2022 Grants Challenge

The Art of Math and Basketry at Title I Schools

Dramatic Results is investing in arts-integrated educational pathways to cultivate a more creative and diverse workforce. The Title I school, Craig Williams Elementary, will receive the agency's legacy program Math in a Basket, a 12-week STEAM series that integrates art and design with CA content standards to increase student’s problem-solving skills, wonderment, and self-efficacy. Our team will provide school staff with paid training opportunities in social emotional learning and work collaboratively to iterate, test, and improve curriculum.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

Craig Williams Elementary School

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?

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

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?

The absence of arts education in California has been referred to as a “silent crisis.” Nearly 45 years after passing Prop 13, the state’s public school system is still reeling. The opportunity gap has worsened for districts primarily home to historically excluded families. The inequality is underscored with over 80% of schools in non-compliance with VAPA laws. In Los Angeles County only 40% of students are enrolled in at least one arts course and 39% of students are Math proficient. Now more than ever, students require a well-rounded approach to recover from the pandemic. Craig Williams educators have expressed that students are struggling to stay motivated, collaborate, and have low self-esteem. In 2021 Craig Williams students bucked below the County trend with only 34% hitting Math proficiency. Investing in a STEAM learning model that prioritizes creative problem solvers, we can cultivate a systems-level shift within a STEM workforce that is only 17% Black/Hispanic and 25% women.

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

To address the compounding issues listed in question six, Dramatic Results will deliver our legacy program, Math in a Basket to every 4th and 5th grade student (125 in total) at Craig Williams Elementary in 2022-2023. Craig Williams is a Title I school in the Bellflower USD (SPA 7) with less than 50% of students meeting Math and ELA proficiency. Math in a Basket is a hands-on, 12-week STEAM program that integrates art, making, and design with California content standards in Math and Social Studies. The program supports the reinforcement of math and social-emotional learning using lessons that apply math concepts through group commonalities, personal identity, and basketry. By using culturally-valued art forms, our team can make academic content more accessible to underserved students through arts integration and generating personally-meaningful pathways to STEM and creative fields. Students explore real world applications of math by weaving a functional reed basket, thereby strengthening skills in measurement, algebraic formulas, and geometry. Students learn to problem solve, communicate, and collaborate with their peers while being exposed to STEAM career pathways. Additionally, Dramatic Results’ curriculum team will provide Craig Williams’ teachers with training in arts integrated social emotional learning. Guided by the needs of the school, the training will expand our services and function as a professional development model for future work with the site.

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

By serving 125 Craig Williams students with our Math in a Basket program, it would allow Dramatic Results to iterate and update a foundational, but recently shelved body of curriculum. Since 2002, the agency has received three consecutive multi-year grants from the U.S. Department of Education for Math in a Basket, yet in recent years the program has been delivered infrequently. This short-term goal has a positive impact on our agency’s reach and the students at Craig Williams. Dramatic Results is strengthening our partnership with the site by providing teachers with a series of paid trainings that illustrate the potential an interwoven arts strategy has on all aspects of teaching and learning. This level of collaboration will have a long term impact on staff, as well as future generations of students. Together, we will maximize resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. By investing in arts-integrated educational pathways we can cultivate a more creative and diverse workforce.

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

Dramatic Results prioritizes the use of customized evaluation plans to make real-time programmatic improvements and remain responsive to student’s evolving needs. Dramatic Results assess student success through three measurements: problem-solving, wonderment (excitement for making and learning), and self-efficacy. Through pre-launch surveys the agency gains insight into student’s motor skills, ability to use tools, and math concepts. Data is collected using student and educator pre- and post-surveys, as well as program observations. Teachers have reported that this is the first project many students have completed from start to finish—a source of pride in the class and at home. Since 2019, Craig Williams student's math, art, and 21st-century skills have improved as a result of Dramatic Results programming. Evaluation shows that after completing their baskets, students increase by 22% in creative confidence and teachers rate their abilities high in teamwork and perseverance.

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

Direct Impact: 125

Indirect Impact: 1,520

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

Dramatic Results is collaborating with 4th and 5th grade classroom teachers at Craig Williams Elementary. Dramatic Results has served Craig Williams’ 4th grade students since 2019. For the first time, the agency will increase our services to include all 5th grade students. Based on feedback from classroom teachers we will customize and deliver a series of paid arts integrated social-emotiol learning trainings. Craig Williams Elementary will serve as the physical site of programming, provide access to students, and knowledge of students’ strengths and areas of improvement. Together, we will help achieve the site’s Plan for Student Achievement to meet the needs of diverse learners by integrating ELA and Math with the development of 21st century skill building.