CONCORD, CA – The new MDUSD Education Foundation, created with the vision of funding STEAM enrichment and career technical opportunities for all students district-wide, is actively engaged in Phase One of its enrichment plan-bringing arts programs to the elementary schools. Launched with a generous start-up donation of $30,000 from the MDEA Academy Awards event, the Foundation Board first needed to find out how the money could be most strategically used.
What do our schools need? What do our teachers want? How do the different schools in our district approach arts education at their site? How can the Foundation best support those wishes through funding and community resources?
To get the answers to these important questions, an online survey was distributed in January 2018 to district principals, teachers and parent leaders. The response was substantial, and the results showed that while each school has its own unique approach to arts enrichment, the desire for support in arts curricula is shared by everyone. What did MDEDF find out?
- Because the state of California does not fund arts in education, many schools rely on dedicated teacher, parent and community group volunteers to bring the arts to the students. At some schools, parent groups help to fund art supplies and organize fee-based after school drama and art programs.
- Some schools have worked with community organizations that provide free resources, such as the Bedford Gallery’s Art in a Suitcase Program. Others have implemented grade level specific hands-on art curricula aligned with common core such as Art in Action that require ongoing funding.
- Respondents ranked visiting artists and additional training for teachers as their top wish list priorities. Murals and art shows were also a popular request. Other suggestions included funding bus transport for older students to share their talent at elementary schools, holding youth TED Talks, and replenishing art supplies.
With this useful information, MDEDF has identified its next action steps to ensure that every school can access art enrichment for their students. This will include funding visiting artists to elementary schools and helping to link schools to free art resources. The Foundation will also partner with MDUSD to create and promote an “Arts Wish List” of items with dollar amounts, so that donors may contribute to arts in our schools. Seeking to bridge a connection between community artists, businesses and our schools, MDEDF members have already met with the Concord Art Association and Concord Historical Society and plan to continue the outreach.
MDEDF is ready to roll up its sleeves, put on a smock, and bring arts enrichment to an elementary school near you! How can interested businesses and community members help? Become an “Arts in MDUSD Schools Champion” by donating to the Foundation, volunteering at a school site, or helping to connect MDEDF with potential funders, artists, friends or alumni.
Visit https://www.mdedf.org/programs for the complete survey results.
About the MDUSD Education Foundation
The MDUSD EDUCATION FOUNDATION is a volunteer-led, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 2017, organized under the Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for charitable purposes, and is not organized for the private gain of any person. Learn more at http://www.mdedf.org/