2020 Bonar Street, Building E, Berkeley, CA 94702
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Pete Gidlund, Program Supervisor, 510.644.8772
Caroline McCaskey, Visual & Performing Arts Tech, 510.644.8831
All Berkeley Unified School District elementary schools provide a rich variety of visual and performing arts experiences for Kindergarten through fifth grade students. Students continue to develop artistic skills in middle school arts electives and after school classes. Berkeley High School offers a broad range of arts classes including Ceramics, Photography, Computer Art, AP Studio Art, Afro-Haitian Dance, Modern Dance, Drama, Advanced Theater Projects, Band, Orchestra, Jazz Band, Guitar, Chorus and AP Music Theory. One year of high school visual or performing arts is required by the UC and CSU systems.
Thank you to the voters of Berkeley for funding the Berkeley Schools Excellence Program and and the BUSD arts programs. BSEP provides $1.5 million annually to fund nearly all elementary and middle school music programs, as well as other visual and performing arts.
We also thank the Berkeley Public Education Foundation, the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Cazadero Music Camp and Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley for their continuing support along with the UC Berkeley students who tutor music students in the schools through The Music Connection (TMC).
In addition to the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and Cazadero Music Camp, BUSD has a partnership with Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall through the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education Program. A Partners team since 2001, Cal Performances and BUSD annually present workshops for teachers as preparation for SchoolTime performances at Zellerbach Hall. Teachers attend a three hour workshop lead by a teaching artist whose expertise is close to the art form their students will see on stage. The teaching artist visits the teachers’ classrooms with information and hands on experiences before the students see the live performance. More information.
The Berkeley Symphony Orchestra Music in the Schools program provides Meet the Symphony concerts at each elementary school in November. Centered on a theme such as rhythm, the instrument families in the orchestra or the science of sound, the concerts feature student friendly pieces. Musicians visit each K-5 classroom for a demonstration and personal interaction. In February students K-5 join the Symphony for the I Am a Performer concert; all students sing or play with the Symphony. Young musicians have the incredible experience of playing with professional musicians under the direction of Ming Luke, a gifted conductor. http://www.berkeleysymphony.
City of Berkeley Parks and Rec Department Summer Camps: in partnership with the City of Berkeley recreation department, BUSD teachers offer four music day camps for students grades 5-10 on June 15-19, 2015. Registration and information is at the following link: http://ci.berkeley.ca.us/activity_guide/
The Music Connection (TMC) is a UC Berkeley student run club which brings volunteer tutors into music classes grades 4-8. In addition TMC has set up an after school enrichment program as nearly all of the K-5 and Middle Schools. A team of tutors arrives at a school once a week for individual lessons, small ensemble work and music theory instruction. The TMC students also arrange College Music Days so that middle school and fifth grade students can experience rehearsing with a college band, string ensemble or chorus. Music is carefully selected so that students feel comfortable playing next to older students.
BAESC – Berkeley Arts Education Steering Committee
Begun in 1998 by Berkeley Reparatory Theater Managing Director Susan Medak, BASEC is a collaboration between local arts organizations, parents, teachers and administrators. The goal is to bring a variety of strong arts programming to students in the Berkeley schools. In the early days of the committee members lobbied the Berkeley School Board successfully to adopt the California Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards. Reinvigorated after extensive surveys of arts offerings in the schools and parent and teacher feedback on the value of arts and creativity in the school day, BAESC will begin strategizing ways to ensure that all students in Berkeley schools regularly participate in the Arts. To receive BAESC meeting notices, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional Development – Arts Anchor Schools
A collaboration with the Alameda County Office of Education Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership and Berkeley Unified School District, the Arts Anchor Schools Project provides funding for schools to pursue professional development in arts integration techniques and strategies. A team of classroom teachers identifies a focus for arts integrated curriculum development and writes a proposal for their professional development work for the school year. Designed to be teacher led, Arts Anchor projects bring personal and teaching skills to teachers through modeling and coaching. While teams at several schools have identified an arts teacher on staff who can lead curriculum development and provide lesson modeling and coaching when the classroom teacher is teaching arts integrated lessons, other schools have found it beneficial to hire a teaching artist or arts organization such as the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) or Visual Thinking Strategies in Education (VTS).
Currently three elementary schools are focused on dance integration while teachers at four schools are becoming more skilled at integrating visual arts. In all cases learning in the art form is occurring along with learning in the other core curricular area (social studies, math, and language arts). One middle school is working with a teaching artist from VTS. Students are learning to observe works of art and discuss what they see, backing up their ideas with evidence. Such close observation of details is a springboard for writing.