CVUSD Expands Focus on the Arts Program Thanks to ToArts AccessArts Grant and the Conejo Schools Foundation

CVUSD Expands Focus on the Arts Program Thanks to ToArts AccessArts Grant and the Conejo Schools Foundation

At the Tuesday, October 6th Board of Education Meeting, CVUSD accepted an AccessArts grant from TOArts, with additional funding from the Conejo Schools Foundation (CSF), to support and expand the district’s highly-successful, longstanding Focus on the Arts (FOTA) program in elementary schools for the 2020-21 academic year.

In 2020-21, FOTA will deliver comprehensive, at-home arts curricula and instruction to nearly 7,000 students in transitional kindergarten (TK) through fifth grade. FOTA is specifically designed for the district’s blended, remote, and SHINE elementary school students whose lives and learning need art during an unprecedented time and within a multi-faceted class-attendance model. FOTA’s mission is to provide high-quality, equitable education in the arts, and through the arts, that sparks joy and interest in students; offers children exposure to a broad range of creative endeavors across the arts spectrum in fun, engaging ways; develops creativity and critical thinking skills; and connects important stakeholders across the CVUSD community.

 At its core, the COVID-19 edition of FOTA is a simple, engaging eight-month series of 30 weekly, arts-focused video lessons and supporting activities which integrate major art concepts and subject areas, and foster individual creativity and connection. The curriculum is comprised of grade-level-specific content collaboratively developed by teachers and local artists, and then tailored for inspiring, independent access by students via in-home technologies and provided materials/supplies. The program relies on arts integration, a proven teaching methodology in which students construct and demonstrate their understanding of major concepts through art forms. In this mode, children engage in creative processes which connect art forms to other subject areas, and then meet evolving objectives for both.

“In the district, we believe in encouraging and facilitating the arts for students of all grade levels,” said Dr. Mark McLaughlin, superintendent of the Conejo Valley Unified School District. “Focus on the Arts has a longstanding history as an exceptional component of our students’ educational experiences. We are very excited to have this partnership grow to provide new art opportunities to our students during this unprecedented school year. On behalf of the district, I wish to thank TOArts, the Conejo Schools Foundation, our dedicated staff, and all involved for bringing this wonderful, expanded access to the arts to our students.”

Check out a sneak peek of this month's art projects:

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