Unfinished Canvas: Local Partnerships in Support of Arts Education in California, An

Arts and Culture, Education and Literacy

Unfinished Canvas: Local Partnerships in Support of Arts Education in California, An

In 2006, at the request of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, SRI International conducted a study aimed at assessing the status of arts education in California relative to state goals. The final report, An Unfinished Canvas. Arts Education in California: Taking Stock of Policy and Practice, revealed a substantial gap between policy and practice. The study found that elementary schools in particular are failing to meet state goals for arts education. In light of these findings, The Hewlett Foundation commissioned a series of follow-up studies to identify policy mechanisms or other means of increasing student access to arts education. This study, focusing on the ability of school districts to leverage support for arts education through partnerships with local arts organizations, is one of the follow-up studies.

Partnerships may allow for the pooling of resources and lend support to schools in a variety of ways including artists-in-residency programs, professional development for teachers, exposing students to the arts through the provision of one-time performances at school sites, and organizing field trips to performances and exhibits. According to the California Visual and Performing Arts Framework for California Public Schools, partnerships among districts, schools, and arts organizations are most successful when they are embedded within a comprehensive, articulated program of arts education. Questions about the nature of partnerships that California districts and schools have been able to form with arts organizations, and the success of these partnerships to increase students' access to a sequential standards-based course of study in the four arts disciplines, served as the impetus for this study.

A team of SRI researchers conducted case studies of partnerships between districts and arts organizations in six diverse California communities in spring 2008. The case study sites were selected for their particular arts education activities and diverse contexts and, as a result, do not offer generalizable data about partnerships between school districts and arts organizations in California. Instead, we highlight the ways that a sample of partnerships promotes arts education in California elementary schools to inform others who may be interested in building partnerships between school districts and arts organizations.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-California

Work-Based Learning in California: Opportunities and Models for Expansion

Children and Youth;Education and Literacy

Work-Based Learning in California: Opportunities and Models for Expansion

Work-based learning is an educational strategy that links academic instruction with the world of work. By itself, it is a powerful tool for motivating students and enhancing learning. But it holds particular promise in the context of multiple pathways, an approach to high school reform in California that seeks to prepare more young people for success both in college and the workplace. This report by WestEd takes a broad look at work-based learning in California: how it is practiced, what it looks like when done well and how it could be expanded to engage more students.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-California

Making Progress Through California Multiple Pathways: Findings from the ConnectEd Network of Schools Evaluation, 2007-2008

Children and Youth, Education and Literacy

Making Progress Through California Multiple Pathways: Findings from the ConnectEd Network of Schools Evaluation, 2007-2008

High school students participating in 16 California multiple pathways programs generally graduated at higher rates, met university requirements in greater numbers, performed better on high school exit exams and were more engaged in school and learning. This report summarizes a 2007-2008 study of the ConnectEd Network of Schools, capturing positive results as well as challenges. Results are not considered conclusive, but provide encouragement and insight as Irvine launches a larger-scale demonstration: the California Multiple Pathways District Initiative. The report is also intended to offer insights to funders, policymakers and practitioners who, like Irvine, see great potential in California multiple pathways to help students build a strong foundation for success in college and career -- and life. The study was conducted by MPR Associates, Inc., a leading education research and consulting firm.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-California

In and Beyond Schools: Putting More Youth on the Path to Success with Integrated Support

Education and Literacy

In and Beyond Schools: Putting More Youth on the Path to Success with Integrated Support

As it becomes increasingly clear that a rich set of skills beyond academic knowledge is needed to thrive in college and career, schools must create the learning environments that help youth develop the range of knowledge, skills, and mindsets that research links to postsecondary success. In 2010-2011, 83,469 California youth left school without a high school diploma. Just 65 percent of 2008 California high school graduates enrolled in a postsecondary program shortly after high school.

Only 63 percent of those attending four-year colleges completed a degree within six years, and 31 percent of those attending two-year colleges graduated within three years.These patterns are not specific to California. Across the nation, a young person's socioeconomic background correlates highly with academic outcomes. The pattern is particularly troubling because an individual's level of education has a direct correlation with future earnings and other measures of life quality.

Schools are struggling to help more youth develop the increasingly complex body of knowledge, skills, and mindsets they need to succeed in college, careers, and civic life. In and Beyond Schools argues that building these skills and knowledge requires an integrated approach to youth development, one that leverages the expertise of schools and community resources beyond schools. As schools develop richer learning environments that nurture a broader range of psychosocial skills, this work can be enabled and accelerated through community partnerships that help schools build and complement their own strengths. Public and nonprofit organizations and agencies that work with young people beyond the school day often have experience developing many of the qualities and skills that research associates with college and career success. However, their expertise and resources are underutilized in the absence of sufficient incentives, structures, and policies to systematically align their work with public schools.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-California

In School + On Track: Attorney General's Report on California's Elementary School Truancy and Absenteeism Crisis

Education and Literacy

In School + On Track: Attorney General's Report on California's Elementary School Truancy and Absenteeism Crisis

This report is the first to present state-wide statistics on California's truancy crisis which reveal that, last year alone, 1 million elementary school students were truant and 250,000 elementary school students missed 18 or more school days at a cost of $1.4 billion in lost funds to California school districts.

This report was issued by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, after a meeting where statewide education, public policy and law enforcement leaders were convened to discuss this crisis and identify concrete solutions.

"The California Constitution guarantees every child the right to an education, yet we are failing our youngest children, as early as kindergarten," Attorney General Harris said. "These are children as young as five years old who are out of school, falling behind, and too many of them never catch up. This crisis is not only crippling for our economy, it is a basic threat to public safety. It's time for accountability and to craft real solutions at every level - from parents to school districts, to law enforcement - to solve this problem."

According to the report, elementary school truancy is at the root of the state's chronic criminal justice problems. According to the report, missing large amounts of school is one of the strongest predictors of dropping-out, even more so than suspensions or test scores. Annually, dropouts cost California taxpayers an estimated $46.4 billion in incarceration, lost productivity and lost taxes.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-California

Students With Disabilities and California's Special Education Program

Disabilities, Education and Literacy

Students With Disabilities and California's Special Education Program

Provides an overview of the state's special education programs, including eligibility, enrollment, student performance, time spent outside regular classrooms, spending, and financing, compared to national trends. Considers policy implications.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-California, North America-United States

Lessons: When Networks Build a Platform, Students Step Up

Education and Literacy;Government Reform

Lessons: When Networks Build a Platform, Students Step Up

Profiles effective networks working to increase college access and success by helping welfare mothers navigate the system, empowering students to tell their stories as a way to boost postsecondary success, and by engaging students in policy advocacy.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-California;North America-United States (Southern)-Florida;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Rhode Island

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