NEA Chairman Observes Miller Elementary Arts Program

By On February 26, 2015

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu observed several elements of Joaquin Miller Elementary’s arts program on Monday as part of an extended meeting with the Los Angeles County’s Arts For All, Arts Commission and Office of Education. NEA Chairman Chu saw a music class taught by Ian Tam, a theater class led by 24th STreet Theatre teaching artist Suzanne Santos and integrated arts instruction by Kindergarten teacher Deb Weinstein.

NEA Chariman Jane Chu (standing, center) visits Joaquin Miller Elementary school in Burbank to observe the school's arts programs in action. She was joined by officials from L.A. County Arts Commission, Arts for L.A., L.A. County Office of Education and the Burbank Unified School District. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

NEA Chariman Jane Chu (standing, center) visits Joaquin Miller Elementary school in Burbank to observe the school’s arts programs in action. She was joined by officials from L.A. County Arts Commission, Arts for L.A., L.A. County Office of Education and the Burbank Unified School District. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Participants in a discussion on Los Angeles County public school arts programs, held in the Miller Elementary Library, included Denise Grande, Director of Arts Education for L.A. County Arts Commission, Laura Zucker, Executive Director of the L.A. Arts Commission, Sofia Klatzker, incoming Executive Director of Arts for L.A., James Herr, Program Officer for the Californina Community Foundation, Rachel Levin, Executive Director of The Rosenthal Family Foundation, Shannon Wilkins, Program Administrator for Educational Leadership and Visual & Performing Arts programs for the L.A. County Office of Education and Ayanna Hudson, Arts Education Director for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA.)

Several Burbank Unified officials also gave presentations on the arts programs in Burbank Unified schools and participated in the discussion, including Board of Education member Larry Applebaum, Superintendent Dr. Jan Britz, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Dr. Tom Kissinger, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction & Accountability Sharon Cuseo, Miller Principal Judy Hession and BUSD Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn.

24th STreet Theatre teaching artist Suzanne Santos leads a theater class at Miller Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

24th STreet Theatre teaching artist Suzanne Santos leads a theater class at Miller Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“Arts education in L.A. County is thriving and good work is happening in school districts large and small,” commented Zucker. “We chose Burbank Unified School District to illustrate this progress because their work is exemplary.”

“The fact that they utilize so many different methods to deliver quality arts education made them a particularly good choice,” Zucker continued. “From a music specialist, a teaching artist, and arts that are integrated into the daily curriculum, it was great to see the results of a strong arts education program, from the district level to the classroom.”

Music teacher Ian Tam demonstrates a rhythmic move in music class at Miller Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Music teacher Ian Tam demonstrates a rhythmic move in music class at Miller Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“We are so grateful to L.A. County Arts for All for all of the ways they support Burbank Unified’s efforts to provide our students with a quality arts education,” added Flynn. “That they chose Burbank as an example of successful collective impact with Chairman Chu, is such an honor.”

“The day to day work has us always focused on what’s still to be done. Our visit this morning gave us an opportunity to reflect over the nine years since we became an Arts for All district,” she continued. “It was really amazing to have every level of leadership that contributes to the success of our Arts for All Plan implementation in one room – from the national, state, county, district and school groups to the parents and business community – voicing their perspective and describing their roles.”

Kindergarten integrated arts class at Miller Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Kindergarten integrated arts class at Miller Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“To then be able to walk into classrooms and see what is happening because of our collaboration was a great reminder of why we are doing what we do,” Flynn went on to say. “Miller’s principal, Judy Hession, her staff and students represented the work being done every day across our district so beautifully.”

“We have much to be proud of as a district and community today. Tomorrow, it’s back to the to-do list – I’m so grateful to be in a district with so much support!”

(from left to right) L.A. County Arts Commission Executive Director Laura Zucker talks with NEA Arts Education Director Ayanna Hudson, NEA Chairman Jane Chu and L.A. County Arts Commission Director of Arts Education Denise Grande. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(from left to right) L.A. County Arts Commission Executive Director Laura Zucker talks with NEA Arts Education Director Ayanna Hudson, NEA Chairman Jane Chu and L.A. County Arts Commission Director of Arts Education Denise Grande. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

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