District awarded two grants


Santa Clarita Valley school districts are attempting to provide a comprehensive education to their students by exposing the young scholars to the arts, as well as the conventional subjects of science, math and English.

In an effort to assist with the integration of the arts into its curriculum, the Saugus Union School District has been awarded two separate grants that both seek to boost the musical and theatrical offerings available to the district’s 9,000 students.

The first of the two grants will award $22,600 from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and will be used to fund African or Caribbean drumming instruction, district leaders said. Saugus Union is expected to match the allocated funds, meaning more than $40,000 will go to its 15 school sites.

“The arts are a valuable part of a complete 21st Century educational experience,” Superintendent Colleen Hawkins said. “All of our schools strive to provide a robust arts education for all students, and these grants will allow us to continue growing and enriching these opportunities.”

Some school sites, such as West Creek Academy, housed a similar program last year, but now every fourth-grader in the district will gain access to the drumming classes.

The second grant, which is a portion of a larger grant given to The Music Center by the Annenberg Foundation, will allow the district’s Title I schools to take part in a program called Dancing Into the Next Generation Science Standard.

The Music Center’s grant will cover a three-year period and provide professional development for all teacher participants. Planning sessions, evaluations, assessments and an arts integration residency taught by a teaching artist from The Music Center will also be included, district leaders said. The Annenberg Foundation Grant to the Music Center totaled $3 million, and SUSD is the only district in Los Angeles County’s fifth supervisory district – which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, Antelope Valley and parts of the San Fernando Valley – to receive a share.

The program will involve 4 to 6 teachers per Title I site, which includes Rio Vista, Cedarcreek, Highlands and Skyblue Mesa Elementary schools.

“These grants are the direct result of the hard work of our Arts Integration Teachers on Special Assignment, Melissa Valencia and Cate Muro,” said Isa De Armas, the district’s assistant superintendent of education services. “Their dedication to arts in the classroom knows no bounds and our students are the beneficiary of that focus.”

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