Statewide Arts Education Initiative Links Creativity and the “Common Core”

Arts and education leaders from across the state have launched an innovative arts education program linking arts education with the implementation of new Common Core State Standards.

Education leaders behind the Common Core State Standards have emphasized the need for implementation of critical thinking skills and creative exploration, and cite complementary subjects to achieve this goal – including the arts. As California schools are implementing Common Core State Standards they continue to look for ways to include arts education in the classroom as part of a comprehensive curriculum.

Recognizing this critical change in education policy, the California Arts Council and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation invested funds to launch a program of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) called Creativity at the Core: Powerful Arts Teaching and Learning in the Common Core.

Creativity at the Core will place discrete arts education and arts integration at the forefront during the implementation of the Common Core for all California K-12 schools – specifically through the creation of professional development modules that incorporate dance, music, theater, visual arts, and other art forms into Common Core instruction. These professional development offerings will help deepen arts teaching and learning in K-12 classrooms during this opportune moment of education reform.

The “Creativity at the Core” modules are in development through a comprehensive statewide process involving education experts, professional teaching artists, and school administrators. CCSESA will implement the program and coordinate the modules’ creation and public dissemination.

CCSESA Arts Initiative Statewide Director Sarah Anderberg said “We are grateful to the California Arts Council and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for providing the resources to make such a large initiative happen for the benefit of California students. We know that this work has enormous implications for powerful teaching and learning in arts education.”

“Creativity at the Core” Regional Arts Partners

Through a system of eleven service regions, CCSESA provides the organizational mechanism for the state’s 58 County Superintendents of Schools to design and implement programs to identify and promote quality cost-effective educational practices and services, and provide support to school districts.

The following nonprofit arts organizations are working collaboratively with a service region’s designated “Regional County Office Arts Lead” to develop and pilot the “Creativity at the Core” professional arts learning modules and resources.

  • Region 1, North Coast: Humboldt County Office of Education and North Coast Dance
  • Region 2, Northeastern: Shasta County Office of Education and The Music Center (Los Angeles, distance learning model development)
  • Region 3, Capitol: Sacramento County Office of Education and Crocker Art Museum and California Musical Theatre
  • Region 4, Bay: Alameda County Office of Education and Teaching Artists Guild
  • Region 5, South Bay: Monterey County Office of Education and El Teatro Campesino
  • Region 6, Delta Sierra: Stanislaus County Office of Education and Gallo Center for the Arts
  • Region 7, Central Valley: Fresno County Office of Education and Fresno Arts Council
  • Region 8, Costa del Sol: Ventura County Office of Education and Museum of Ventura County
  • Region 9, Southern: San Diego County Office of Education and Old Globe Theatre
  • Region 10, RIMS: San Bernardino County Office of Education and P.L.A.C.E. Performance
  • Region 11, Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Office of Education and Arts for All

“Creativity at the Core” Professional Arts Learning Modules and Resources

California is a very diverse state, and the modules will support a variety of different teaching environments – small and large schools, urban and rural schools, schools with a large number of English language learners, schools with children from lower incomes, schools with other educational needs, and other factors.

All major performing and visual arts education disciplines will be represented and the modules will be available on the CCSESA Arts website for any who desire to view them – teachers, administrators, teaching artists, parents, and the general public.

“Creativity at the Core” Leadership Advisory Organizations

Representatives from the following organizations will serve as advisors for “Creativity at the Core.”

  • California County Superintendents Educational Services Association
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • California Department of Education
  • CREATE CA Statewide Arts Education Coalition
  • California Association for Bilingual Education

“Creativity at the Core” Timeline

The professional arts learning modules will be developed and piloted regionally, and then published by early April 2015. Please mark your calendars for a fall luncheon and public forum to be hosted at the Sacramento Convention Center on November 17, 2014 and a Spring Convening on March 17, 2014 at the Sacramento Sheraton Hotel where regional teams will provide breakout sessions focused on the new modules.