Konocti Unified Wins $ 1.6 Million in Art Grants Competition
With a possible score of 292/300 points, the Konocti Unified School District (KUSD) was one of 27 school districts nationwide to receive the Arts Education Assistance (AAE) grant from the US Department of Education. The four-year grant will provide $ 405,900 per year to fund a district-wide elementary music program using face-to-face instruction supported by online resources called the Online Rural Arts and Music Program, or On-Ramp.
KUSD Superintendent Becky Salato said, “Konocti Unified is thrilled to bring music to our elementary students with this new program. Research shows that participating in the arts is good for children: it improves academic achievement, engages students and families, and strengthens the socio-emotional learning skills students need to be successful in school and in life. life.
On-Ramp is designed to help teachers integrate music into math and language literacy programs. Katie Wiley, KUSD president for the visual and performing arts who will act as the grant program manager, said adding music would be difficult. This program uses music to reinforce math and English lessons.
The first year will be a planning year, starting with a listening tour of each elementary school where students, staff and parents can share ideas to shape the project. Using stakeholder feedback, KUSD will develop plans to implement the new district-wide music program. In the summer of 2022, KUSD will hire a music specialist who can take charge of face-to-face lessons as well as create online courses for teachers to use in their classrooms.
KUSD also hopes to train 32 primary school teachers to become integration specialists, one per class at each school site. These integration specialists will support their fellow teachers in the implementation of On-Ramp. Finally, KUSD will invite local artists and parents to complete the music integration, for example, by offering music-related mini-courses for students. KUSD will roll out the new music curriculum for Kindergarten to Grade 2 students in fall 2022, and subsequent years for grades 3 to 5, then 6 to 7.
Wiley, who teaches the group at Lower Lake High School (LLHS), said: “Unless students are coming from the KEC musical journey, they usually come to high school without any foundation in musical principles, and in just four short years. , they are occurring at a high level. level. I can’t wait to see what happens when they arrive with knowledge to build on. The LLHS Arts Program currently includes Drama, Dance, Visual Arts, Ceramics, Choir, Performance Choir, Guitar, Beginner Orchestra, Concert Band, and Jazz Orchestra.
Wiley invites all interested educators, parents and community members to attend an information meeting on January 13 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the McClung Boardroom of the District Office, located at 9430B Lake Street in Lower Lake . In addition to explaining the program and answering questions, Wiley hopes to identify potential Steering Committee members, who will provide input on key funding decisions throughout the duration of the grant. Members of the Steering Committee will receive a small annual stipend for their services.
To support this work, KUSD is partnering with a nationally recognized project team that has successfully implemented multi-million dollar arts grants in other districts across the country. Their efforts on federal grant projects have led to significant student outcomes. Big Idea Arts and Education Consulting will help manage the On-Ramp project in conjunction with district staff, while Education Design provides program research and evaluation.
Caltrans hero receives state’s highest honor for public servants
The State of California awarded Royce Hiner, Caltrans Highway Maintenance Manager, the Governor’s State Employees Medal of Valor for his courage in the face of danger. Hiner was awarded the Silver Medal of Valor for risking his life to save another.
“Many honorable servants of the State of California risk danger in the course of their daily duties. But sometimes someone goes beyond their homework to show extraordinary courage in the face of danger, ”said Caltrans director Toks Omishakin. “Royce Hiner is one of those officials. We honor and thank him for his bravery and are proud to have him in our Caltrans family.
Hiner was on a routine maintenance call on July 25, 2018, on Interstate 5 near Corning, when he encountered a burning pickup truck. He stopped to help the driver, who was frantically trying to put out the fire. Hiner advised the driver to stay away from the van as he tried to free a dog that was still in the vehicle. He was pulling the man away from the vehicle when it suddenly caught fire. Hiner made sure the man remained safe until first responders arrived at the scene.
The State Employee Medal of Valor Award is the highest honor that California bestows on its public servants. Governor Edmund G. Brown Sr. presented the first awards in 1959. Today, nearly 700 government employees have earned the honor for showing bravery, courage and selflessness in the face of danger.
—Compiled by Ariel Carmona Jr.