Glendale Unified School District and the Verdugo Woodlands Arts Committee is dedicated to bringing arts to your students!
Email Surabhi Dalela at firstname.lastname@example.org, with subject line “Art Rep” if interested in becoming an Art Rep.
(Please include your name, student’s name(s), grade and teacher, and your email address.)
Verdugo Woodlands Values the Arts - Bringing Arts Education to Every Student
“Bringing Arts Education to Every Student” is a goal for the staff and volunteer parent groups of Verdugo Woodlands Elementary School (VW). This vision has been brought to fruition with the support and funding from the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD), VW, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and Woodlanders Are Volunteers for Education (W.A.V.E.) Foundation. To ensure that the arts education program is meaningful and comprehensive, we strive to offer classes in the four arts disciplines: dance, music, theater, and visual arts. Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools, Pre-kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (VAPA Standards) are used as a guide for instruction.
Teachers align art instruction with the California State Standards in all core curricular areas. Through the various arts disciplines, teachers enhance their instruction to deepen student understanding of content. Students connect and apply what they learn through arts enrichment to various areas such as history and language arts. Connections are also made to careers in visual and performing arts and entertainment. Because art has no language barriers, it is accessible for all students.
Visual and performing arts are an important aspect of VW’s curriculum. Several VW parents are professionals in the music and entertainment field. As such, VW parents are an integral part of the implementation of the arts program at our school. These parents work with the school administration and teachers to determine program needs. Many assist in the implementation of the course offerings by raising funds and even dedicating their time and talents to visit classes. Others assist in finding professionals in the various art fields to teach classes. As a result, students learn not only the elements of art, but experience how the arts can be used in the real world. The various art lessons are developmentally and cognitively appropriate for all students. In addition, the arts classes encourage collaboration between our traditional and FLAG-Japanese students and teachers.
All students in transitional kindergarten through sixth grade are provided direct instruction in the arts disciplines during school hours and offered a myriad of after-school classes in the areas of dance, music, theater, and visual arts.
Classroom teachers offer varying levels of art instruction. Some offer weekly fine art projects; integrate theater, dance, fine arts and crafts into their curriculum; take classrooms on arts-based field trips; teach Japanese calligraphy; or produce plays, musicals, or art-based projects to supplement and strengthen their classroom curriculum.
In third through sixth grades, students can participate in the VW Choir, a performance based group that meets weekly for an entire year. Students perform original compilations as well as contemporary and “old favorites” with professional singers, songwriters and musicians. Not only do students gain experience performing, but they learn about singing in rounds, parts, unison, harmony, and solo.
Students gain an introduction to playing a musical instrument in third grade when all students learn to play the recorder. The children perform in a concert for the school and family as a culminating event to show all that they have learned. Inspired students who want to continue an education in instrumental music participate in the District Orchestra beginning in fourth grade. Orchestra students are taught by musicians that are also certificated teachers. Through small group instruction that focuses on the specific instruments, students gain the necessary knowledge and skills to perform together as an orchestra multiple times a year.
An art competition that encompasses all art disciplines is the National PTA Reflections Program. Students have the opportunity to complete an art project incorporating the year’s theme through a choice of various media including writing, music compositions, visual arts and digital media. VW has had many winners and finalists throughout the years at the district, county, and regional levels.
Arts Funded by the VW Community
Students are offered a wealth of arts enrichment opportunities that are available only due to generous parent donations and fundraising by the W.A.V.E. Foundation, and implemented by the ”Arts at VW” Arts Committee. The Arts Committee, comprised of parents, teachers and administrators coordinates its efforts to implement desired courses. The Arts Committee presents requests for funding at the W.A.V.E. Foundation meetings. By assessing the current programs, we strive to improve ongoing projects that allow students to demonstrate and apply skills that they have learned.
Parent volunteer Art Reps provide instruction to students through the “Meet the Artist” art appreciation program. These “docents” are trained to teach students about three master artists and their techniques over the course of the year, and then subsequently the students create their own piece of art using the same techniques. In selecting which artists to highlight, care is given to represent diversity. Likewise there is also an effort to highlight Angeleno and California artists of note. These priorities help the children create a more personal association with the art as well as with the idea of being an artist. The Art Reps also lead additional art activities throughout the year by helping individual classrooms create art projects for popular school-wide fundraisers such as Square-1 Arts.
Taiko drumming was introduced in the FLAG-Japanese program in 2010 in an effort to introduce Japanese culture into that Japanese curriculum. In 2014, Taiko drumming classes were expanded and are now offered to the entire student body so all students can learn more about the Japanese culture while learning rhythm, movement, and discipline in a fun and engaging way. Students who want to further explore and practice Taiko drumming may audition for the Taiko Performance Group (Kinome Daiko) that performs at numerous concerts, assemblies, and competitions such as the L.A. Matsuri One Sound Taiko Festival throughout the year.
Performance is embedded in the theater arts classes that support appropriate grade-level classroom curriculum while promoting self esteem. First and second grade students develop an understanding of improvisation, scene work, scene writing, silent scenes, and open-ended scene work. This is done by studying original musicals or plays based on classic works. Classroom teachers collaborate with the drama teachers to tailor the curriculum to meet the unique needs and focus of each class.
Our school is uniquely fortunate to have a professional artist who visits the school to teach visual art in the classroom throughout the year. This is available to all grade levels as a weekly class, for a five-week period. Visual arts are analyzed in depth as a wide range of concepts are taught. Students use various media such as clay, printmaking, drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture to demonstrate an understanding of the principles of art. Students create their own art applying skills they have learned. They also compose their own expression of art in the style of a famous artist.
This year we are excited to pilot a new program, called “Artist in Residence” in which a local artist will develop a curriculum for a 6-week period in which she will teach the children all about her experiences as a professional artist, demonstrate her approach and style, and collaborate with them to create art in that style. We hope to expand this out to more classes after this initial roll-out with second graders.
Principal, Verdugo Woodlands Elementary School