2022 Grants Challenge

Advancing Equity through Arts Educator Development

Idea by P.S. ARTS

P.S. ARTS promotes educational equity by providing professional development to emerging educators and artists to deliver arts instruction in systemically under-resourced public schools. We provide access to creative industry employment for Teaching Artists, as well as high quality, trauma-responsive, culturally relevant arts programs for youth. A partnership with LA2050 will support Teaching Artist recruitment, training, and placement and the facilitation of high-quality, arts education programs for a projected 30,000 youth.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

Alhambra Unified School District, Compton Unified School District, El Segundo Unified School District, Lawndale Elementary School District, Lennox Unified School District, Long Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, Lynwood Unified School District, Paramount Unified School District, Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District, Torrance Unified School District, and Wiseburn Unified School District.

What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

San Gabriel Valley

South LA

West LA

South Bay

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

88% of California schools fail to provide arts education. Students with an arts education are five times less likely to drop out of school, four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, four times more likely to receive a bachelor’s degree, and 30% more inclined to pursue a professional career (Create CA). Since 2020, the negative impact of systemic racism, trauma, and poverty on children enrolled in distressed schools has deepened. Furthermore, students affected by poverty, students of color, English learners, and those with disabilities particularly benefit from the arts (Winsler et al, 2020); yet, these are the students least likely have arts opportunities in school due to systemic disinvestment. As one of the largest arts education providers in LA County, P.S. ARTS advances social justice by restoring educational equity in public schools that have been forced to reduce or eliminate arts and music programming.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

P.S. ARTS’ wrap-around arts education services include dance, music, theater, visual arts, and media arts instruction; arts-based educator training; and community arts events, which work in conjunction to reduce barriers and increase opportunities for students living in communities affected by racism, trauma, and systemic disinvestment. Support will allow us to expand our service population from 25,000 youth to 30,000 youth. Programs include: Our programs are offered in-person and virtually and include: - In-School engages K-5th-grade students through multi-week fine arts residencies facilitated by Teaching Artists during the regular school day, or pre-packaged curriculum and supplies for general educators to integrate into their classrooms. - Extended Learning provides arts opportunities for middle school students outside of regular instruction hours through summer, after-school, and lunchtime learning. - Community Engagement includes free community events for families to make art together. - Educator Development includes professional development for P.S. ARTS Teaching Artists, arts integration training for classroom teachers, and districtwide professional development.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

In the short term, P.S. ARTS aims to meet the increased demand for in-school, after-school, and summer arts programming; professional development for educators; and social justice-oriented community arts programs in Los Angeles. In the long-term, we envision an equitable education system where all children receive access to programs that provide equal opportunities for success regardless of their background or where they live. By introducing the arts to public schools, P.S. ARTS strives to stem the damaging effects of poverty, racism, and cultural inequities on a systemic level. Beyond cultivating an appreciation for the arts, P.S. ARTS encourages students to explore the human experience and their own cultural and personal identities through artistic inquiry and expression. Participation in P.S. ARTS programs fosters social emotional health, readiness to learn, and academic achievement, preparing students for navigating life in the 21st century.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Over 90% of P.S. ARTS students demonstrate proficiency on the California Visual and Performing Arts standards. State data on academic performance shows that Black and Latinx students attending P.S. ARTS schools score eight percentage points higher in English and 11 percentage points higher in math on average than their counterparts in the same district. On average, teacher ratings of students’ social emotional learning in P.S. ARTS classes are higher than the district-wide average. Our evaluation focuses on wellbeing, social emotional learning; inclusive, culturally responsive teaching strategies; and engagement and academic performance. Evaluation tools include: Student Learning: - Social Emotional Learning Assessment - Arts Learning Assessment Program Quality: - School Feedback Survey Teaching Artist Performance: - Mid-residency Check-in - Site Visit Observation Guide - Annual Performance Review

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 200

Indirect Impact: 30,000

Describe the specific role of the partner organization(s) in the project, program, or initiative.

The schools we serve are our most critical partners. In addition to meeting P.S. ARTS’ basic partner school expectations – a dedicated arts space and access to every child – our schools’ leadership supports arts integrated learning and close collaboration between P.S. ARTS Teaching Artists and school faculty. Rather than provide a prescriptive program, P.S. ARTS offers a programmatic framework that can be tailored to meet the needs of our school partners depending on their preferred goals and outcomes. Frequent communication and active collaboration between P.S. ARTS and school leadership ensures that we remain connected and relevant to our service population.