Following an in-depth search and selection process*, we are thrilled to welcome Finney Elementary in Chula Vista, Arts in Action Elementary and Middle Schools in Los Angeles, and Echo Valley Elementary in Salinas to our network of 24 schools, extending our reach to 1,600 additional students and teachers across California.
As we begin a new school year, we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that all students, no matter their zip code or background, have access to a high-quality and rigorous education that includes the arts. Our new partner schools share this vision and understand the power and potential the arts hold to create joyful, inclusive, and engaging learning environments for all students.
Turnaround Arts: California will work closely with these schools in the coming years to help them develop a comprehensive approach to using the arts across all facets of the school environment to benefit students, teachers, and families.
Meet our new partner schools:
Finney Elementary, Chula Vista
Finney Elementary is a K-6 grade school that serves 385 students. 84% of students receive free/reduced-price lunch, and 29% are English language learners. Finney’s team believes that the arts will engage their students, spark curiosity, and make them excited to be at school.
Principal Dr. Beverly Prange shares, “We are excited to expose Finney students to more of the arts and expand arts integration at our school. We know the arts help students develop collaboration, confidence, and creativity and can positively impact school engagement. Our students have faced a number of challenges as a result of the pandemic. We believe that investing in this partnership with Turnaround Arts will help us better address student needs.”
Arts in Action Elementary and Middle Schools, Los Angeles
Arts in Action Elementary serves 377 students in grades TK-5, while their middle school serves 248 students in grades 6-8. 95% of students receive free/reduced-price lunch, and 34% are English language learners.
Arts in Action Elementary believes the arts are how their students can connect to the world around them – to communicate across languages, engage in activism, and express themselves. They look forward to building collaboration among their teaching staff and offering more professional development opportunities in arts-based teaching strategies.
Arts in Action Middle School’s focus on social justice means they envision creating a learning environment where all students have the opportunity to explore various art forms and see themselves and their backgrounds reflected and celebrated daily. They see the arts as a way to serve the whole child and are excited to create more opportunities for their teachers to build their skills in leading for change in and through the arts.
Executive Director Kalin Balcomb shares, “We have found that the arts are incredibly important in meeting the needs of all learners. Art provides the forum for equity and access and can be harder to sustain and fund in low-income schools. The arts are an amazing tool for students to express themselves and understand the world around them. We look forward to expanding our art program and our capacity to reach all our students.”
Echo Valley Elementary, Salinas
Echo Valley Elementary is a K-6 grade school that serves 531 students. 100% of students receive free/reduced-price lunch, and 66% are English language learners. Echo Valley’s vision is to become the arts school in their community. Families are eager to become more involved, and the teachers and principal believe the arts will offer a greater access point into the school community. They are excited to expose their teachers to more art forms to use in their classrooms.
Principal Jacob Gile shares, “Our students are resilient, hard-working, creative, and kind. They have a passion for learning and thrive whenever we provide enrichment through the arts. We are excited to serve our students through the equitable, engaging, and student-centered learning offered and supported by Turnaround Arts.”
Now, what does our first year of work with these schools look like?
Turnaround Arts: California commits to working with each partner school for at least four years to ensure the long-term sustainability and impact of the arts across all facets of the school environment – including teacher collaboration, student learning, family engagement, and school culture and climate.
Our first year of partnership with these schools focuses on two parallel approaches: 1) team building and arts goal setting at each school site, and 2) engagement with our statewide network of schools and arts partners to exchange and amplify learnings built over the years. We focus on four primary areas:
- Mapping the rich cultural and family assets in each school community that can be leveraged to support student success.
- Building a team of teachers at each school who will, with the principal, create annual arts goals and act as the arts champions in the broader school community.
- Teaching new strategies to infuse the arts into classrooms to build engagement, learning, and community.
- Creating a multi-year plan to identify and roll out key strategies for targeted use of the arts across the school environment.
We are grateful to these schools and their teachers for choosing to invest deeply in their students through the arts, and we look forward to sharing more about their journeys in the coming year!
*Schools eligible for partnership include public elementary and middle schools where at least 75% of the student population qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch. We also prioritize schools that serve a majority students of color, English Language Learners, and schools identified by California for “comprehensive support and improvement.”