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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 7, 2010
Professional Development Outreach to Benefit Local School Districts
This week marked the beginning of what will become, for the five school districts in the Santa Clarita Valley, a hallmark of their efforts to bring sustainable Arts Education to every one of their 55,000-plus students.
The Santa Clarita Valley K-12 Arts Education Consortium, a partnership that developed as a result of the Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education program, announced the 31 teachers who will make up the first cohort of local educators to participate in a year-long series of workshops that will focus on developing an understanding of the arts.
The selected teachers will be provided tools and techniques to integrate the arts into their classrooms. They will also address curriculum requirements and develop concrete and measurable ways to enhance arts education for SCV K-12 students.
“This program is a natural fit for College of the Canyons and our education partners in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook. “In an era of limited resources, we can accomplish much more by joining together and combining our strengths and know-how. Great things will come of this partnership for those involved, and most importantly, for all of the students we serve together throughout the community.”
The following teachers from the Castaic Union, Newhall, Saugus Union, Sulphur Springs and William S. Hart Union school districts were selected because of their demonstrated commitment to improving the education of SCV students in and through the arts: Lynda Ashley, Sylvia Borg-Otting, Gayle Berentsen, Renee Branam, Geneen Caskey, Susan Cherritt-Nave, Linda Davis, Carolee Doing, Trisha Dominguez, Dina Echols, Cindy Edwards, Cheryle Ehrlich, John Fossa, Susan Friedman, Margo Grisanti, Sally Haggen, Cynthia Hatton, Brenda Keller, Cynthia Kirk, Lee Erin Kurimoto, Joan LaMarr, Dulce Mogan, Cate Muro, Priscilla Nielsen, Julie Sheldon, Tara Speiser, Jennetta Thomas, Jennifer Twitchell, Melissa Valencia, Dianne White and Kristine Wilde.
The Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Program is designed to assist arts organizations throughout the nation develop and/or expand educational partnerships with local school systems in order to establish arts-based professional development programs for teachers. The program is based on the belief that educating teachers is an essential component of any effort to increase the artistic literacy of young people.
The Consortium is made up of assistant superintendents from each school district and is the result of participation in the Partners in Education Program, which was advanced through a critical partnership between the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons (PAC) and the individual school districts. Select members, funded by the Kennedy Center, traveled to and participated in workshops at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. There they gained insights into arts integration and developed an understanding of the resources required to launch a professional development in the arts initiative.
With continued resources provided by the school districts, as well as the Kennedy Center, participating teachers will discover the benefits of integrating arts with other curriculum by creating activities that build upon already-established arts education standards -- The California Visual Arts and Performing Arts Content Standards, or VAPA.
K-12 teachers participating in the first cohort have committed to the full year’s program, which includes approximately 15 hours of workshop experience as well as in-class activities that are recorded and quantified. Kennedy Center-trained teaching artists will lead the workshops in the various arts genres so that each teacher achieves the proposed outcomes. The outcomes include gaining a deeper understanding of the beauty, depth and range of the arts, the value of the arts in aesthetic terms, and proven value associated with a well-rounded education.
“The Sulphur Springs School District is looking forward to this unique partnership and the opportunity it brings to enrich and inform teachers through exceptional professional development,” said SSSD Superintendent Dr. Robert Nolet. “Arts education plays a critical part in every child's education. We are (eagerly) anticipating the many years of working together to strengthen the role arts integration plays in the lives of our students.”
Professional Development in arts education is a sub-component of the PAC’s K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program that uses College of the Canyon's vast cultural and community resources to provide high-level arts education programming to every student in Santa Clarita.
With the united efforts of school district administrators in the creation of the SCV K-12 ArtsEd Consortium and the subsequent establishment of professional development outreach for arts education, Santa Clarita schools are positioned to be among the leaders in creative arts education in the region.