Reef Sunset Unified School District
In the spring of 2010, following a meeting with members of the school community, Avenal Elementary began making changes towards school improvement, which included hiring a new principal and many new staff members.
The new leadership focused on four areas: professional learning, after-school tutorial program, teaching Response to Intervention classes, and partnering with P.S. ARTS to provide visual arts residencies and full-time arts classes aligned with state standards. Since becoming a Turnaround Arts: California partner school in 2014, the school has introduced music instruction, band, and an after-school drama club. Teachers have participated in arts integration focused professional development through Focus 5 and the Fresno County Office of Education. Field trips have included The Getty Museum, The Enchanted Playhouse Theater Company, Fresno State student drama performances, and Arte Americas Cultural Center. Students have performed at winter and spring concerts and produced their first-ever school musical, Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka Kids. The school has also held family arts night, where families were invited to create artwork with their children. As part of the Turnaround Arts: California Regional Coach Program, the school receives ongoing, in-person coaching in arts integration strategies and strategic arts planning from P.S. ARTS. Avenal’s Turnaround Artist, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, has participated in arts integration lessons, coached the cast of Willie Wonka Kids, and hosted students at the Hollywood Bowl, where he performed in Monty Python’s Spamalot.