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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
November 8, 2021

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:

Instructional Materials Adoption for Visual Arts and Music

During its November 2021 meeting, the State Board of Education (SBE) voted to approve instructional materials for grades K–8 that align with California Arts Standards for Public Schools, Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Arts Standards). Two instructional programs were approved by the SBE for K–8 visual arts, and one was approved for K–5 music.

I want to commend the work of the reviewers—mostly classroom teachers along with educators and arts experts from across California—for their dedication, flexibility, and extensive review. I want to thank those who developed the virtual adoption process, including staff from the California Department of Education, the SBE, and members of the Instructional Quality Commission. And I also appreciate the members of the public who participated throughout the process.

The new materials are aligned to the Philosophical Foundations and Lifelong Goals of the Arts Standards, which were adopted by the SBE in 2019. These materials align with the Arts Standards and help ensure student learning experiences reflect:

  • Four Artistic Processes—Creating, Performing/Producing, Responding, and Connecting;
  • Anchor Standards—which are parallel across the five arts disciplines and describe expectations for general behaviors, artistic skills, and habits of mind;
  • Enduring Understandings and Process Components—Outlined in essential questions designed to guide student inquiry and process components that operationalize the standards; and
  • Discipline-Specific Performance Standards—Visual Arts and Music learning for kindergarten through grade eight.

Each arts program submitted for adoption the 2021 Arts Adoption was digital—a first for a statewide adoption process. These digital programs provide robust approaches that include: process-oriented, grade-appropriate indicators of what students need to know and be able to do; processes that are student centered and define intended outcomes to ensure learning builds to meet instructional outcomes; and outcomes-based, communicating high and achievable goals.

The arts adoption process took place according to Governor Newsom’s executive order N-29-20 which may be found at https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/3.17.20-N-29-20-EO.pdf. Training and deliberations were conducted virtually.

Instructional materials support districts’ successful implementation process of the 2019 Arts Standards, which define what students should know and be able to do in each grade level in each of the five arts disciplines. To support this process, the SBE followed its approval of the 2020 Arts Education Framework (Arts Framework) by appointing 25 instructional material reviewers and 18 content review experts to review materials and make recommendations according to their alignment with the Arts Framework and the SBE-adopted evaluation criteria.

After conducting an independent review of programs from May through July, and engaging in the July deliberations, reviewers co-drafted Reports of Findings recommending materials the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), which advises the SBE. The IQC held three public hearings to solicit comments on the recommendations, once in August and again on each day of its two-day meeting in September.

The SBE’s recommendation of two visual arts and one music program does not limit the choices that local educational agencies have when considering instructional materials in all arts disciplines—including dance, media arts, and theatre, which were not submitted during this adoption. Pursuant to California Education Code Section 60210(a), districts may choose instructional materials approved by the SBE or seek out other materials if those materials teach the content standards and reflect the Arts Framework and meet the local community’s instructional needs.

More information on the 2021 Arts Adoption of K–8 Instructional Materials process can be found within the California State Board of Education November 2021 Agenda at https://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr21/agenda202111.asp (Item 08).

If you have questions about instructional materials, please contact Mike Torres, Ed. D., Interim Director, Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division, by email at CFIRD@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

TT:mt
Last Reviewed: Monday, November 8, 2021

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