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Report Card 5/20/2016: CAT Team Adopts 2016-2017 Action Plan

Today, we celebrated the 23,000 K-8 students in Indianapolis Public Schools!

CATBeginning with a welcome by Jay Geshay, Sr. Vice President of the United Way of Central Indiana, we adopted both an Action Plan for 2016-2017 and a new committee structure designed to produce uncommon results. Today was the final meeting of a year-long strategic planning process that began last September. Using the Kennedy Center’s “collective impact” process, we brought together community groups from five sectors to address the complex challenge of leveraging arts education to improve youth outcomes in Indianapolis. Everyone warned us that it was going to be a “slow and sometimes messy process,” but the benefit has been that we built trusting relationships among all participants, and now we have a common agenda, shared goals, and shared measurement.

Today I am excited to announce four new implementation committees:

  • Creative Engagement Committee
  • Professional Development Committee
  • Budget & Resources Committee
  • Evaluation & Assessment Committee
With the Arts Council serving as backbone, we are now ready to begin a five-year implementation effort. Are you ready to sign up to work on one of the committees listed above? If so, please email Taylor Fengya, Grant Services & Arts Education Coordinator, at tfengya@indyarts.org.
 
Ernest Disney-Britton, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Director of Grant Services & Arts Education

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Report Card 4/8/2016: Laying the Groundwork for an Action Plan and Action Strategies

I think we left today’s meeting of the Any Given Child Indy Community Arts Team both energized and exhausted! There has been such amazing progress, but there is also a mountain of work ahead.

ReportCardAfter an inspiring welcome from President & CEO of WFYI Public Media Lloyd Wright about the critical importance of arts education, we jumped right into adopting a set of four goals for the work of Any Given Child Indy. These four goals are the framework for an Action Plan that will guide all our work on behalf of students through the end of 2020. The formal goals will be released in detail later, but they focus on:

  • uniting schools and arts organizations;
  • eliminating district-wide gaps;
  • creating robust professional development; and,
  • measuring the impacts on students.

The second part of today’s meeting began the planning for Action Strategies for the coming year, and finally, we looked at what governance structure will be needed to make change happen. It was one of our most engaging of meetings, informed by six months of data collection and reflection that will now be leveraged to ensure access to the arts for every child in Indianapolis. Through it all, I was impressed with the depth and breadth of the passion and talent in the room that the Kennedy Center was channeling to improve student success through the arts. Next month, our plan is to adopt a new governance structure that will allow for many more voices to be at the implementation table. 

Ernest Disney-Britton, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Director of Grant Services & Arts Education

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Report Card 3/4/16: On the Road to Success; Powerful Work by Community Arts Team

Ahmed Young, Director of Education Innovation from the Office of Mayor Hogsett opened today’s meeting of the Community Arts Team. He shared his story of the transformative power of the arts in his own life that led him to not only learn the violin, but ultimately led him to go to law school and serve as a prosecutor. It is one of the many hundreds of stories that are driving the efforts in Indianapolis with Any Given Child Indy. Today’s group was charged and inspired as we again reviewed the data from 1,200 teachers and 53 arts organizations, and began listing dozens of strategies to help transform the lives of the 20,000 K–8 students in Indianapolis Public Schools through the arts. 

AGC CATToday was a reminder that the road ahead is a 5-year journey; that it will take many more voices and hands to make change happen; and that it will take the artistic expertise of many artists and arts organizations to ensure its success. According to the Kennedy Center facilitators, the energy in the room today was powerful, and I know I left changed by that energy and ideas in the room. We are coming to the end of the strategic planning year, and will soon be moving into the implementation phase for the 2016-2017 school year.

Ernest Disney-Britton, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Director of Grant Services & Arts Education

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Report Card 1/16/16: Surveying the Field

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What a powerful and amazing meeting we had today! Special kudos to IPS and to the Mayor’s Office for supplying the rich survey data on attitudes and services. Also, special thanks to Rilyn Gibson for the insightful comparative analysis to the arts organization survey data. We’ll take the next six weeks to review and reflect on the data before coming back together in March to begin decision-making. In between that time, three of us will be going to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC to meet with our Any Given Child counterparts from around the country in February: Dr. Wanda LeGrand, Deputy Superintendent for Indianapolis Public Schools; Gail Thomas Strong, VP for Community Engagement at WFYI, and I will represent the arts community. So, we are now in a data rich environment and getting set for focused community dialogues and decision-making to ensure arts access to every given child in Indianapolis.

Superintendent Ferebee welcomed us warmly this morning, and thanked us for our good work. He also drew the names of six schools from the survey who will each receive mini-grants from the Arts Council of Indianapolis for arts education. The funding for these Arts Council mini-grants was made available from the Community Indiana Community Foundation through The Frank & Irving Moxley Springer Fund, as a result of the advocacy of Community Arts Team member Andrew Black, a CICF program officer. Congratulations to these six top responding schools for mini-grants of $500 each for arts-related activities of their choosing.

Cold Spring School
Paul I. Miller School 114
Meredith Nicholson School 96
Center for Inquiry School 84
Floro Torrence School 83
George Washington Carver Montessori School 87

Ernest Disney-Britton, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Director of Grant Services & Arts Education

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Report Card 12/4/15: A Vision Defined

Today’s meeting was fast and furious! We began by adopting a vision statement: “The Community Arts Team is committed to ensuring ongoing comprehensive and quality arts education for all K-8 students in the Indianapolis Public Schools. We will unite schools with the diverse cultural richness of our community to engage and inspire students to create, perform, and respond to all art forms leading to lifelong creative engagement.”  This statement (two months in development) is designed to guide the analysis and decision-making as we move forward.

Additionally, the group was presented with the data from November’s survey of arts organizations about their arts education engagement with Indianapolis Public Schools. There were 53 organizations who participated in the survey, with budgets ranging from $65,000 to $28 million. Of that total, 100% of the 45 organizations funded by the Arts Council of Indianapolis participated in the survey. This is all preliminary data, and two highlights included the fact that every IPS school has “some” level of engagement with an arts organization. Additionally, there is a huge disparity in the range of engagement. The next step is to survey the schools, and in January we will begin merging the results of all the surveys. It’s all very exciting, but there are only four meetings left and so much more to do!  

Ernest Disney-Britton, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Director of Grant Services & Arts Education

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