Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Amador and its Arts Education is Lauded on Statewide Broadcast

Amador County is gaining ground in establishing one of the most advanced education policies in the state that utilizes the arts for teaching. In a recent statewide webinar broadcast, AmadorArts Executive Director Meghan O’Keefe was one of six invited speakers. She addressed how the county is moving quickly forward with developing an Arts Education Plan. Listeners were wowed by the success story that O’Keefe described which is now being used as a model state-wide on how to accomplish such a plan.

The story begins back in 2012 when the Amador Alliance for Arts Education (AAAE) was formed and subsequent steps taken to start the process, such as adopting the Declaration of Equity in Arts Learning, helping youth to enter the statewide “Student Voices” campaign, using radio to spotlight arts education, and adopting March as Arts Education Month.  

Fast forward to mid- July 2018, when AAAE, in collaboration with the Amador County Arts Council (AmadorArts) and the Amador County Unified School District, engaged in a workshop series called the Arts Planning Initiative. Facilitated by the California Alliance for Arts Education, the effort was three full days centered on developing a district wide Arts Education plan specifically designed to meet the needs of Amador’s unique community. The diverse team of 25 was steadfast in its work to craft a plan that will meet and exceed the California Education Standards for Arts Education.  Participants included local community members, business leaders, teachers, students, parents, ACUSD administrators, alumni, artists, and arts leaders.

The 2018 Student Voices Campaign, seen here in Oakland with Meghan O'Keefe on right,
was just one of many recent projects of the Amador Alliance for Arts Education. 
The Arts Plan will address equity in access to the arts, integrated arts curriculum, and teacher training, among other community priorities. It will ensure that ALL students are able to reach their full potential by having a curriculum that promotes creativity and the arts, vital for the workforce of tomorrow.

O’Keefe expresses her gratitude to the team of 25, the ACUSD Administrators, and to the ACUSD School Board Trustees and the California Arts Council for their support of this program. She goes on to say, “We are leaders in advocacy, fundraising, and community partnerships. The ‘State of The Arts’ in Amador County is strong.”  She asserts that this strength is driving the community into educational and economic success, as Amador embraces the undeniable presence of The Arts in all aspects of its unique, rural culture. 

The Arts Education Data Project is a key tool that statewide arts councils are using to approach their school districts. Visitwww.createca.net . If you have any questions, or would like to participate in the on-going AAAE effort, please contact O’Keefe at AmadorArts, 209-267-9038.

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