LAUSD’s Arts Education Initiative: Bridging Education, Arts & Industry

LOS ANGELES – Rory Pullens, executive director, Arts Education Branch of the Los Angeles Unified School District introduced a plan to bridge the gap between education, arts and industry to many of its community arts partners. Leading off with an exuberant and heartfelt welcome, Pullens effectively communicated to the audience that “Arts is core curriculum.” Over 75 community arts partners attended, along with the District’s Arts Integration and Specialists.
Victoria Lanier of Education through Music stated, “I’m excited about this event.  LAUSD laid out a plan – one that is transparent! The transparency of the plan for the community arts partners is good for the community and youth. I want to see LAUSD succeed! This is clearly a win-win for local business and local education.”

Part of the presentation included a networking exercise that allowed partners to interact and share their missions. Sunshine Sepulveda of the Senior High School Options Principal Organization commented, “One of the most amazing opportunities for us to share arts resources and community resources to educate the whole child. I’m very happy to see LAUSD re-energized and saw this meeting as the rekindling of good and positive relationships.“
L.A. Unified’s Steven McCarthy, K-12 arts coordinator said, that “We are fortunate to live in metropolitan Los Angeles, a national leader in arts and culture, and where the Creative industries are flourishing.” The 2009 Otis Report cited the creative arts as the second-largest economic generator in L.A. and Orange counties, generating $140 billion in annual sales and receipts, more than $5.1 billion in state and local taxes; and nearly one million in direct and indirect jobs. “We see this as a huge opportunity to increase student performance and provide exposure and career paths into this vibrant industry,” McCarthy added. “Contrary to popular opinion, these jobs are not those of starving artists. Positions in digital media, product design, architecture, entertainment, fashion; and in every other aspect of the visual and performing arts figure prominently in driving the wealth of Los Angeles.”
Besides providing its community arts partners with a historical overview of Art Education program, L.A. Unified officials presented its recently developed Arts Equity Index, a crucial tool developed by the Arts Education Branch that assigns levels for all District schools K-12 based on the scope of their arts instruction and resources.
With the support of the arts integration specialists and leaders, teachers also will have as part of their professional development both foundational knowledge in the arts disciplines, and the skills required to effectively create instructional pedagogy for all students in both the arts and the other arts integrated core subjects.

Contact: Thomas Waldman (213) 241-6766