollinators in Teacher preparation, Pre- Service and In-service- Work together to eliminate access to arts learning through inequitable zip code predictability
-Focus on schools in most need and directly confront issues of poverty, race and trauma through the arts.- Prepare teachers for reality and change making
– Define role of teachers
– Define role of teaching artists
– All educators creating deep and important learning toward valuable purposes
– Connect to common core movement
– Move from a stance of hoping to be included to bringing arts educators as resources that can help
How Should we get there? Share key takeaways Connect to Systemic Strategies and Systems
1. CORE – 7 school districts in California
2. CSUs / Bob Bullwinkle Fresno COE

Define the knowledge, skills and dispositions that every child should develop through our California public education experienceDefine what we can imagine that children can develop into and become
– Dream, Design, and Critique
– Diane Ravitch “Will California lead the Nation?” YES

Next Steps?
Assemble a committee to review the CDE’s Education Blueprint in order to:
o Connect arts as solutions to Blueprint goals
o Include non-arts educators
o Revisit the goals and make sure they are the right ones
o Assure content integrity in all disciplines
o Professional development in eco-literacy
o here’s how arts educators can help complete the Blueprint and what needs to be added

 Draw on Lauren Stevenson’s Ethnographic study of Destiny Arts as a means to craft the language to emerge from boundaries and to describe:
– How we live
– Social lives
– Artistic lives
– Make wordles of Destiny kids experiences: Involve Destiny Kids and others


Photo: courtesy students at the Arts and Humanities Academy at Berkeley High School, from the RADIATE project – an interdisciplinary study of radiation, issues of power, language and visual arts


I have just returned from meetings in Coronado California where the California Department of Education, the California Arts Council and the California County Superintendents of Education Services Association were convening working groups comprised of individual and organizations from across the state to consider how to bring learning in and through the arts into the public education of every child, in every school.  This initiative is called Create CA, and is inspired not only by the recognition that current education policies are failing to prepare California’s students for the complex and challenging future they are growing into, but that current education policies are doing little to stem a horrific drop out rate, especially for Latino and African American students who are facing an unacceptable future of poverty, violence and encarceration.

Work groups were organized around issues of Educator Quality and Professional Preparation, Policy and Politics, Equity and Access, Collaborative Relationships, Creative Workforce, Research and Evidence Building, Curriculum and Instruction and School Finance and Sustainability.  The Bay Area was well represented by the San Francisco MoMA, San Francisco Ballet, KQED, Oakland Unified School District, Oakland School for the Arts, Performing Arts Workshop, Luna Kids Dance, Teaching Artists Organized, San Francisco State University, Alameda County Office of Education, Contra Costa County Office of Education, California College of the Arts, Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education and the San Francisco Arts Commission.

There was so much synergy and overlap in Coronado with the conversation that Helena Carmena Young convened across multiple organizations at the California Academy of Sciences.  There the topics included educator quality and curriculum and instruction through STEAM collaborations.  So it was with the convening of multiple organizations and individuals at the San Francisco MoMA, as described by Leyna Lightman, where the dream of a renaissance through the arts for equity, access and growing a healthy and vital economy was launched.

Across the Greater Bay Area and this large and diverse state, individuals and organizations are recognizing that while everyone has too much to do already, it makes nothing but good sense to talk to each other and work  together.  Through these multiple and intersecting entry points and processes, an understanding of both the challenges and the wisdom embedded in our communities is emerging.  This emerging understanding is a huge resource that can inform economies of scale, complimentary expertise, and mutually reinforcing activities as a support to new solutions that would never be possible if we all continued to work individually and in isolation – no matter how much money we had available.

The idea is spreading that we are at an important moment where we understand that we not only can we make a collective impact toward a better future for everyone, but that we must employ our most creative powers and energy to create collective solutions that work with our natural environment as well as our human dispositions toward learning, interdependence and community.

The opportunity for this on-line conversation to connect individuals and communities

I am here at the first Synthesis meeting.  Everyone here is reflecting on what has been posted in the stream of conversations, and thinking about what this on-line conversation and blogging could be good for.

Others in this synthesis process are triggering me to think about the bridges between teachers and students, teachers and teaching artists, families and communities.  I am wondering about how those relationships can be captured in photos and stories, and then shared in this on-line space to communicate about how poetry, music and dance facilitate connections and make similarities and differences visible.

An interesting aspect of the discussion today had to do with clustering ideas and patterns culled from the conversations to create a map of the various stakeholders (tracking who is currently in the conversation and who is not), track the actions they are taking, notice hubs and think about complimentary expertise and mutually reinforcing activities that can help everyone to be more effective.