Teachers at elementary schools in the Napa Valley Unified School District and other rural Napa County school districts will be able to add depth and student engagement to their classroom activities through movement, dance, music, singing and more, with a $775,861 grant from the California Department of Education.
The funding represents the first major step forward in implementing NVUSD’s Arts Master Plan, created in a public-private partnership and approved by the Board in spring 2016.
The NVUSD application for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant included a consortium of partners including the Napa Valley, Calistoga, Howell Mountain and Pope Valley school districts, and the Napa County Office of Education.
“This grant represents the next chapter in a county-wide initiative to provide equitable arts education to all students. We would not have received this important funding without our Arts Plan already in place,” said Chuck Neidhoefer, NVUSD coordinator of Visual & Performing Arts.
“This is a real testament to the work of our community partners who helped bring the Arts Plan to fruition, and who have worked with us since its adoption to ensure its success—especially the Arts Council Napa Valley, Festival Napa Valley and the Napa Valley Education Foundation.”
The money will provide teacher training from arts integration experts, and will provide materials and supplies for teachers to use the techniques in their classrooms.
Critical areas of the Arts Master Plan will be implemented, including a free two-week Arts and Science Summer Camp for English Learner students in grades 3-5 in June.
It will also allow the district to purchase curriculum materials that are aligned with English Language and English Language Development adoptions through 2025.
The arts integration training will be offered to mainstream and specialist teachers, including special education, physical education and teachers working with advanced learners. Some of the grant funds will also benefit after-school arts programs.
“Increased student engagement leads to deeper learning and better retention in all subjects, including math and English. The arts are a demonstrated way to support and encourage engagement,” Neidhoefer said.
At NVUSD, the grant will align aspects of the Arts Master Plan with the District’s Strategic Initiatives, including technology expansion (special training will be provided to support technology-infused arts integration) and student wellness initiatives (the annual spring Wellness Conference will feature content on Wellness & the Arts).
“As a system, we are focused on a common set of goals and objectives to provide the very best outcomes for our students,” said NVUSD Superintendent Dr. Rosanna Mucetti. “This grant supports our strategic efforts by ensuring students have access to the arts so they can thrive academically, socially and emotionally. I am also thrilled that the grant provides professional development for teachers and strengthens our partnerships that directly align to our strategic plan goals.“
Olivia Dodd, president and CEO of Arts Council, said, “This grant is a huge vote of confidence for the Arts Master Plan and our unique public-private partnership. We are excited to see the initiative, which all of us have worked on, get this incredible boost and really expand the reach to students.”
The grant money will be provided by the Federal Title IV program, and must be expended by Sept. 30, 2019. For more information on the Arts Master Plan, visit www.nvusd.org/arts.