By Jacob Campbell, Program Manager for Turnaround Arts: California
I recently made a trip out to Santa Ana, CA, to see how Sierra Preparatory Academy’s first year as a Turnaround Arts: California partner school has been going, and I was blown away by the infusion of arts projects and instructional strategies that have begun to permeate all areas of this special school.
An interview with Dan Donovan, Digital Media Arts Teacher at Willard Intermediate
What is the Arts Leadership Team (ALT)? How did you form Willard’s team?
The ALT is a core group of teachers and administrators charged with leading a positive shift in school culture and building staff capacity to utilize arts-based teaching strategies and arts integration to boost student achievement. Following the 2016 Turnaround Arts Summer Leadership Retreat, which I attended with our principal, Amy Scruton, and our 8th grade Science teacher, Laura Compton, we were energized to share this amazing program with our Willard Intermediate School community. Part of being a Turnaround Arts: California partner schools involves developing a Strategic Arts Plan (SAP) to identify our school’s short- and long-term goals and guide our use of the arts to move toward those goals. With the development of this living document in mind, we set out to create an ALT that was representative of all grade levels and content areas.
Gather ’round, everyone. This story begins on an unseasonably warm Wednesday in March. Arts leaders from Avenal, Burbank (Hayward), Fremont-Lopez and Warren Lane gathered at the Fresno County Office of Education for a mid-year Turnaround Arts: California workshop. They laughed, they danced, and they “tableau-ed.” Their objectives: to reflect on arts-based successes at their schools and to plan for continued growth.
School teams began by breaking down their successes using the language of theater. As each group reflected, the room came alive with frozen pictures of after-school dance clubs, whole-school gallery nights, and other arts-based achievements.