October 2016 LRT Notes

In seeking to break down barriers and challenge our assumptions, we must continue promoting and prioritizing the arts and humanities, especially for our young people. In many ways, the arts and humanities reflect our national soul. They are central to who we are as Americans—as dreamers and storytellers, creators and visionaries. By investing in the arts, we can chart a course for the future in which the threads of our common humanity are bound together with creative empathy and openness.            
                                                                                      President Barack Obama, October 2016

1. Opening/Warm Up. Louise Music opened the meeting with Obama’s inspirational words, followed up with a conversation on the Collective Impact 3.0 Framework that articulates an evolution of practices, shown on the chart below. We reflected on these new understandings in pairs and as a whole group. The leadership paradigm shift from management to movement building resonated positively with our group. We also talked about strategic learning and the time needed to make complex systemic social change that is not in line with most short-term grant funding, nonprofit and start-up business 

2. Take-Aways from Tamarack’s Community Change Institute in Toronto – Carolyn Carr & Ann Wettrich reported, followed by group discussion.

Discussion Highlights:

  • Some expressed discomfort with the use of the term “disruption” and felt that it was counter-productive messaging.
  • Several offered constructive critiques of the newly crafted campaign message–questioning the use of the word “school” instead of “learning.” Another suggestion for slight revision and addition to the message–Arts & Creativity: For the Love of Learning and a Better Future for All. While nothing is written in stone and all comments and ideas are welcome and open for consideration, an explanation for the reasoning behind the campaign statement recommended by Paul Born was provided. He is encouraging us to use fewer words, be clear, concise and specific– not try to be everything to everyone—but instead to name the arts and schools as primary focal area for change.
  • Re “Geographics” – adding the idea that at State & National levels, beyond policy and research, we can learn from what people are doing in other areas.
  • Appreciation was express for the mindset shift from deficit to asset-based approaches.

3. Break Out Discussion Groups – Data, Planning, and Listening Campaign Groups. After each group met for 45 minutes, we gathered as a whole group to share out thinking and recommendations.

  • Data Group:  Began by preview of Create CA new data map project designed to increase participation in arts education across the state by analyzing and reporting school-level data on arts education courses and 6-12th grade enrollment.  From this a discussion grew and identified the need for an  Alliance data-gathering plan to fill in the gaps and provide additional information.  Towards this end the group drafted an outline for a plan that included: 1) Gathering Baseline Data at Alameda County/district and school levels. [use the LAUSD model] building on what CA asset mapping tells us by filling in important missing information, i.e. elementary school data and A-G courses in the arts (required for admission to CSU and UC schools)—to better understand inequities. 2) District Level – systems information. Gather information on: what districts have and are implementing arts plans, what arts plans are funded through LCAP, and what local dollars are being utilized for arts (i.e. public funding streams, like Measure G in Oakland). 3) Access vs. Quality – We need to figure out metrics for quality and identify strategies to gather this information. 4) Action Research – data collection by users—rubric and storytelling approaches can be utilized. Listening Campaign is working on this.

The group raised questions: How do we take next steps on these recommendations?Who needs to be involved in identifying metrics and gathering information? and recommend that the Alliance take this on, possibly partnering with a research group.

  • Listening Campaign Group. Examined and discussed: 1) the project goal of engaging schools; 2) the strategy of collaborating with Ashland’s REACH youth between ages of 18-24—recruiting and training eight youth who will be paid to conduct interviews at five schools. Outcomes include seven blogs and two podcasts; 3) the interview questions—currently in draft form; and 4) the schools being considered for involvement.
  • Planning Group. Reviewed and discussed sample community plans from three different projects, examining different words used for categorizing, naming sections and organizing their work. The group decided to go with their idea of organizing Alliance work into “bucket” areas, i.e. learning/schools; community, climate, future. They also considered buckets for each stakeholder group—students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community. They thought about the challenge of how to capture unintended consequences—i.e. teacher retention and school culture being positively affected by the arts. They wondered about growth metrics priorities and measures for each type of stakeholder. They proposed an indicator for student engagement in the arts—measuring a shift from viewing to making art.

4. Reflective Conversation. Rachel Osajima posed questions to the group: What is emerging? What questions do you have?

Comment highlights:

  • Feeling of invigorated momentum!
  • Model community plans are a valuable resource.
  • Need “lived experience” people on Leadership Roundtable. What structures and strategies do we have to advance this need?
  • What are our plans to gather data on access, quality and impact?

5. Next meeting: Wednesday, November 16th, 9:30-11:30, same location.

Carolyn Carr