This Arts Education Spotlight is a special guest post from our Arts Education Director, Sarah Brothers. This exciting update is the result of months of advocacy and a true collaborative team effort between Sarah, Live Oak School District (LOSD) Arts Now lead Veronique Marks, the LOSD principals, the Live Oak Ed Foundation, and Audrey Sirota, the County Office of Education Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator. Learn more about our Arts Education programs here.

Exciting things are happening in Live Oak School District elementary schools! 

Shortly after the launch of the Arts Now Community for arts education advocacy last March, the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant budget cuts which resulted in the loss of funding for the music and art teachers at the TK-5 level. However, parents, advocates, teachers, and administrators rallied and creatively strategized new ways to ensure their students could still have access to the arts this year. 

With the collective support of Superintendent Lorie Chamberland, the Live Oak Education Foundation, Home and School Groups, and Arts Council Santa Cruz County, all three elementary schools are now reinstating arts education programming for all students TK-5. The district committed Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) funds, all three elementary schools received $2,000 SPECTRA matching grants, and home and school groups are fundraising to supplement. 

All students TK-5 will receive a minimum of 30 minutes a week of Visual Arts for 12 weeks, and 4th and 5th graders will receive an hour a week for 16 weeks. Students will be provided with all needed arts materials to complete their projects. 

Teachers are gearing up to engage in the arts, and will submit their students’ work for the County Youth Art Exhibit, put on by Art Council Santa Cruz County and the Santa Cruz COE this spring.

We are thrilled that Live Oak School district students will be now receiving equitable access to arts education programming at a time when the arts are needed in the lives of students more than ever! The arts are a powerful tool for socio-emotional development and will be essential for student connection, expression, and healing.

Parents, this spring be sure to attend your district’s public parent meetings about the LCAP to make your voice heard and get the arts included in the LCAP document as a priority. This will ensure that the arts are always a core part of our children’s education as delineated in the ESSA and state educational code.

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