Four Burbank Unified elementary schools – George Washington, William McKinley, Joaquin Miller and Providencia – were selected by the California Department of Education for the Exemplary Arts Education Award. Only 13 total schools statewide received the honor.
In a media release on Tuesday, January 7, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said, “We know that access to arts and STEAM is an important part of closing the achievement gap, and these Exemplary Arts schools put the ‘A’ in ‘STEAM.”
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.
“We are grateful the community of Burbank has invested in the arts,” commented Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Matt Hill. “This is another example of how our students thrive when we invest in them.”
“Congratulations to these 13 schools for supporting arts and STEAM education, which prepares students to be leaders in the creative economy,” Thurmond added.
Schools throughout the state were able to apply for the recognition if they met California Arts Standards for Public Schools as well as performance and progress on indicators on the California School Dashboard.
According to the CA State Department of Education release, the 13 Exemplary Arts Education Awardees include traditional comprehensive elementary schools, magnet schools and district and independent charters, and range in size from a 3700-student urban school to a 250-student rural school.
Some of the schools’ populations are a majority of Title I students from lower socio-economic backgrounds while others are primarily made up of students in the suburbs with strong district and community financial support.
Other criteria for the award required the schools to offer instruction to all students in at least three of five arts disciplines of Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theater and Visual Arts.
Schools also had to show improvement for at least one student subgroup in one of the following three areas based on the Dashboard: School Climate, in the area of Suspension Rate; Student Engagement, in the area of Chronic Absenteeism or Graduation Rate; Academic Achievement, in the area of English Language Arts, Mathematics, or College and Career Readiness.
Washington, Miller, Providencia and McKinley Elementary Schools and the rest of the California Exemplary Arts Education Schools will be honored on February 10 at a ceremony at Disneyland Resort, along with recipients of the California Distinguished Schools, National Blue Ribbon Schools, National Terrel H. Bell and National ESEA Distinguished Schools awards.