Arts Education Initiative, ANY GIVEN CHILD, to Unveil Long-Range Plan

FRESNO – The City of Fresno, Fresno Unified and Fresno County Office of Education will be joining to announce the unveiling of the Any Given Child arts education initiative at a press event on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at Yokomi Elementary School, 2323 E. McKenzie Ave., Fresno, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

The Any Given Child Initiative, a program designed to assist a community in strategic planning to provide a high quality arts education for every pre-K-8 student, was brought to Fresno when the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts selected Fresno as its tenth national site in October 2012.

“Our community recognizes and embraces the arts as an essential element of a thriving, vibrant city,” stated Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin. “We are grateful for the assistance the Kennedy Center has given our community stakeholders in supporting a vision for the future of our children”.

With the support of Fresno Unified School District, Fresno County Office of Education and the City of Fresno, the Fresno Community Arts Team (CAT) - made up of educators, arts community members, and business and community leaders - came together in the fall of 2012 to create a plan to fulfill the vision of ensuring the arts for any given child.

“Fresno Unified is committed to our board adopted goal that, ‘all students will engage in arts, activities and athletics,’” Superintendent Michael Hanson, Fresno Unified School District, said. “For some students learning about the arts is what connects them to school and can make a tremendous difference in keeping then engaged until they are ready to graduate. Any Given Child is a valuable partnership that enables each and every student an opportunity to excel in the arts.”

Throughout the past year, the CAT has worked on analyzing current practices and collecting data. They found that although the district has a baseline music program, dance, theater and visual arts were not available to most pre-k through eighth grade students. They also found that the majority of teachers want to integrate the arts in their classrooms, but lack training and resources, and most arts organizations want to build their capacity to offer high quality arts education, but need structures that will help them connect with schools.

The data has now been compiled to create the Fresno Community Arts Team Report, which will be released this week. This report makes critical connections to community resources and defines a detailed action plan for how arts education access will increase for all children in grades pre-k-8.

Darrell Ayers, vice president for education at the Kennedy Center, said, “The Kennedy Center has been honored to work with Fresno this first year of the Any Given Child Fresno program. While the report is a validation of what has already been achieved in Fresno… it (also) supports the future direction for arts education in this community.”

The CAT has defined three goals attached to a detailed community-wide action plan:

  • Goal 1: Increase professional learning opportunities in the arts for all stakeholders, focusing on integrating the arts with Common Core State Standards.
  • Goal 2: Create a systematic process to provide access to professional arts experiences for all students.
  • Goal 3: Address the identified district-wide gaps to provide equity and access for ALL pre-K through eighth grade students to receive a high-quality arts education in ALL disciplines.

The timing of this report fits in with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the recent action by the Fresno Unified School District Board to invest an additional $1 million in arts education. This investment has already yielded more than 1,000 new musical instruments, new equipment for visual and performing arts, as well as new arts teaching positions and professional development in schools throughout Fresno Unified. In addition, Fresno Unified increased arts opportunities for middle school students by providing at least two full-time arts teachers at every middle school.

“Building a child’s creative capacity with a strong arts education is vital to their success – both in and out of the classroom,” Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino said. “Through the arts, we are shaping a future of creative thinkers, innovators and problem solvers. The Any Given Child partnership recognizes this and shines the spotlight where it matters most – on our students. “

To read the full report, go to

For more information about the Any Given Child program,please visit

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