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Jan 20
Let Your Voice Be Heard

On Monday, January 9th, 2017, the Santa Clara County Office of Education held the first focus group meeting on the Visual and Peforming Arts Framework Revision.  Our superintendent, Mr. Jon Gundry gave participants a warm welcome and stressed the importance of the arts.  The focus group members gave thoughtful responses that were insightful, passionate, and encouraging.  Focus members represented content areas in the performing arts from across the bay area. 

Part of the process is to get input from the public.  Below you will find the focus group discussion questions and instructions.  If you were unable to attend and want to share your opinions, you can.  All Californians can respond to these questions and let your voice be heard.  If you have a concern about adopting the National Core Arts Standards in California, let it be known.  If you are excited to see changes, let it be known!  This is your opportunity to let your voice be heard on the VAPA standards. 

Responses are due by February 2, 2017.  See the questions, details, and information below.  Send in your response today!


Focus Group Discussion Questions

2018 Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards

Discussion of the following questions will ensure that the revision of California's Visual and Performing Arts Standards for California Public Schools: Pre-Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (VAPA Standards) includes the voice of arts educators in California.

1.    Identify some goals for arts education. At the end of their Pre-K–12 studies, students engaged in learning California's VAPA Standards should …

2.    The task at hand is to update California's VAPA Standards to reflect the content and structure of the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS). What suggestions do you have for updating them based on the structure, the scope and sequence, and the disciplines covered in the NCAS?

3.    What content in each of the core artistic disciplines should be covered in Pre-K–12 VAPA education?

    • What knowledge and capabilities would define a college-ready student in each discipline?
    • What knowledge and capabilities would define a career-ready student in each discipline? 

4.    Finally, what other recommendations do you have to ensure that California's VAPA Standards will be a useful tool for California's educators?

The public at large, and members of the public who are participating at either the primary location or the videoconference meeting sites, will have an opportunity to provide public comment to the above questions. The public may also e-mail their comments on these questions or other issues related to the revision of California's VAPA Standards to by February 2, 2017, to be included in public comments that will be forwarded to the Instructional Quality Commission and State Board of Education.

For more information and up-to-date notices, please visit​ ​

Dec 21
New Legislation to Promote Media Arts Education

Legislation was introduced December 2016 that willl help California showcase its role as a world leader by improving media arts education so students will be better prepared for jobs in movies, animation, video games, virtual reality, and other media arts fields.  This announcement came from Tom Torlakson, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  The bill, AB 37, was introduced by Assembly member Patrick O'Donnell of Long Bea​ch.  

"Classes in media arts teach young people how to express themselves creatively using the technology of today and the emergin technologies of the future," O'Donnell said.  "As a world leader in technological innovation, California should have strong programs in our schools that foster these valuable and increasingly marketable artistic skills. "  

Updated media arts standards will help teachers improve their practices and set rigorous learning expectations fro students. Media arts has six categories: animation, cinema, digital sound production, imaging design, interactive design, and virtual design.  Students will also learn how to collaborate, be flexible and adaptive, and work in teams, Torlakson said.  Employers value these skills.  

AB 37 requires Torlakson to select a group of expert elementary and secondary school teacher swho will recommend standards for media arts education.  Torlakson and the Instructional Quality Commission will conduct public hearing and report by November 2018 to the State Board of Education.  If the bill passes, it would go into effect on January 1, 2018.  

News Release - Legislation to Promote Media Arts Education​

Nov 21
California Arts Education Data Project - One Month Later

On October20th, 2016, the California Arts Education Data Project was launched.  The Arts Education Data Project shows how many students have access to the arts and how many students are participating in the arts in grades 6-12.  The data spans from 2013 – 2015.  Santa Clara County is above the state average with 44% of our students enrolled in at least one Arts course.  The data reflects enrollment in the areas of dance, music, visual art, theater, and arts media and entertainment (AME). 

The website has many great tools. The Interactive Dashboard lets you hone in on your county, district, and even site level data.  The Executive Summary gives a concise overview of the data including a look at access for Title I students versus non-Title I students.  There are many Resources on the front page as well.  These resources include FAQs, Roadmap for Districts, and Talking Points.  Lastly, the data is represented visually with a Map and graphics for those who are visual learners. 

You can access the website at this address:

The County Office of Education is here to help look at the data, how to use it to measure your arts plans, and create ways to support the arts in your school.  We are also available to present the Arts Education Data to your school board, district leaders, PTA, and other stakeholders.  Please contact us if you want more information.  

Arts Education Project Press Release:

Nov 15
VAPA Standards Focus Group

​In September 2016, Governor Brown ​approved Assembly Bill 2862.  It states that the National Core Arts Standards will be the basis for the revision of California's Visual and Performing Arts Standards and Framework.  The first steps in this three year process is to hold focus groups to gain input from the public on the revision of the VAPA standards.  The Santa Clara County Office of Education will hold the first focus group on January 9, 2017.  Applications for the focus group are due by December 1, 2016.  

Below is a letter from our State Superintendent of Public Education, Tom Torklason.  It has links to the application, dates of the focus groups, and more information.  

