Foster mutual commitment and responsibility in collaborations between arts organizations and schools.
Understand and respond to evolving community contexts, including histories, strengths and needs.
When you think about the principles your team was focused on this year:
• _What went particularly well this year? Why?
• _Were you able to make progress regarding the principles you selected? If so, how would you describe that progress? (Hint: the rubric may be helpful here). If not, what got in the way?
Most notable, we focused on refining our commitment to mutual responsibility for our sustainability plan with a focus on mariachi and Music Festival of Gorge. We worked with StoryGorge to help our students tell their study in a film to be used to raise funds specifically for Mariachi de Hood River. We have developed a sustainability plan for mariachi that includes personal requests by both Brent and Shelley to service clubs such as Lions, Elks and Rotary. We have identified local and foundation grants as well and are currently pursing those. The Music Festival of the Gorge enjoyed an increase in business and individual support this year as well has record attendance of approximately 3000 attendees, raising around $20,000 to directly support performing arts through the HRCSD. We will be pursuing foundation grants to support MFOG administration and continued collaboration with all Hood River County schools as all proceeds go directly to school programs.
We were able to collect and share data more easily and to translate the data around student participation and feedback into plans for program revisions and sustainability.
Our focus on mutual commitment to sustainability is going well because both HRMS and AIEG are motivated to keep these programs either in place and thriving or evolving to reach more students, teachers and community members. Honestly, Brent and Shelley are like a married couple that read each other’s minds at this point! (You don’t have to add that to the report) The trust and respect the school and organization have developed over the past 5 years enables us to take calculated risks and to work toward growth and innovation.
This sustainability focus has caused used to deeply analyze the evolving community contexts. Hood River and HRMS has changed considerably over the past 5 years. When we started, the actual school population included more low income and Latino students than it does today because many low income and Latino students have relocated to other parts of the Gorge because of the cost of living. We had to pivot and make our programs more accessible to students who started with us and then move out of the HRMS program area. Therefore, we shifted our entire sustainability plan to include all students in HRCSD. This was particularly important for Mariachi de Hood River. It now includes students from 6 HRCSD schools. Likewise, the Music Festival proceeds benefit all HRCSD students. This is a direct result of and response to evolving community contexts and needs.
The support and energy around Band Together is a bit contagious. People in our community see the effectiveness of our programs and they want to be a part of it. Therefore, we do not have to do all the heavy lifting alone. We have touched upon a shared value between the organization, school district and with many community members to move the needle on equity in performing arts for our students. It feels pretty great, actually
• _Was selecting and reflecting on these principles helpful? If so, how has selecting and reflecting on these principles shaped your work going forward?
It is helpful to have guiding principles and goals in place. We are all very busy in our work and tend to push very hard to keep students at the center of everything we do. The principles keep us focused on the now with a mind toward future planning to ensure the work can continue.
• _What advice would you give to other arts education programs that want to build program quality, equity or sustainability using the principles?
We would advice them to refer to them often as a barometer of your work. And to remember the work is always changing and evolving. Reflecting on the principles will help keep you focused and moving forward.