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A Vibrant Future


Sarah Choi believes a strong arts education can change lives. 

Patriot High Marching Band performing at a football game“It’s really about access,” said Ms. Choi, who serves as the Rubidoux High School Instrumental Music and Color Guard Director and is a member of the JUSD Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Committee. 

​“It’s access to something that can change (students’) lives for the better. It’s access to a way of expressing themselves that they couldn’t through speaking, or writing or through words. The entire discipline is about expression without using words, which gives access to even more kids, like students who are English learners, students who may have special needs, students who come from challenging backgrounds, and really just the average student who maybe has trouble expressing themselves. They can express themselves through music, through dance, through visual arts. Having access to that through public school is so important.”

Jurupa Unified is working to give that access to every child by expanding arts experiences districtwide. That ambitious goal is within reach with support from $3 million in additional annual funding made possible through Proposition 28 – The Arts and Music in Schools (AMS) Funding Guarantee and Accountability Act. The law went into effect this school year and pays for additional staff, training, and materials that support arts education.

The new law ensures that “every school, every year will receive additional funding to ensure arts education is bigger and better than it has been in the past, said Dave Doubravsky, Assistant Superintendent of Expanded Learning and the Arts.

RHS ballet folklorico dancer at a community event.In plannin​g the future of arts education in JUSD, committee members looked at the state’s arts framework and the current district offerings. 

“The biggest piece that we identified as an opportunity for growth was in our elementary schools. We did not have a districtwide elementary arts program,” Mr. Doubravsky said. 

Work has already begun to bolster elementary arts programs.

“Using Prop 28 funds, we now have six VAPA itinerant elementary teachers and assistants who are now traveling to all of the different elementary schools and providing theater, visual arts instruction, and music instruction all across the district for our students in TK-6,” Mr. Doubravsky said.

Beyond the additional music and art students are learning, parents can also look forward to leadership development in their students. 

“Our parents are going to see their children problem-solving in creative ways,” VAPA teacher Kristin Garcia said.

“Next year, parents and students can expect VAPA teachers to be at more school sites, servicing students across the district,” she said.

Mr. Doubravsky noted that the arts support student success at all grade levels. 

“It’s one of those things, like sports, that tie kids to school and create in them the idea that ‘I really need to keep my grades up, I really need to focus in all my subjects because I want to be able to do this."

Glen Avon Elementary student making art through a ceramics classThe arts also give students skills they may need for future success, whether or not they pursue a career in the arts.

“One of the 21st-century skills that we need in all of our employees in all of our professions is creativity,” Mr. Doubravsky said.

Self-expression also is important to an individual’s success, and the arts support that skill, Ms. Choi said. 

“We need them to have the ability to express themselves. We need them to be able to be hands-on and be unafraid to be hands-on. That starts when you’re really young” she said.  “If they can take that with them all the way through middle school and high school and have that so be ingrained in them that the insecurities don’t get in the way of that, imagine the kind of creativity and leadership that they would have in their futures.”

“My hope is that it adds to the Jurupa Experience,” Mr. Doubravsky said. “We have a lot of wonderful teachers, a lot of wonderful programs and initiatives. I think as we layer in more and more arts activities, that can only benefit our students and have them enjoy and engage in their educational experience.”