The Coalition on Coalitions (CoCs) supports NAMM members and their networks working on state-level music and arts education advocacy efforts. The Iowa network provides tactics, resources and best practices to move and improve state-level policies, funding and advocacy for music and arts education.
Updates on Fine Arts Professional Development:
After the adoption of Fine Arts Standards for the state of Iowa in November of 2017, the need for professional development for Iowa’s teachers in the implementation of these standards became very important. The Iowa Alliance for Arts Education collaborated with the Iowa Arts Council, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the Iowa Department of Education in the creation of the Iowa Arts Education Summit. The purpose of this event is to provide training on understanding the standards, to provide ideas for creative lesson planning and to provide examples of standards implementation in the fine arts classroom. The first Iowa Arts Education Summit was held in June of 2019 with over 400 educators and arts education stakeholders in attendance. The breakout sessions for the summit were provided the Arts Education Leadership Team of the Iowa Department of Education. This team was formed by the Iowa DOE to guide professional development for arts educators in the state of Iowa. The IAAE Executive Director, and several of the IAAE Executive and Advisory Boards are members of this team. The next Arts Education Summit is planned for June of 2021.
In response the COVID-19 pandemic, the IAAE created a comprehensive list of guidance documents for all fine arts areas that was sent to all administrators of the state of Iowa. In addition to “The Arts Are Essential” statement and documents supporting the importance of the fine arts in promoting social-emotional learning, the administrators received guidance documents created by state and national organizations for music, art, theater, drama and dance education. In addition to providing a “one-stop-shop” for administrators, they were encouraged to pass this information on to their fine arts faculty members who may not yet belong to their professional organizations or are beginning teachers.
A Fall Professional Development Symposium will be held for all beginning fine arts teachers in Iowa on October 31, 2020. This conference will be held virtually and will feature general sessions of interest to all fine arts teachers, as well as discipline-specific breakout sessions. The symposium is sponsored by the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education.
Updates on Mentoring:
The Iowa Alliance for Arts Education completed its 14th year of providing discipline-specific fine arts mentoring to beginning fine arts teachers in Iowa. The on-site mentoring is done by a cadre of retired fine arts teachers that are assigned to the beginning teachers by their respective professional organization. The program annually serves teachers in 70-80 schools, with 75% of the mentor visits taking place in rural schools, where the fine arts teacher is often the only teacher of their specific discipline in the school building or entire school district. The program, originally funded by a government grant, is now funded by a $25,000 appropriation by the Iowa legislature. This appropriation is matched annually by the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education to provide this program at no cost to the local school district.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IAAE instituted virtual mentor visits (Zoom, Go to Meeting, Google Hangout, etc.) to assist young teachers during school closures and educational uncertainty. The virtual mentor visits proved to be very popular and will become a permanent part of the mentoring program for the 2020-2021 school year. The IAAE mentoring program also provides scholarships for beginning teachers to pay professional organization membership dues and costs for attending professional conferences.
Updates on Advocacy:
Advocacy for arts and culture in the state of Iowa took of great leap forward with the resurrection of the Iowa Cultural Coalition. The ICC is governed by an Executive Board representing all areas of the state and a wide variety of cultural institutions. The ICC is working on expanding communication with Iowa legislators to educate them on the importance of funding arts and culture programs in the state.
The Iowa Cultural Coalition and the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education were sponsors of the Iowa Arts Summit, which was held virtually on August 7, 2020. The event, which is coordinated by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, is held bi-annually. The ICC and IAAE collaborated on providing two sessions on advocating for arts and culture at the local, state and national level.
The Iowa Alliance for Arts Education held its annual Arts Advocacy Day at the state capitol in Des Moines on January 22, 2020. In addition to arts advocates contacting all 150 Iowa legislators, IAAE testified to the Senate Education Committee on the importance of arts education to Iowa students and the importance of supporting the IAAE mentoring program for beginning fine arts teachers in our state. The Johnson STEAM Academy of Cedar Rapids was the featured school. In their presentation, they informed the legislators about the impact that STEAM education has on student achievement and student well-being. IAAE will be hosting the next Arts Advocacy Day in January of 2021.
The IAAE Executive Director is a member of the STEM to STEAM committee of the Iowa STEAM Council. This committee is preparing a presentation to the Iowa STEM Council in October of 2020 to assist them in moving STEAM education forward in the state of Iowa.