VAPA Arts in Action header art
Jan. 25, 2021
This is a challenging time in our history. We are going through a global pandemic, confronting social justice issues, and experiencing growing political division. One of the ways I typically navigate the world is by looking for the logic in all things. However, this is one of those times where this strategy has not been helpful and I am leaning even more on listening and empathy. I have found myself asking more questions of colleagues, family, and friends. At times I hear and read things that do not resonate with my current experiences and I am faced with choices: I can dismiss the information and/or the person or I can ask follow-up questions and do some research to learn more before deciding what to do with the information.
How are you navigating these challenging circumstances and what resources have you found to stay mentally and physically healthy? Please send me an email ( answering this question. I will compile your best strategies and resources anonymously to share in my February newsletter. I will get us started by sharing two resources that I’ve found helpful. Margaret Wheatley’s book “Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future,” and Brene Brown’s podcast “Unlocking Us.” I’d also encourage you to listen to the “Culture Talk” podcast to hear about race from the youth perspective, created by local students. 

We may be apart with physical distancing, but that just makes it more important to be part of a community of educators who can support each other. I encourage you to connect with friends and colleagues through a weekly phone call or virtual coffee break, joining a discipline-specific arts education organization, or following an educators group on social media. If you’re on Twitter, connect with me @PCrooks_VAPA and others passionate about arts education on our weekly #CaArtsEdChat chats every Wednesday from 4 to 4:30 p.m. Whether you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat before or are an expert, use this link to see the questions and learn how to join the conversation.   

VAPA Coordinator, SDCOE
VAPA arts in action professional learning subhead
View the latest VAPA professional learning opportunities or click the dates below for the registration page. 

Music That Unifies: Developing Empathy and Understanding Through World Music
Join us on March 8 and 13 for this pair of interactive sessions designed to utilize the power of music to broaden a student's world view and develop a greater sense of empathy. The sessions will reinforce both the need for discipline-specific music and arts instruction as well as integrated instruction to benefit the whole child. We will explore the lives of people in other parts of the world by introducing students to the music that is part of their daily lives, rituals, and celebrations, while also introducing and reinforcing key music standards.

This series will pair a short 25 minute session one week with a more in-depth, hour-long discussion the following week. Materials and resources have been adapted for virtual, hybrid, and in-person learning. For questions or more information, contact Aaron Bryan ( or Pauline Crooks ( 

Arts Empower Mega Rally Encore: Student Spotlight
The October 2020 Arts Empower Mega Rally was such a success that we are presenting an encore! Please join us on Thursday, March 11, for the Arts Empower Mega Rally Encore: Student Spotlight. Be inspired by a student panel as well as beautiful and powerful artwork created by our students to help them cope, connect, and communicate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Register now to attend the Arts Empower San Diego Rally Encore: Student Spotlight. We can't wait to celebrate arts education and our San Diego County students with you.

San Diego Area Arts Leadership Community
The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and the Southern Counties California Arts Project (SouthCAP) partner in facilitating the San Diego Area Arts Leadership Community. This community of TK-12 school district arts leaders investigate arts education topics and current research to maintain awareness of issues and policies impacting arts education in California. The community provides a system of support for arts leaders to share, reflect, problem-solve, and learn from each other, especially in our current circumstances with shifting contexts in face-to-face, virtual, and hybrid models of instruction. Sessions will continue Jan. 29, and Feb. 12 and 26.

TCAP's Latin Music Webinars
TCAP's Latin Music Initiative is a FREE resource for teachers in support of the California Music Standards and broadening the scope of musical traditions studied in educational settings. TCAP's Latin Music webinar series explores: the intersection and relationships between Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-Cuban music, the African diaspora's influence on contemporary Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-Cuban music and culture, and culturally relevant instructional teaching practices. Registration is available here. For questions or more information, email

Conversations with California Artists, Creatives, and Educators
The California Arts Project's (TAP) Conversations webinars highlight artists, creatives, and educators sharing their practice, current work, and how they are finding their way in these changing times. Contemporary artistic practices are a key component of the new California Arts Standards, join us to gain insight into current and emerging creative practices. Registration is available here. For questions or more information email:

SouthCAP Arts Education Network
In a time of unprecedented challenges, it is more important than ever to connect and network with other arts educators throughout San Diego, Orange, and Imperial counties. Join the SouthCAP Arts Education Network, online from 4 to 5:30 p.m., on the last Thursday of every month, to share experiences, exchange ideas, and stay informed in arts education statewide updates. For TK-12 and post-secondary educators in dance, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts, and CTE AME.
  • 2020-21 Sessions: Jan. 28, Feb. 25, March 25, April 29, and May 27
  • Register using this form and a Zoom link will be emailed to you.

