4.4.6 Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA)

Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA)

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. PEEF resources have increased arts staffing allocations to schools and grown district-wide arts programs.  

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. The goal is to draw on the power of arts and creativity to realize the community’s hopes for the students of SFUSD. 

VAPA works to pursue targeted strategies within three core priorities:

1. Equity and Excellence.

SFUSD ensures equity in arts and creativity programming and student outcomes. The district views “equity” and “excellence” as inherently interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and therefore focuses 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 works to provide equitable arts access and participation, raises the quality of arts and creativity programming, centers programming around students’ interests and cultures, and better leverages San Francisco’s myriad of arts resources.

2. Clarity and Coherence.

SFUSD seeks alignment in arts and creativity programming at the department, school, district, and community levels in order to enrich students’ creative experiences. The Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) department strengthens both centrally-administered arts programs and its support to schools around their arts programs. Key strategies include the development of sequential, standards-based curricula; need-based resources and staffing to inspire and enable the effective delivery of these curricula; and the use of data to inform VAPA programming. Additionally, the SFUSD Central Office galvanizes 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 has increased 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 annually reports 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 builds towards ongoing data-informed program improvements that ensure each and every student a robust arts education.

The State Board of Education (SBE) adopted the California Arts Standards for Public Schools, Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Arts Standards) on January 9, 2019. The VAPA Department of SFUSD continues to develop these standards into culturally relevant lessons and programming that honor the tremendous diversity in San Francisco. These three priorities—equity and excellence, clarity and coherence, and data and accountability—along with the CA Arts Standards, 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. 

Additional information at: www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/vapacontentstds.asp