San Diego Unified Hopes to Expand Arts Programs

The expansion is part of the 2016-17 budget

At the Zamorano Fine Arts Academy students showed off some of their artwork Wednesday afternoon.

“One of my pieces is right here,” a student pointed out. It is a dolphin mixed with a mermaid and is called a ‘dolphmer.’

A focus on the arts was announced last week by the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) as part of the Superintendent's priorities for the district's 2016-17 Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and 2016-17 budget.

The budget includes money for the expansion of the arts and music programs for the fall.

Educators say the arts help students learn about core content in the curriculum – for example drawing temples when the class is studying ancient China.

“Then they end up with a masterpiece and also they will have core content and they will never forget ancient China,” Caroline King, project leader of Learning Through the Arts, told NBC 7.

King said the program is helping students think beyond the test score; they are learning to express themselves, take risks and feel successful.

“I feel art gives me an opportunity to channel my emotions,” one student explained Wednesday at the Zamorano Academy.

One of the fifth graders had drawn a skateboard. She said art gives her life balance and an opportunity to experiment.

“My passion is art and I’ve been here five years and I really like it because there’s no limit of what you can do with the arts,” she explained.

Another fifth grader used newspaper and magazine clips to make an image of his favorite basketball player.

“All children deserve an opportunity to have arts in their lives,” King said.

King said programs in the arts, whether visual, theater or music, need not only to grow, but also to be sustained.

The school board is expected to vote on next year’s budget at its next board meeting Tuesday.

Zamorano is one of 22 schools in the district where visiting artists come to teach.

With the expansion in the proposed budget, visiting artists will come to 22 more schools.

There will also be more musical instruments available to students and band uniforms will be replaced, according to the district. 

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