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RSF School District approves strategic plan for arts program

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Rancho Santa Fe School District unanimously decided at its August monthly board meeting on a new strategic plan for the arts. The decision was made following a comprehensive presentation by consultant Ashely Adams, who was brought on board to continue the development of the district’s MUSE program.

MUSE encompasses the academic disciplines of music, dance, theater and visual arts. “I’m here today joined by many members of our strategic planning committee to share the goals of the entire year of reflection, thoughtfulness and hard work to determine the best path for the visual and performing arts at R. Roger Rowe,” Adams said. “Like in business and in life, greatness in education comes from vision, a clear path with measurable goals and a strong execution.”

Adams said she was very excited to present the strategic plan — a collaborative effort which first began in October 2016.   

Adams said she met with arts teachers, classroom teachers, parents and the administration to develop a complete assessment of the visual and performing arts programs.   

In February 2017, Adams presented the assessment to the board and strongly recommended the district engage in a strategic planning process for the arts. 

“In the spring of this year, you took action on this recommendation and over 20 stakeholders from this district as well as leaders from the county came together to forge a plan of the arts at R. Roger Rowe,” she said.

Adams also extended her thanks to Pauleen Crooks of San Diego San Diego Arts Empower who offered support through the strategic planning process.

“We will now be able to participate in their countywide networking and professional development opportunities,” she said.

The five areas of growth identified for the arts at R. Roger Rowe are access and equity, curriculum, instruction, community engagement and facilities and equipment. For example, in the category of access and equity, the goal is to provide every R. Roger Rowe student with a foundation in both the visual and performing arts. And in the curriculum category, students will be offered an arts-affiliated curriculum in each discipline with the goal of preparing them for future studies in high school and beyond. Above all, the purpose is to instill a long-term appreciation for the arts. According to Adams, each goal had two to five goal objectives within this five-year plan.

“So, in phase one, it’s just establish what standards are we using, because we haven’t had an opportunity as a school to determine are we using California State standards or the national standards. So, that has to be established first and that’s phase one,” she said. “And then another step in phase one is professional development standards because once we decide what standards we’re going to use, the teachers have to have professional help if they’re staying on a path.”

The next step is to have all teachers meet with their counterparts at the high schools to help align that curriculum. Adams also pointed out that each action plan is very clear in terms of who’s responsible and accountable for a goal.

“I think we all know it’s great to have big dreams for a program and feel really passionate about it, but we have to put it down clearly on paper and know who’s accountable for that and who’s going to be working on it,” she said.

One of the committee members present, R. Roger Rowe music teacher RC Haus, said he thought the point of the strategic plan was to help create a more robust thought process for the children.

“It’s about inspiring all students to engage and connect with their world through the beauty of the arts,” he said.