​​"November 4, 2016

Dear California Educators and Education Stakeholders:

Recruiting Focus Group Members for the Revision of the
Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools
(Pre-Kindergarten through Grade Twelve)
The California Department of Education (CDE) is pleased to announce that it is recruiting members for three focus groups to provide input on the revision of the Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools: Pre-Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (CA VAPA Content Standards). Per Assembly Bill 2862, Chapter 647, Education Code (EC) Section 60605.13, requires the Superintendent "in consultation with the Instructional Quality Commission, shall recommend to the state board revisions to the visual and performing arts content standards" based upon the National Core Arts Standards. To begin this process, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction is seeking arts educators and other stakeholders to participate in focus groups to provide input on the development of new CA VAPA content standards.
The CDE will convene three focus groups. Each focus group will include between 8 and 12 invitees who will be selected to ensure balanced representation of regions, educators, business/industry representatives, types of schools, and grade-level experience. A majority of the focus group should be educators at the time of appointment; however, business and industry representatives are also encouraged to apply. ​

Applicants should be a certificated educator holding a valid California teaching credential or a valid California services credential issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing who is employed by a local education agency or by a special education local planning area and who is not employed as an independent contractor or consultant.

All interested individuals are invited to apply. County and district superintendents and charter school administrators are encouraged to distribute the application link to potential applicants. Please note that there is no stipend for service on a focus group, and there will be no reimbursement for travel or substitute costs.

The focus group meetings will be open to the public, and comments made by both focus group members and members of the public at each meeting will be forwarded to the Instructional Quality Commission and the State Board of Education for consideration.

Focus group meetings are planned for the following dates and locations:

  • Santa Clara County Office of Education, Santa Clara (w/videoconferences at Alameda, San Mateo, and Stanislaus County Offices of Education), Monday, January 9, 2017 (4–6 p.m.)
  • California Department of Education, Sacramento (w/videoconferences at Butte, Humboldt, and Shasta County Offices of Education) Thursday, January 26, 2017 (4–6 p.m.)
  • Los Angeles County Office of Education, Downey (w/videoconferences at Fresno, San Diego, and San Bernardino County Offices of Education), Monday, January 30, 2017 (4–6 p.m.)

A more detailed agenda will posted on the CDE's VAPA Content Standards Web page at prior to each event. Once appointed, focus group members will receive information to prepare for attending their focus group meeting.

To apply to be a member of a focus group, please use the online application form on the CDE's VAPA Content Standards Web page at Online applications must be submitted and résumés must be e-mailed to no later than 3 p.m. on Thursday, December 1, 2016.

If you have any questions regarding focus groups, please contact Jim Long, Education Programs Consultant, Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division, by phone at 916-323-4583 or by e-mail at


Tom Torlakson"

VAPA FG Recruitment Flyer.pdf


 We are honored and excited to host the first focus group.  I hope you will submit your application and represent our county.  If you have any questions on the VAPA Framework revisions, the California Arts Education Data Project, or anything VAPA, please contact us! 

art and steam.PNG 

Feb 05
Arts Policy Update

​Well, it certainly seems like arts education is picking up STEAM - pardon the pun, but literally, arts integration is everywhere.  Whether schools are calliing is STEM+Arts or STEAM, there is no denying the momentum of arts integration to make learning meaningful and connected.

Recent legislation also points towards support for the arts via STEAM as evidenced at the national level with Senator Suzanne Bonamici's STEAM caucus to the passage of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  From our friends at Americans for the Arts:

The Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into law last Thursday, includes the arts alongside math and language arts in its definition of a "well-rounded education." That ensures that arts education programs and teachers are eligible to receive federal funds through provisions such as Title I, which supports disadvantaged students, and Title II, which supports teachers. 

The arts also make appearances in other parts of ESSA. The new law offers funding specifically for integrating arts into STEM, and also includes a $20 million grant program for arts education, known as the Assistance for Arts Education grant program, which replaces a similar program from the No Child Left Behind Act. The Every Student Succeeds Act also gives states "more flexibility in how they allocate resources to low-performing schools and set accountability measures than before, which means arts education advocates will now be turning to states to ensure that federal funds actually make their way to eligible arts programs."

In Sacramento, Senator Ben Allen is also sponsoring a bill to offer single subject credentials for theater and dance teachers.  In an effort to increase the number of public schools offering theater and dance, Senator Allen unveiled SB916.  After many years of recognizing this need, we are excited about having this bill pass this year!


Jan 05
January 5, 2016

​Happy New Year!

On behalf of the Artspiration Team, we would like to wish you the best during this new year. 

As it is with fresh starts, beginnings and resolve,  may I encourage you to view the National Core Arts Standards, if you haven't already perused/used them, and note the four artistic processes. The Standards were introduced last June after a 2-year creation process and are Common Core-aligned, with the intent to have students artistically literate by the time they graduate from high school. 

Where do you see alignments in your program?  What can you introduce students to right away - can you use the standards language, especially the anchor standards under each process.  Challenge your students to respond. 

For your New Year's arts resolution - consider bookmarking the NCAS page and create your own online custom handbook!  You can select the grade level, discipline and other features to fit your class/program.

ncas.png "May the Creative Force Be with You" this school year!

About this blog
Welcome to the Artspiration blog. Thank you for supporting the Arts!