4.4.6 Visual and Performing Arts

Visual and Performing Arts

The San Francisco community has long supported arts education, recognizing the value of arts and creativity in providing each and every student with a quality arts education experience. In 2004, the voter-approved Public Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF) earmarked millions in annual school funding for arts education. In the 17 years since, PEEF resources have increased arts staffing allocations to schools and grown district-wide arts programs. The district is proud of these accomplishments, which have enriched thousands of students’ learning experiences.  

Yet the potential for arts and creativity education remains unfulfilled, especially for the district’s historically marginalized students. More work is needed to break free from the euro-centric approach towards the arts and move away from biases, stereotypes and false narratives in arts education.  In June 2019, the Board of Education passed the Resolution to Adopt the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity and Access in Arts Learning (“Arts Resolution,” No. 195-28A1), taking the definitive stand that SFUSD is an arts equity district.

In support of the Arts Resolution, and in alignment with Vision 2025, the SFUSD Arts Department saw the need to draft a visionary guide, Arts & Creativity 2025: SFUSD’s Arts Equity Plan. Arts & Creativity 2025 gives the district the chance to build on what was working, adjust what wasn’t, and shine a spotlight on areas previously overlooked. The goal is to draw on the power of arts and creativity to realize the community’s hopes for the students of SFUSD. The district has articulated these aspirations through its foundational Vision 2025 and the Graduate Profile, and Arts & Creativity 2025 outlines its plans for using arts education to make these aspirations the reality for every SFUSD student. Arts & Creativity 2025 meaningfully engages each and every student—including African-American students and students of other historically underrepresented races and ethnicities, English learners, and those with special needs—in experiences to develop and elevate their creative voices 

Over the next five years leading up to 2025, SFUSD will pursue targeted strategies within three core priorities:

1. Equity and Excellence.

SFUSD will ensure equity in arts and creativity programming and student outcomes. The district views “equity” and “excellence” as inherently interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and therefore will focus especially on students who typically are deprived of arts and creativity education, including students of historically disadvantaged racial groups, English learners, and students with special needs. To do this, the district will work to provide equitable arts access and participation, raise the quality of arts and creativity programming, center programming around students’ interests and cultures, and better leverage San Francisco’s myriad of arts resources.

2. Clarity and Coherence.

SFUSD will align arts and creativity programming across school/department staff, community partners and working artists. The Arts Department will strengthen both centrally-administered arts programs and its support to schools around their arts programs. Key strategies include the development of sequential, standards-based curricula via unpacking the CA Standards for the Arts; need-based resource assessments and allocation of diverse staffing; and the use of data to inform Arts programming. Additionally, the SFUSD Central Office will galvanize the San Francisco community around arts and creativity, growing more meaningful partnerships with community-based organizations, city agencies, philanthropy, and families to together provide students with meaningful arts experiences. 

3. Data and Accountability.

SFUSD will increase accountability through the use of data to foster a culture of continuous improvement in the arts. The Central Office annually collects and analyzes data on arts access, participation, quality, and outcomes, using equity as a lens through which to understand progress at the district, school, program, and student level. The district will also annually report on its findings—ensuring that educators, families, and community partners have ready access to information on the arts—and incorporate the arts into district and school planning—ensuring that the arts are a part of the district and schools’ core goals and initiatives. On this foundation, SFUSD will build towards ongoing data-informed program improvements that ensure each and every student a robust arts education. Data measures will be reviewed by multiple advisory and decision-making bodies that include students, teachers, families, community members and partners.

These three priorities—equity and excellence, clarity and coherence, and data and accountability—will guide the district’s pursuit of Vision 2025 and the Graduate Profile, outlining the ways in which SFUSD can use arts and creativity to support each and every student to learn, explore, grow, and thrive in school, career, and life. Arts & Creativity 2025 is SFUSD’s roadmap to become a true Arts Equity District.

California Arts Standards

SFUSD Board of Education Resolution No. 195-28A1

SFUSD Arts Department Website