LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Unlocking the power of science an math through the arts

To solve the world's greatest puzzles, our children must learn to work with both sides of their brains. With arts programming being cut throughout the nation, the Debbie Allen Middle School and Dance Academy is committed to making arts education a part of the daily STEM curriculum.


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?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

West LA

South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

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?

California law mandates standards-based instruction from k-12 in the arts. Yet, according to a recent report by SRI Education, nearly 90% of our public schools are failing to align their educational offerings with state standards.The decline of arts education has been felt most severely in low-performing/income schools. This is because administrators may have moved resources out of the arts budgets & into remedial math & English, in an effort to avoid being placed into program improvement status (Edsource 2014). Ironically, these are the very schools that stand to benefit most from arts programming. Students with access to arts education are 5x less likely to drop out of school, 4x more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, & 4x more likely to receive a bachelor's degree. Students who have art integrated into their science & math lessons problem solve more effectively, work well in teams & are better prepared for well-paying 21st-century jobs in a wide variety of fields.

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

Dance is science, music is math, architecture is visual arts, math and science. The arts and sciences go hand in hand & to separate them or to place more value on one or the other is doing a disservice to our children. Two years ago Debbie Allen opened the Debbie Allen Middle School (DAMS) as an extension of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy to help fill the void that the disenfranchised youth of LA were facing...a lack of not only arts programming but effective arts programing. Integrating dance, music & visual arts across the curriculum to enhance & improve student achievement is at the center of DAMS' core beliefs. DAMS expansion activities: -Utilize motion capture technology to explore the science of movement -- choreography - anatomy - biology - animation - virtual reality - creation of short movies & videos - explore oceans & planets -Designing small robots with kits & 3D printers -Bringing in guest speakers: Frank Gehry, Dr. Erich Jarvis (Dr. of Neurobiology & Ballet dancer), speaker from NASA, SF Symphony Cellist turned mathematician, etc. -Field trips to explore how math and science intersect with art: Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles Ballet, Boeing Campus in Long Beach, art exhibits DAMS existing activities: -Spend equal time focused on the arts along with the core curriculum -Core curriculum for 6-8th graders is based upon the CA State Standards for Curriculum -Arts curriculum includes: music & photography - Dance: ballet, tap, modern, African, modern & Jazz

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

Short term: attendance rates will improve, discipline incidents will go down, understanding of the lessons will go up & a sense of curiosity & wonder will take place in the classroom. Long term: Findings will be shared with colleagues throughout LAUSD & the Debbie Allen Dance Facilities will be open for trainings & to share space for youth throughout the district to learn, dance, play and explore. It is our goal that every child in LA County have the benefit of having art integrated into their daily lessons. We recognize that is how great minds are nurtured & developed. Steve Jobs once said that when he was trying solve a complicated problem & was unable to wrap his head around it, he started taking a dance class. By taking that class, he learned to look at "puzzles" differently & it was just what he needed to unlock the final pieces needed to complete his project. DAMS strives to have a working relationship with all LAUSD schools who want to integrate arts into daily lesson plans.

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

9. Although we are in the early stages of this project, we have already experienced a great deal of success. - Standardized test scores are well above average - Attendance rates are high - Self esteem is high across the board for all students - Behavioral issues are down although we do experience occasional disciplinary issues requiring counseling - We have experienced no bullying since the school has opened - Creativity is very high - There is a healthy competition when it comes to dance

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

Direct Impact: 250

Indirect Impact: 5,000