VAPA Programs are Highlighted at Board Meeting

VAPA Programs are Highlighted at Board of Education Meeting
Posted on 08/17/2018
Hilltop Drive Elementary students are evidence of a vibrant VAPA program.What a treat prior to the Board of Education’s August 15 meeting. Visual and Performing Arts students showcased their skills outside the Board meeting room, under the leadership of District music teachers. Then, during the meeting, the Board heard a report of VAPA highlights and successes.

Six years ago, there were only four music teachers in CVESD. Today, there are 88 VAPA teachers. That was announced by VAPA Coordinator Lauren Shelton to great applause. CVESD's arts revival is impacting students on a daily basis.

“It is inspiring to be working in a District where tens of thousands of children each year receive a start in the arts at their local school,” Shelton said. “Our dedicated VAPA teachers continue to provide tremendous opportunities for Hilltop Drive Elementary students learned to play musical instruments, thanks to the District's VAPA program.our students to tap into potential they oftentimes never knew they had. The arts were a critical part of my own school experience and I am thrilled that this District sees the important role these programs play in the development of the whole child.”

In 2010, CVESD first collaborated with the San Diego Youth Symphony (SDYS) and Conservatory to establish an after-school music program in two high-economic need elementary schools. Called “Community Opus Project,” the program was inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema music education initiative and was an immediate hit in the pilot schools. Six more campuses followed with Opus programs of their own. In 2014-15, the Board announced the District would hire full-time arts instructors and provide VAPA instruction during the school day for all students. The commitment was backed by a landmark $15 million investment in teacher collaboration/arts instruction, spread over three years.

Other partnerships include the La Jolla Playhouse, The Kennedy Center, Turnaround Arts: California, Arts=Opportunity, The Piano Project, San Diego Opera, Collaboration: Teachers and Artists, Grammy-award winning band Switchfoot, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and many more.

Board Member Eduardo Reyes, Ed.D., after hearing accomplished high school junior Bruno Bello speak about how music education impacted his life, said: “I am truly inspired. I am a 100 percent supporter of VAPA programs. Bruno, you said something that really resonated with me: the ‘Power of the Arts.’ ...The arts is something you take with you your entire life.”

Bruno began learning an instrument as a third-grader at Otay Elementary as part of the symphony’s Community Opus Program. Accomplished high school musician Bruno Bello, center in photo, was recognized at the August Board of Education meeting. Bruno learned to play as a CVESD 3rd grader.Today, he plays in the Symphony Orchestra, the highest level of SDYS, and the elite Chamber Orchestra.

Board Member Francisco Tamayo noted that Bruno, who had a rough start academically as a child, is now taking four Advanced Placement classes in high school. Bruno credited his turnaround to CVESD’s music program. That point was reiterated by Tamayo.

“We are reminded that students have multiple talents. For some it is golf, for others it is music. I would like to see this program continue to grow,” Tamayo said.

Indeed, other Board members noted that the arts are among the pillars of education, along with math, science, and reading. In CVESD, it is a highly decorated pillar.
Just last year, the District was honored with the “Best Communities for Music Education” designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

The Best Communities for Music Education honor is bestowed upon districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, CVESD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs.

“CVESD has made remarkable strides in recent years in emphasizing the integration of the arts and arts instructionCVESD students performed outside the Board Roomo prior to the August 15 Board meeting. into the educational experience of its students and teachers,” said Gloria Ciriza, Ed. D., District Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment.

“The success of this effort, led by talented school site and District staff and backed by the Board of Education, speaks to the commitment and passion of the District. We’ve seen first-hand the difference the arts can have on a child’s life.”
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