Rancho Santa Fe School District looks to strengthen arts program


The Rancho Santa Fe School District board approved the hiring of an independent consultant to evaluate and make recommendations for developing R. Roger Rowe’s visual and performing arts program. At the recommendation of RSF School District Superintendent David Jaffe, the board agreed to an $8,000 contract with Ashley Adams, the first drama teacher at Canyon Crest Academy and former director in the school’s specialized Envision program which encompasses cinema, dance, theater, music and digital and fine arts.

As Jaffe was the founding principal at CCA, he has experience working with Adams and watched as Envision became a model arts program for other schools.

“I’m confident in her ability to work with our teachers on campus and the parents, too,” Jaffe said.

With the board’s approval, Adams will now begin a four-month long assessment process involving parent meetings and staff input. The goal at the end is for Adams to make a variety of recommendations on how to develop and strengthen Rowe’s arts program.

“What we have here is individualized programs with quality people running them, as well as a lot of (parent) support,” Jaffe said. “Those programs work well, but what we’re looking at in the end run is an integrated program.”

The music program, board member Marti Ritto said, is one area she is looking most forward to being able to expand upon and fill gaps.

The idea, Jaffe said, is for students to get a solid arts foundation at the elementary and middle school level.

“Students who want to pursue the arts will be really prepped when they hit the high school environment,” Jaffe said, noting every high school student is required to have one year of visual or performing arts in order to go to college.

Jaffe also noted the importance of an arts education and how it can boost student achievement in other academic areas.