VAPA arts in action news and resources subhead
Arts Education Curriculum Units
The SDCOE Curriculum and Instruction, Multilingual Education and Global Achievement, and Innovation departments collaborated to design distance learning units of study in grades K-12 that are focused on grade-level essential learnings in each content area. These units were purposefully designed to integrate content (including the arts), and provide flexibility and choice. The units of study connect content in the following areas: English language arts, English language development, mathematics, science, history/social science, arts, computer science, and physical education through integrated study in K-5 and thematic units in grades 6-12. Assessment opportunities (formative and summative) and student feedback are embedded and intentionally developed. These open-source units are being developed in Google to ensure maximum flexibility for teachers to use them with their district’s preferred distance learning instructional platform. The units are available at

Guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
The California Department of Public Health has updated its guidance to clarify that outdoor singing and band practice are permitted, provided that precautions such as physical distancing and mask wearing are implemented to the maximum extent possible. The playing of wind instruments (any instrument played by the mouth, such as a trumpet or clarinet) is strongly discouraged. District and site administrators should consider how to adapt plans and make sure spaces and times are made available to accommodate the change, and that good mitigation practices will be used. 

Please visit the following webpages for more information:

Please email to learn more about this guidance and considerations for arts education

Updates on Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Materials

2019 California Arts Standards
The final publication version of the California Arts Standards for Public Schools, Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Arts Standards) has been posted on the standards web page at The publication version is in PDF format and includes a Special Acknowledgements section with the names of the members of the Visual and Performing Arts Standards Advisory Committee, publication ordering information, and hyperlinks to glossary terms. The Arts Standards may also be searched and cross referenced with other content areas using the Search the Standards Webpage at or using the mobile application available for download at Even when using the search platforms to find and review standards, the introduction to the standards that is only found in the PDF contains vital information for educators who are engaging in preliminary learning about the standards.

2020 Arts Framework
The State Board of Education-adopted pre-publication version of the California Arts Education Framework for Public Schools, Transitional Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Arts Framework) supports the implementation of the 2019 Arts Standards. The framework chapters (adopted in July) are posted on the California Arts Education Framework page at The Arts Framework is being prepared for publication, which includes the addition of special acknowledgements and other front matter and professional editing, and design. While the Arts Framework is being prepared for publication, educators can use the prepublication chapters to access the updated framework content.

2021 Instructional Materials Adoption
Update from the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources (CFIR) Division: California Education Code (EC) sections 60200 and 60212 authorize the State Board of Education (SBE) to adopt instructional materials for Kindergarten and grades 1 through 8, inclusive, in arts education and to charge publishers a fee for their participation in that adoption.

California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR), Section 9512(a) requires that the SBE appoint Instructional Materials Reviewers (IMRs) and Content Review Experts (CREs) to serve as advisors to the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) and the SBE in the review of instructional materials submitted for adoption. On Jan. 13, SBE took action to appoint IMRs and CREs for the Arts Education Instructional Materials adoption. More information about the adoption is available at To see the full list of recommended IMRs and CREs, please see Item 10: The 2021 Arts Education Instructional Materials Adoption: Appointment of Reviewers on the SBE Website.

The CFIR Division appreciates all who helped get the word out for this opportunity to support arts education in California and all those who will serve as reviewers.
VAPA arts in action spotlight subhead
Arts Empower San Diego is presenting the Arts Empower Mega Rally Encore on Thursday, March 11. This event will highlight and celebrate San Diego county students.  

Arts Empower San Diego is looking for student-created art in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts, to share at the March 11 Arts Empower Mega Rally Encore. San Diego County teachers and students are encouraged to submit student works of art here.
Deadline for submissions: Feb. 11

Arts Empower San Diego is also looking for students, in grades 6 through 12, to participate on a student panel at the Arts Empower Mega Rally Encore, to share personal stories, endeavors, and processes throughout the pandemic and current social climate. San Diego County teachers who would like to nominate a student to be included in the panel should submit contact information here
Deadline for recommendations: Feb. 11

Whether you were able to join us live for the first Arts Empower Mega Rally on Oct. 15, 2020 or not, you can watch a video of the event on YouTube to hear from teachers, leaders, and, best of all, students who are using the arts to thrive during this difficult time.
Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition for high school students, coordinated in San Diego by Write Out Loud. The San Diego County winner competes at the state level. The state winner competes at the national level. Winners at these levels are awarded cash prizes. School competitions can be organized by a teacher, a club, or a group of students, or request that Write Out Loud organize a competition at your school for interested students. If a student attends a school that is not participating in Poetry Out Loud, they can participate as an individual student through Write Out Loud.
READ IMAGINE CREATE encourages middle and high school students to read the poetry of Emily Dickinson in The Essential Emily Dickinson — with an introduction by Joyce Carol Oates and create a personal expression of the poem or poems in a medium of their choice — literary, visual, performance, or media arts. Poetry and visual art workshops are also available virtually, using poems from the book for inspiration. Student entries are adjudicated and cash prizes are awarded to the top selections. Entries are also featured on the Write Out Loud website and a student awards presentation takes place in April. Any student in San Diego County can participate, whether their school is participating or not. A limited number of books are available and electronic copies of the poems are also available upon request.
This past year was a challenge for many people, including artists. We have had to adapt and find new ways to continue to create during this time. But sometimes in the middle of turmoil and chaos we find resilience, and innovative, inspiring art is created. Join us for this panel event where we will hear from four artists, OTL staff and friends, and learn about the art they have been cultivating and creating over this past year. There will also be space for attendees to share their art and ideas with each other; so come with an open mind and an open heart to inspire and motivate each other to continue creating in 2021!
Available to all elementary students within San Diego County, this free 25-minute live, virtual field trip features an interactive musical performance by a Classics 4 Kids musician or our conductor, an explanation of their instrument, and time for the students to ask questions and share comments with the musician. This program can be utilized for students in the classroom or learning from home. 

