February 2017 LRT Notes


Justice is what love looks like in public.  Cornell West

Students who feel loved at home come to school to learn.  Students who don’t feel loved at home come to school to feel loved.   Gail Gorky


OPENING/WARM UP - Louise opened the meeting with the two quotes posted above for paired reflection on the heels of Valentine’s Day.

ALLIANCE UPDATE & DISCUSSIONS- Louise and Carolyn presented

 1. Theory of Action

In a consulting conversation with Paul Born, we identified our theory of action with five indicators

·         Increase participation in the arts

·         Provide exceptional learning opportunities

·         Increase student well being and positive identity

·         Improve graduation rates

·         Students prepared for work and participation in society

The one-page Alliance Facts Sheet has been amended to incorporate this theory and also provides more specific “ways to get involved” that include joining a new People’s Advisory Group. The group reviewed the document, offered thoughtful suggestions and gave a thumbs up to this clarifying document that will continue to evolve.

Recommendation for improving included: adding core values to the belief statement; using a verb as a lead in to “What we are doing” section. Everyone liked the idea of the People’s Advisory Group and we thought about how this could function to support and sustain Alliance goals of inclusion across “lived experience” and cross-sector communities.


2.  Listening Campaign

Listening conversations with different sectors are continuing and a training “toolkit” is now online to enable anyone to conduct a conversation and send a summary of what was learned.  As part of Art is Education month (March), the Alliance is mounting the Creative Voices campaign to gather more data via input from students and others through twitter and other social media platforms.  The Alameda County Arts Commission (ACAC) work with county libraries mounting Art is Education events will spread the word and encourage participation.

Lacy Asbill, professional data analyst -- has been contracted and is reading through the data as it is being collected. She will be working to understand and summarize the findings so that they can be used to inform the Alliance’s work and community plan.


3.  Shared Benchmarks & Baseline Data Collection

The data team created a Shared Benchmarks & Baseline Data Document that allows us to track existing research on our five strategic priorities.  This is a work in progress and we are still working to fill in missing information. 

The group reviewed the document.  Comments included questions, useful resource information, recommendations and discussion points.  A few highlights:

  • Graduation, suspension rates, and academic scores (ELA and Math) - now is a good time to get data from the State in these areas.
  • What are exceptional learning opportunities?  What does it look like?  How do you know?  Arts classes and arts learning across the curriculum were notes as exceptional, but we need to clarify what we mean by quality teaching and learning in and through the arts.  Art can be taught badly.
  • Document Format Recommendation – include visual (circle chart with arrow diagram) of 5 indicators to help reader understand their relationship to one another.
  • How to track readiness for the future?

o   Sophie is working on a project with OUSD and others to create indicators for citizenry skills  and will share these data points with the Alliance.

o   Rachel noted a study that links “people who read” with higher rates of volunteerism and voting.  

o   Yvonne wondered how we working with higher education?  Thinking about the larger education ecosystem.  She worries about availability and access to college and jobs and wants to make sure we’re not setting student up for failure.

o   Jean learned through the listening conversation with the business/tech community that they questioned the reason for schooling, discussing their own bad experiences. Thinking about what was transformative, one person talked about an apprenticeship experience. They also thought about adding “media arts” to the arts and had a significant conversion about Career Technical Education (CTE) and wondered how the Alliance was engaging these kinds of programs. Recommending more connections with the business/tech sector and engaging 21st century learning goals language.


4.  Listening Campaign: Initial Data Presentation on Student Interviews (Nov/Dec)

Jean Johnstone led a discussion on this report from the data analyst, Lacy Asbill. 

Highlights of discussion questions, topics, recommendations:

  • Introductory Section – be sure to include:

o   definition of terms (i.e. what we mean by arts)

o   discussion questions

o   demographics of student interviewers, schools and interview respondents

o   clarifications re purpose or research and approach – learning what confirms and contradict our hunches.  Explain that we are engaging “grounded theory” not “analytic induction” and describe what the difference is.

  • Clarification re schools participation – both arts-rich and low arts schools are included. The results in this report include perspectives of students from arts-rich schools.  Interviews and data from non-arts rich schools will be coming in the next round of analysis.  What we learn from students in this report on the strength of their schools is helping define and understand quality education from student perspectives.
  • Inquiry Question Theme Chart – recommend using percent instead of numbers of respondents by theme to help the reader understand the ratio. 
  • Questions to consider adding - LRT members are concerned and curious about:

o   What brought students to the art classes they are taking (i.e. requirement, assigned by school, self-selected, etc.)  Interested in contrary data that emerges—what students say who are not inclined towards the arts.

o   Are you a creative person?  What does creativity mean to you? Worried that creativity is overused in the arts.  Interested in how respondents understand creativity.  How can creativity be amplified and cultivated?  What kind of learning environment fosters creativity?

  • How can we incorporate 21st Century Learning skill language and its pillars of resiliency, creativity and adaptability.
  • Need to define quality of teaching and learning.  What do we stand for?  What do we value?  We thought about the Quality of Qualities Study done by Steve Seidel at Project Zero—that found one of the best indicators of quality is the ongoing discussion of quality by engaged participants and stakeholders.  We can also learn about defining our unique Bay Area quality indicators from the Quality Panel in Dallas (Rachel participated in) and LA’s plan. 

In conclusion, LRT members expressed their growing clarity and enthusiasm—appreciating the elucidating documents and information presented along with the opportunity for discussion.



Timeline – Louise presented the Alliance timeline with our workplan from February – September.

LRT Next Meeting: March 15 LRT Meeting CANCELEDa conflict was discovered with the Create CA meeting scheduled for the same day.  Our next meeting is: Wednesday, April 19, 9:30-11:30.    In addition to staff reports and updates, items recommended for discussion:  How to fit it all in?  How to talk about Alliance work with folks not in the meeting room?Lead Action Team will be drafting a Community Plan for review at our next Leadership Roundtable meeting.

Carolyn Carr