For the last six years, Moreno Valley Unified School District has been - according to District Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator, Greg A. Solomon - "growing the arts." Due to support from the Moreno Valley superintendent and school board, K-12 students throughout the district are receiving arts instruction, and professional development is accessible to teachers. However, the largest theatre in the community lacks both curtains and a piano on the campus.
When Create CA launched its statewide effort to promote the “Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning,” this district was an enthusiastic early adaptor. Students presented the declaration at a school board meeting. They read their student rights in full theater garb, maintaining their dedication to the arts while convincing faculty to prioritize arts learning.
The district is currently focusing on Student Right #4: the right to arts learning programs both funded and supported with essential resources such as appropriate facilities. The district’s current Local Control Accountability Plan Budget includes a long list of facility improvements. Among these are designated instructional space at both elementary and middle schools for arts instruction, upgraded seating, lighting and sound in existing high school theatres, and a 20 million dollar performing arts center on the Moreno Valley High School campus complete with a curriculum of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. These improvements will result in higher student and teacher morale as well as renewed student excitement regarding and enthusiasm for arts participation.
These improvements will also garner community interest in the arts as student interest grows. Parents are becoming increasingly more aware of a broader range of arts courses. Along with Ballet Folklorico, classes such as concert band and choir are creating spaces for students across Moreno Valley’s curriculum as arts instruction in lower grades comes into focus.
The data is crucial to improving arts education. After Moreno Valley used LCFF funding to implement music instruction for all students, superintendent Martinrex Kedziora is now seeking to add access to dance education at every campus. With this goal, the HR department has prioritized hiring qualified educators with dance expertise to fill all open PE positions.
We at Create California urge school districts to prioritize electing school board members who value the arts and believe in arts education for every student. We also suggest collaborating with key administrators (like HR) to set priorities that shift the access and offerings at school sites to arts learning.
Contact: Greg Solomon