These are artsy times for Warren Lane Elementary, which is Inglewood USD’s Turnaround Arts School. This is Warren Lane’s second year with P.S. ARTS. Currently, each student receives 45 minutes a week of dance instruction per week during the residency that incorporates, character building, collaboration and teamwork among peers, and fitness. P.S. ARTS has written a grant proposal to further expand arts programming at Warren Lane Elementary over the next three years. If the grant is awarded to P.S. ARTS, Warren Lane would provide 20 weeks of integrated dance and science lessons, in partnership with sister organization, PS Science in the first year. All students, transitional kindergarten through 6th grade, participate in a 20-week dance residency.
P.S. ARTS was created in response to significant education budget cuts in the 1970’s and 1980’s, which cut local tax revenues for public schools and resulted in the systematic reduction and elimination of arts programs in California public schools. They serve over 250,000 students in 57 underserved schools across Los Angeles County and California’s Central Valley. Today, P.S. ARTS is widely regarded as an exemplar arts education provider, reaching beyond providing arts instruction and increasing quality, equity, and access in education by disseminating program resources, providing professional development, and contributing to national arts education policy discussions.
Chief Executive Officer of P.S. ARTS, Dr. Kristen Paglia has been in a leadership role in this organization for nearly a decade. In addition to overseeing the quality, content, and evaluation of P.S. ARTS’ education programs, Dr. Paglia works to keep educational equity and excellence for all children at the center of everything at P.S. ARTS. Sylvia Hathaway Chavez serves as program manager of P.S. ARTS in Santa Monica Malibu Unified, Wiseburn Unified, and Inglewood Unified School Districts. Chavez says, “I am passionate about creating theatre with and for youth, and strive to produce and support performing art works that are relevant and vital to communities whose voices are not typically encouraged in our society.”
Dr. Vincent Matthews, IUSD State Administrator, met with P.S. ARTS and the Keck Foundation and proudly thanked them for considering Warren Lane and talked about how the arts supports the district mission. Dr. Eboni Kemp, principal at Warren Lane, shared how the coaching continues to be a strong support with integrating the arts in the classroom. “P.S. ARTS began coaching teachers with arts integration at the end of last year. This school year, the coaching time will be increased. My teachers will learn how to integrate arts with the Common Core Curriculum through coaching which supports our instructional focus. The coaching will be grade grade-level specific and meet the needs of each grade level at Warren Lane,” she adds.
When Kemp was asked how she feels the students will benefit, she joyfully said, “The majority of my students are visual and kinesthetic learners who love to be active. P.S. ARTS has given the students a dance residency that they look forward to on a weekly basis. They get an opportunity to let their energy out productively which has improved their focus in the classroom.” Finally, Kemp draws a parallel to the arts affecting the school climate by saying, “The students’ ability to collaborate and praise each other have tremendously improved, as well as their behavior. We could not have done this without P.S. ARTS
as our partner!”