Mission schools look to boost fine arts

The Mission school district plans to shift toward integrating and emphasizing fine arts into their current curriculum for students at Salinas Elementary.

The school will be the first district’s fine arts academy and should be implemented for the 2019-20 school year, according to a news release. Music, dance and language arts are all components of the fine arts with the Salinas Elementary school blending these components into their current state curriculum. One of the goals of the district is to prepare students for higher education and entering the workforce.

Mission schools superintendent Carolina “Carol” Perez said it corresponds with modern learning trends as many employers are looking for these “soft skills” for potential employees. “Communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and caring” are some of the skills to further emphasize into instruction, she said.

These “soft skills” that begin at a young age will be built on, so students are better prepared for post-secondary education and entering the workforce after graduation, she said. While some students are interested in more logic-driven subjects, others are inclined toward expression through language or dance.

“We want to be able to offer a curriculum that is going to appeal to our children’s abilities and interests,” Perez said.

The district will work with staff through development sessions and teachers input to better understand how to implement the fine arts integration into classrooms, she said.

During the summer, teachers will be guided with knowledgeable personnel to writing the curriculum and designing lesson plans for the upcoming year.

“Our teachers are the experts when it comes to the knowledge base that they need to provide children… so they know what the children need to learn and be able to do by the end of their specific grade level,” Perez said.

Teachers understand the state standards and what is appropriate for their students, she said.

“That’s why the lessons will be developed by teachers and with teachers,” she added.

The framework will be based on the campus and considering the needs and goals of parents, staff and teachers, Sharon Roberts said, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Students who find a passion through extracurricular activities often do better in school and are more inclined to attend class, Perez said.

“They are going to develop not only mentally, but also emotionally, into more productive citizens, and that’s what we’re looking for,” Perez said.