Welcome to Artspiration
A Santa Clara County Arts Education Initiative
Resource Development. Advocacy & Communications. Community Collaborations.
For a child, acting in a school play can mean fantasy, a new persona and travel to an imaginary, distant land. But by participating in the arts, the student is also preparing for the challenges of a near, very real world: a 21st century global marketplace that requires creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication and problem solving. Theatre, music, visual arts and dance all cultivate this imperative collection of skills – the very abilities that employers currently report are most lacking in high school graduates.
And that is why the Santa Clara County Office of Education continues its mission to ensure that every student in the county has access to quality arts in all forms as part of a comprehensive education that sparks curiosity, creativity and joy. Launched in fall 2009, Artspiration is a countywide initiative to provide arts education for all public school students, and to begin rebuilding in Santa Clara County schools what was progressively eroded from K-12 education over the last 30 years.
Artspiration is a Santa Clara County Initiative that supports professional development, advocacy, and student engagement. But even more, it's a team of individuals (administrators, teachers, parents, students, community leaders and artists) who are working on different projects to bring more arts into all classrooms.
But it's even more than that.
It's a community-backed movement to bring back creativity and innovation. This website is one small step to help that vision along and share it with others.
Why do we need the arts in Santa Clara County?
In fall 2011, the Santa Clara County Office of Education commissioned a survey in 31 school districts to detail the state of arts education, including services provided to their 13,000 teachers and instruction accessible to 262,000 students. Twenty-five of the districts completed the survey, yielding a response rate of 81 percent. (please note - the Fall 2012 survey is currently taking place as we wanted to wait until after the November 2012 election)
The following key findings of the survey are representative of the school districts that responded:
- While school leaders express strong support of arts education and the value of the arts to engage students and increase achievement, systemic approaches to teaching music, theatre, dance and visual arts are lacking.
- Only 21 percent have adopted a sequential, standards-based arts education policy. The arts and arts education are mentioned in 56 percent of districts’ missions, visions or goals.
- Few districts have staff to coordinate and lead work in the arts. Only 7 percent of districts have a full-time arts coordinator, and another 26 percent report a part-time coordinator.
- Funding sources for the arts vary in Santa Clara County. Many districts would not have arts programs without the support of parents and other nonprofits. Thirty-three percent of districts rely on PTA support, 42 percent on district or school education foundations, 29 percent on parcel taxes, and another 17 percent depend on private grants from external foundations and corporations.
- Professional development in any areas of the arts, assessment and integration is available to teachers in 70 percent of districts. Ninety-four percent of training is in visual arts, 67 percent in music, 39 percent in theatre, and 39 percent in dance.
- Despite challenging economic times and statewide flexibility allowed for categorical budgets, 84 percent of districts did not intend to reduce any arts programs for the 2011/2012 school year, which is an increase from 69 percent in the 2010/2011 school year.
How can you get involved?