gmhTODAY 19 gmhToday April May 2018 - Page 67

School Days: Morgan Hill Unified School District Visual and Performing Arts Alive in our Schools By Kimberly Beare, PIO, Morgan Hill Unified School District T he Visual and Performing Arts are instrumental to our students’ success in their academics, their careers, and their lives. Enriching and making these curricula more accessible level is a top priority for the Morgan Hill Unified School District (MHUSD). Over the past several years, Dr. Ramon Zavala, MHUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services has championed the enhancement and integration of the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) to improve student achievement districtwide. Zavala and his team have been collaborating closely with CREATE CA (a Statewide Arts Education Coalition), the Santa Clara County Office of Education (Artspiration— an Arts Education Initiative), and the California Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE), in order to achieve this goal for our district schools. The 21 st century workforce is expected to possess not only technical knowhow but also creative communication skills, particularly in film and video. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 14 percent increase in digital media and design jobs alone. And so, while many public schools feel pressure to reduce or in worst cases eliminate the arts from their master schedules, MHUSD is heading in opposite direction. Last June, the MHUSD Board of Education approved an arts resolution, Achieving Equity and Opportunity in Arts Learning, paving the way for our Education Services Department to enhance and strengthen arts programs in every one of our schools. This year, art teachers convened for district-wide professional development days and are being represented by a newly-formed district VAPA Curriculum Committee. Recently, MHUSD contracted CAAE to assist with developing a district VAPA Strategic Plan. Engaging various stakeholders