Shining the light on opportunities

DUSD gives students more opportunities with state arts seal


With the second semester underway for the Dysart Unified School District, the focus remains on academics, athletics and the arts.

At the Jan. 8 Governing Board meeting, Danae Marinelli from the district presented the board with information on the Arizona State Seal of Arts Proficiency, an extraordinary opportunity for high school arts students.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed it into law in May. Its goal to celebrate students who demonstrate high levels of proficiency in the Arizona Arts Education Standards — through personal expression and creative experiences in arts education programs.

“This includes identifying pathways of artistic literacy that cultivates skills for 21st century success, prepare students for college and career readiness and promote increased access to well-rounded arts education across the state,” Ms. Marinelli said.

A few requirements include a GPA of 3.0 to 4.0 in each qualify arts/career and technical education (CTE) course, plus four minimum credit requirements laid out in three different options, 80 hours of arts-related extracurricular activities and a student’s capstone project.

“Any of our courses listed in the high school course guide under visual arts, dance, music, theater and CTE course under animation, digital communication, digital photography, film and TV production and stagecraft also count,” Ms. Marinelli said.

A capstone includes a project-based learning opportunity for a student to showcase the culmination of his or her knowledge while fostering real world skills and experience.

The project must encourage students to connect to community or outside-of-school learning opportunities and should encourage learners to apply their knowledge and mastery of the Arizona Arts Education Standards in a way that interests them and furthers their individual goals.

Students should demonstrate their artistic literacy through their ability to create, perform/present/produce, connect and respond as an artist.

The extra-curricular requirements are different — and seniors graduating this spring can still qualify. The requirement is taking place through a gradual rollout process. Thirty hours are needed for this senior class, but by the class of 2023, which is the current freshman class, students will have to complete 80 hours.

“Extracurricular is defined by the Office of Arts Education as any arts participation above and beyond the regularly  scheduled school day for which students are not receiving course credit,” Ms. Marinelli said. “The activities can be school-sponsored or take place outside of the school day or building.”

Ms. Marinelli said attending the Northern Arizona University summer music camp will capture those 80 hours. Students who attend dance at a studio or perhaps kids working arts club helping to build kids with the community and build up elementary arts programs count, too.

She said students will meet with mentors and can assess their hours and how they apply, such as a choir student operating the lights for a dance concert.

The board commended Ms. Marinelli for her work rolling this out quickly. DUSD was one district with four schools selected out of 22 districts and 84 schools that applied for the Arizona State Seal Arts Proficiency.

“The seal is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the hard work student and teachers put into their craft and gives students another notch on their resume as they apply to the arts programs and possible scholarships,” Ms. Marinelli said.

The item was presented for information and the board will likely vote during the next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

Editor’s Note: Jennifer Jimenez is a regular contributor to the Surprise Independent.