The Castaic Union School District board of trustees voted 4-0 to approve a five-year strategic arts plan to implement a sustainable arts program for students across the district.
Kim Tredick, assistant superintendent of educational services, presented “CUSD 5-Year Arts Plan” to the board of trustees on Sept. 8 during Castaic district’s board of trustees meeting. According to the plan, district staff will promote the arts in an “equitable and inclusive way” for all students, and provide more opportunities to learn and experience the arts.
The plan was approved unanimously, with board President Laura Pearson absent.
“This is a result of hours and hours of work on behalf of teachers from all four schools and principals, as well,” Tredick said. “It was really a labor of love and passion because everybody on the committee does want to see visual and performing arts in the classrooms.”
The committee brainstormed and solidified three focus areas: increase student visual and performing arts, or VAPA, opportunities for cultural relevancy, build teacher capacity through systems of support and develop sustainable support for the arts.
“The first is to really increase the student VAPA opportunities for cultural relevancy — meaning that we want to make sure that everyone has the same opportunities to explore and experience a variety of art,” Tredick said.
“We want to make sure that our most valuable resource, our staff, and particularly our teachers, have the capacity to feel comfortable to teach music, art and drama. Then we also want to make sure that we can continue to sustain the support for the arts.”
According to district staff, the implementation of the arts program would be off to an “exciting start” because, after conducting their monthly financial report, staff found approximately $1 million could be allocated to the arts program.
“When we created this plan there are elements in there that we’re really focused on,” Tredick said. “Now we’re going to have a little bit of money to help.”
According to the plan, district staff plan to expose students to professional performances and showcases, and incorporate more opportunities for students to experience art whether it’s dancing outside as part of their physical education or take an artistic approach in math or English.
The plan also outlines ways to support teachers and staff, so they feel comfortable and prepared to incorporate art in their lessons. District staff described in the plan expanding curriculum through arts integration, opportunities for professional development and educating teachers on VAPA standards.
Lastly, district staff want to ensure the implementation of the plan can be self-sustaining after the initial five years by reassessing instructional priorities, expanding community involvement and creating spaces at their school sites for art activities.
According to district staff, the first year of the plan will focus on prioritizing art experiences for students such as an arts assembly, field trips to museums, a musical showcase or displaying student creations at the Westfield Valencia Town Center. Staff also outlined the possibility of hiring a music teacher at Northlake Hills Elementary as a way to increase art opportunities for students.
“With this nice little chunk of money, we’ll be able to kind of revamp and prioritize some of our actions in order to implement them in a much more thorough fashion,” Tredick said. “This plan does not at this time include any expenditures because we didn’t have any idea of what it was going to be.”