The Blackwing Foundation is proud to announce we have reached an agreement with the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) to collaborate in a pilot project to develop and implement a new 3 year arts curriculum at two local schools beginning in the 2017/18 Academic year. The collaboration will focus on 3rd-5th grade students and build upon the SJCOE’s successful Artists in Schools program which brings in local professional artists to teach students a 4 to 8 weeks course in topics related to their individual specialties.
The existing Artists in School program requires schools, or their PTSA organizations to fund, the cost of the program which is managed and coordinated through the SJCOE Educational Services Division’s Visual and Performing Arts Department. Currently fewer than 50% of local elementary school students in San Joaquin County have exposure to any sort of organized arts or music curriculum in the classroom. Even schools which are able to utilize the SJCOE Artists in Schools program today often offer just a single 4 or 8 week program for one year. As a result unless attending a magnet school with a specific arts or music focus there is very limited opportunity for any significant arts and music educational experience within the county’s 13 different public school districts.
This new pilot project will build upon the Artists in School program to develop a broad, progressive learning curriculum in the arts over three years of 3rd, 4th and 5th grade to be piloted at two area schools where currently no arts curriculum exists at all. Funding will be provided via the Blackwing Foundation’s Ignite the Arts Grant program. School site selection and details of the first full year curriculum development to start at the 3rd grade level will be the main focus through the remainder of the 2016/17 academic year. The program will launch at the 3rd grade level in both pilot schools during the 2017/18 Academic year and will expand to 4th and 5th grades sequentially over the following two years. Each year will include 16 sessions focused on exposing students to a broad range of arts experiences and skills development. The objective is that students starting in the 3rd grade in year one over 3 full school years will have 48 class periods covering a broad range of fine arts and performing arts or music over time. The target is that by year 200+ students at each individual pilot school will be actively engaged in arts education in the classroom where no program existed previously.
To qualify for participation in this initial pilot program the two locals schools must have no current arts curriculum in place. As the three year pilot program develops and is refined successfully our ultimate goal is that the expanded 3 year curriculum can be offered to and adopted by more schools throughout San Joaquin County via continued financial support of Blackwing Foundation and added Sponsors as we increase regional outreach efforts building upon early successes.