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The Board of Education set aside $5 million to employ additional teachers starting in the 2015-16 school year with a focus on Visual and Performing Arts, which in turn will provide classroom teachers with release time for collaboration. The funding for collaboration while also boosting arts instruction District-wide was being hailed by classroom teachers and arts supporters alike as a “win-win.”

“The Chula Vista Elementary School District is demonstrating again that it is at the forefront of providing innovative and comprehensive education to the children of its district,” said Dalouge Smith, president and chief executive officer of the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS).

The arts push is part of the District’s Local Control and Accountability Plan for the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school years. On June 10, the Board approved $18 million in LCAP-related expenditures.

Third grade teacher Carla Kriss thanked the Board at its June 10 meeting for the funding of collaboration time.

“I work at Allen School—we live on a shoestring,” Kriss said. “We have for a long time. We only have about 400 kids. My collaboration time is once a month, maybe, because of the lack of funds.”

She said the LCAP allocation will provide more time for her to meet with her grade level team and other colleagues—which is especially important now because of implementation of new state standards. Collaboration time enables teachers to identify student needs, plan instruction, and strategize.

The District has been working on a draft LCAP since January 2014. Restoring Visual and Performing Arts instruction in District schools was a constant part of the discussion. So was the need for release time for teachers to collaborate, be it through VAPA, physical education or science instruction.

Under the new school funding formula enacted in California in 2013, school districts are required to prepare (or revise) an LCAP on an annual basis. The LCAP must align with the annual budget, contain certain elements, and be developed in consultation with teachers, principals, administrators, other school personnel, parents, and students.

“SDYS is thrilled that our partnership with CVESD over the last 5 years to rebuild access to music and arts education has culminated with this commitment to providing visual and performing arts instruction at every school for every student,” Smith said. “We look forward to continuing to be part of the explosive growth of music education in Chula Vista.”

The youth symphony began its partnership with the District on the Community Opus Project at Otay and Lauderbach schools, and eventually grew the program to six campuses: Harborside, Lauderbach, Otay, Lilian J. Rice, Rosebank, and Vista Square. Because of the success of the after-school program, the District worked to restore music instruction to the school day.

In-school music instruction is now taking place for more than 3,000 students. The work was boosted by a partnership with VH1 Save The Music Foundation, which provides District schools with $30,000 each in musical instruments, with the stipulation that they employ a full-time music instructor to provide music education as part of the school day.

Jaclyn Rudderow, Program and Communications Manager at VH1 Save The Music Foundation, said her organization was thrilled to hear about the Board’s influx of arts funding.

“With this huge investment in certified music and arts teachers, we are well on our way to achieving our goal in providing equity for a complete education that includes music and the arts for all children in Chula Vista,” Rudderow said.

Superintendent Francisco Escobedo, Ed.D., noted that the Community Opus program has attracted the attention of arts enthusiasts nationally as a model for restoration of the arts in public schools.

“As part of our initiative to infuse 21st Century skills into our learning outcomes, the arts are a perfect medium to enhance collaboration, creativity, and critical-thinking skills throughout our system,” Escobedo said.

To view the complete Board-adopted LCAP, click on the following link: FINAL BD Approved LCAP

About the Chula Vista Elementary School District

The Chula Vista Elementary School District serves nearly 30,000 students at 45 schools. Students experience a rigorous 21st century learning environment that is rooted in effective teaching practices and high-quality instruction while discovering novel methods of instructional delivery. Students receive an education that nurtures every child’s imagination, intellect, and sense of inquiry. Working together, the District will harness the potential of a collective intelligence rich with imagination and creativity necessary for students to become difference makers in the community.

San Diego Youth Symphony