Each Meet and Greet is tailored to the grade level of the students in attendance and includes social and emotional learning components and diverse music selections featuring Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and female composers.

Availability is limited – this program is offered Tuesdays to Fridays with start times in the morning at 9:15 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. For more information or to book a virtual visit, email and include the grade level of students, school name, contact phone number, and three preferred dates and times.

Zoom platform is preferred. A Spanish program is available by request.
Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021 at 2 p.m.
This 50-minute live-hosted music and discussion event will explore the human experience as expressed through three styles of Mexican regional music. Hermanos Herrera, along with Dr. Rice, will explore the lived meanings of son jarocho, son huasteco, and accordion-based norteño music, from northern Mexico. They will discuss each genre’s history as well as the stylistic differences among them. They will also tell the story of how they came to dedicate themselves to performing these particular styles. After each prerecorded performance segment, the group, with instruments in hand, will answer any questions you may have about a particular instrument, music style, and the personal and social significance of their music. Bring your dancing shoes and your questions for what promises to be a fun-filled and music-filled presentation!

Registration required.
The Outside the Lens Arts Integration Workshops explore the language of visual and media art through our project design process, supporting teachers with the skills to integrate media arts into their core curriculum. Workshops will address English Language Arts and Science standards alongside VAPA and NCA standards. By leveraging arts education resources and expertise through this professional development opportunity, teachers can provide more meaningful arts experiences for students. During these participatory workshops we will explore the concepts of visual and media arts within a classroom setting, and how we can apply these skills to various curriculum to amplify students’ voices, both as critical consumers and conscious creators of media. Participants will walk away with an arts integrated project and lesson plan to use with students.
Advocates For Classical Music invites all elementary and middle school teachers and parents who are home-schooling to utilize two newly created videos to help your students better understand the various instruments of the symphony orchestra. These videos are short (around 10 minutes each), engaging, and fun to watch. These videos can be located here.

Perhaps, with the start of this new semester, your students need to select an instrument they want to learn to play. These videos ("Making Music” 1&2) will help them decide. One video demonstrates strings and woodwinds while the other covers brass and percussion. They are also helpful if you are teaching about the symphony orchestra. These videos are free of charge and readily available to view anytime at your convenience on the Advocates For Classical Music YouTube Channel.  

Advocates For Classical Music, an all-volunteer organization, has been introducing kids to great music for the past 25 years through our music docent visits to the classroom. In response to this pandemic and the required “distance learning,” we are continually developing a variety of musical teaching resources to assist teachers and home-schoolers with music education.
Safa’s Story, a virtual theatre-based program for students in grades 3 through 7, is designed to create dialogue about cultural sensitivity, diversity, and accepting difference. The play is based on a true story of a Zimbabwean-American 5th-grade girl from San Diego. The program centers around a rare type of interactive performance called Forum Theatre that empowers students to stand up for themselves and their peers when they experience discrimination or bullying. You can learn more about the show and watch a promo on the Safa's Story website. You can book now to schedule the virtual program anytime between Jan. 15 and June 15. Contact for more information.
The Student Voices Campaign is an annual statewide creative arts challenge for students (grades 7 through 12) to make their voices heard! This year, the Student Voices Campaign asks students from across arts disciplines to demonstrate how the power of the arts can draw attention to and address important community issues. The purpose of the campaign is to demonstrate how arts education empowers student voice, and to show school and community leaders why it is important to advocate for arts education funding in public schools. Learn more here.
GRAMMY Music Educator Awards recognize teachers for their outstanding commitment to music education and positive impact on students. Eligible recipients include current, full-time public school music teachers in elementary, middle school, high school, and college. Funding is intended to bring attention to the excellent and impactful work being done by music educators.
Applicants will be evaluated based on evidence that they: 
  • Have made a measurable difference in the lives of students 
  • Have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education
  • Are exemplars of the best in the field
  • Have shown a commitment to the cause of maintaining music education in the schools
Submit nominations and applications for the 2022 Award by March 15.
Get up-to-the-minute information about what's happening at SDCOE and in our districts across the county.