District Expands Arts Education for Students

More schools will be added this year to a special arts initiative the district has been involved with since 2014, bringing more opportunities for students to learn through visual and performing arts.

The Any Given Child initiative is a partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts connecting the district with local arts leaders to broaden experiences for students.

At least eight elementary schools will join the effort this year, for a total of 18. Any Given Child emphasizes the board-adopted Goal 2: "All students will engage in the arts, activities and athletics."

Highlights of the initiative include:

  • Art of the Word at Fresno Art Museum -- Third graders explore art and illustration through storytelling artworks, learn basic elements of art, and make art that is displayed at the art museum.

  • Link Up with Fresno Philharmonic -- Fourth graders play recorders with the Fresno Philharmonic, preparing for the concert by learning pieces by Beethoven and other composers and studying basic music theory, history, and notation. This opportunity is provided through a nationwide effort by the Carnegie Hall and the Weill Music Foundation.

  • More than 1,400 second graders attend the ballet production "Cinderella" with Valley Performing Arts Council.

  • Fifth and sixth grade teachers and classes at 10 Any Given Child schools will participate in theater and visual arts integrated units made possible through a grant to the Fresno County Office of Education from the Department of Education.

In addition to these opportunities, the pilot schools have demonstrated a 175% increase in students participating in the arts or receiving arts instruction at their schools.

This year, the district is also expanding efforts for teachers to integrate art into classroom learning, including a second-grade pilot to integrate music and dance. This builds on the arts integration already in progress in preschool, transitional kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade.

The district is also expanding arts integration into middle school by offering a STEAM module in partnership with Fresno County Office of Education. (STEAM is integrating arts into science, technology, engineering and math.)