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learn / 2021

Revolutionizing Arts Education through Transformative Social Emotional Learning

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Exploring the Arts, Inc.

With My LA 2050 support, Exploring the Arts (ETA) will infuse Transformative Social and Emotional Learning (TSEL) into its arts education programs to help empower teachers and students to effect change through collaboration. Using methods initially developed in response to COVID-19 remote environment, ETA will integrate our Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for arts educators and Professional Development (PD) offerings for arts teachers and student mentors into our core programs.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • Other:: Pasadena

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

2020 was a year filled with unprecedented pain, anguish and challenges for public school communities. Dysfunctional and inadequate systems, built upon a legacy of racism and classism, unable to cope with the demands of virtual learning, only amplified the inequity in arts education that our educators, students and families have struggled with for many years. Compounded by the personal challenges facing our community due to COVID-19, stress, trauma, and depression have surged in the last year (1/2 of Americans report harmed mental health according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Poll). The arts, and the social emotional skills they provide, are essential to address this ongoing trauma. Yet, only 40% of LA County students are enrolled in an arts course. The pandemic has illustrated how necessary arts education, in combination with trauma-informed practices and Transformative Social Emotional Learning (TSEL) in school communities are to engaging and supporting students.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

In 2021-22, ETA will extend components of its existing programming to address the systemic problems intensified by the Pandemic. ETA is unique in its program design which is flexibly customized to each school, their community, and their particular goals. With the support of LA 2050, ETA will build community amongst art teachers through paid Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) where they support one another through iterative problem-solving dialogue related to distance or in person arts learning. Professional Development sessions, developed in collaboration with community arts partners, will increase the capacity of teachers to center black and brown students’ identity, skills, culture and community, and nurture creative and critical thinkers by incorporating Anti-Racist and TSEL practices in their arts discipline. The Arts Internship Program (AIP) places high schoolers as paid interns in mentorship with professionals working in the arts to support connectedness, preparedness, and authentic participation. The 2050 grant would support expanding Learning Labs and Mentor Training where participants build TSEL competencies in self awareness, self-advocacy, and social awareness. This new programming will be created in collaboration with ETA’s community arts partners.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

58
Direct impact
1,750
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

“As a school leader, I am looking for ways to incorporate this schoolwide. In this capacity, I think it is about creating opportunities to acknowledge all the members of our community and helping them to find ways to celebrate who they are.” This school principal’s “exit ticket” following a “Building an Anti-Racist Arts Classroom” PD, led by LA Director Rubi Fregoso, speaks directly to how ETA is collaborationg with our schools to address inequity. Furthermore, it points to our collective vision of what we can achieve with the support of LA2050. Assessments and measurable impact indicators are fundamental to the ongoing evaluation of each of ETA’s programs. PLC Pre-and post-surveys, AIP self-reported surveys and exit tickets address the outcomes pegged to our program benchmarks, including self-awareness, social awareness, and connectedness. For example, following virtual summer programming in AIP, 95% of students said they felt a stronger connection with each other and their mentors.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

“As a school leader, I am looking for ways to incorporate this schoolwide. In this capacity, I think it is about creating opportunities to acknowledge all the members of our community and helping them to find ways to celebrate who they are.” This school principal’s “exit ticket” following a “Building an Anti-Racist Arts Classroom” PD, led by LA Director Rubi Fregoso, speaks directly to how ETA is collaborationg with our schools to address inequity. Furthermore, it points to our collective vision of what we can achieve with the support of LA2050. Assessments and measurable impact indicators are fundamental to the ongoing evaluation of each of ETA’s programs. PLC Pre-and post-surveys, AIP self-reported surveys and exit tickets address the outcomes pegged to our program benchmarks, including self-awareness, social awareness, and connectedness. For example, following virtual summer programming in AIP, 95% of students said they felt a stronger connection with each other and their mentors.

Which of the learn metrics will you impact?​

  • Arts education
  • College matriculation
  • High school graduation rates

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the best place to CONNECT