Last month, schools across our country, state and nation participated in Read Across America. Several schools throughout the county invited me to share some of my favorite books such as “Green Eggs and Ham” or “Huevos Verdes con Jamón.” One of my favorite Seuss quotes reflective of the arts is about inspiring inner potential. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Dr. Seuss is reminding students, families, teachers, and the community that we all have something unique to offer the world and we need to empower everyone’s talents. When I enter San Luis Obispo County classrooms, I witness the dedicated teachers, staff, administrators, and community volunteers foster the untapped talents of our youth through the arts, agriculture, Skills USA, and Career & Technical Education programs.
Throughout my career as a teacher, school administrator, college instructor, and superintendent I have been told that arts in schools are a luxury. I have watched arts programming reduced to make more time for standardized testing, as part of budget cuts, or sometimes because of the lack of qualified instructors. There are decades of published research data reporting on the critical need to provide arts integration in our schools. Some of the titles include,“Teachers are Using Theater and Dance to Teach Math—and It’s Working” or “Arts-Based Education Will Power the Creative Economy.” It is inspirational that several Central Coast arts organizations continue to partner with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education in the promotion of the arts by providing students opportunities to work with professional artists in professional settings.
I am pleased to report that Studios on the Park in Paso Robles, Vina Robles in Paso Robles, Opera San Luis Obispo, Symphony of the Vines, the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, along with several other arts organizations are working with our office to support the arts in schools throughout the county. A few of the highlights include:
•Coming this summer dedicated space for all north county schools will be provided at Studios on the Park to display student art.
•The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art is currently sponsoring AWAKEN, a year-long program celebrating art and community expressed through the imaginative creations of our county’s students.
•Saturday, May 11, 2019 (Mother’s Day weekend), Opera San Luis Obispo will produce the first annual Countywide Arts Extravaganza. The Opera San Luis Obispo Gala Extraordinaire will feature student artists from throughout the county working with Ballet Theatre San Luis Obispo, Civic Ballet San Luis Obispo, Opera SLO Resident Artists Holly Banfield, Alba Franco Cancel, and Amy Goymerac, in addition to students from north and south county who are involved in school dance, choral, and instrumental programs. The Gala is another example of arts organizations linking hands with education to promote the arts. Opera San Luis Obispo’s Grand Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Brian Asher Alhadeff, will accompany the professional performers, students, and ballet companies in our very own world-class venue, the Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo. This majestic facility has been a showcase for sweeping musicals, cutting edge performances, and phenomenal local talent for over 25 years. For ticket information, visit w ww.pacslo.org or call 805-756-4849.
I am proud to serve as your county superintendent of schools and to promote the arts.