Methow Arts has received a grant from Icicle Fund that will support a Youth Arts Initiative (YAI) for students in grades K-5 in the Cascade School District, which serves Leavenworth, Plain, and the Peshastin-Dryden area. The initiative is a three-year pilot grant that has a goal of increasing the dosage of professional arts education specifically in sequential art learning in the principles and elements of art for early grade levels, establishing a foundation in the arts for later years.
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The YAI program’s official start has been postponed until fall 2021, because of COVID. Smaller class sizes, remote learning concerns, the potential for irregular schedules, and other pandemic-related factors drove the decision to best leverage the grant funding when the greatest number of students could be served on a regular basis, in order to best facilitate sequential learning.
The YAI program is aligned with Washington State Arts Learning Standards and mirrors one that was developed in the Methow Valley and Omak School Districts in 2019, serving more than 900 students in grades K-3. The YAI program was discontinued in Omak due to funding concerns, but will begin its second year in the Methow Valley in fall 2020, serving all K-3 students enrolled in the elementary school, with plans to serve K-6 in fall 2021.
“Cascade School District recently completed the development of a strategic framework, in which Artful Creativity was identified as a core value. We are excited to announce a partnership with the Methow Arts Alliance in order to help align our actions as a district with our core values,” says Cascade School District superintendent Tracey Beckendorf-Edou. “We are especially excited to work with the Methow Arts Alliance in that they have experience providing quality elementary arts instruction whether we are in a remote, hybrid, or in-person model.”
The grant acts as a pilot program to be monitored, tested, and adapted, and aims to assist other organizations across NCW in establishing successful partnerships with school districts and arts education program development and implementation after completion of the project.
Like Methow Valley Elementary, the two elementary schools in Cascade School District—Peshastin-Dryden Elementary and Alpine Lakes Elementary—currently have no designated art teacher for the students who will be reached through this grant. For decades, the Cascade School District has relied on volunteers to provide arts education at the elementary level; this grant will extend the depth and breadth of arts learning available to students.
• Support arts education during the school day through contracted professional teaching artists in designated grades. The proposed programs work in alignment with the WA State Arts Standards (ie. OSPI’s published WA State Arts Education Learning Standards.)
• Through Methow Arts, it will provide sequential learning, curriculum development, and art integration strategies into each district.
• Provide funding for Methow Arts to establish formal art plans within each school district, and explore additional funding to sustain programs at the same level after the three year period.
The YAI program works in conjunction with the current Methow Arts’ Artist in Residence (AIR) Program, which works with a roster of professional teaching artists who instruct students across Okanogan County in grades K-6, with a focus on K-6.
This proposal utilizes Okanogan County data from the 2017 Youth Arts Opportunities Study, which identified gaps and opportunities, as well as barriers and supporter of youth arts education in Okanogan County. Additional data emphasizing need for this grant is derived from Methow Arts Alliance’s evaluation, which collects quantitative and qualitative data annually from school districts across Okanogan County.
CONTACT/INFO: Methow Arts Alliance, firstname.lastname@example.org.