I am writing to you with my thoughts about the proposed elimination of the position of Coronado School of the Arts Director. I am a parent of a senior CoSA digital arts student and a freshman CoSA musical theatre and drama student, a former CoSA Foundation secretary and vice-president, a current member of the School Site Council for CHS and a general pediatrician.
When my eldest daughter was applying to schools as an 8th grader, we realized there wasn’t a school in SD county that had as robust a digital arts program as CoSA. There is nothing that comes close to it. No other school in SD County has the animation program that CoSA does. Melanie will be matriculating at Columbia College in Chicago this fall for a BFA in computer animation with enough scholarship money that her tuition will be less than a state school. One of the largest scholarships she is receiving has the qualification of attending a school in the art schools network, of which CoSA is a member.
CoSA has been an amazing experience for both my daughters and as Melanie is almost done with her schooling, I can see how much she has grown and benefitted from being a part of CoSA. The interactive group projects in digital arts gave her an opportunity to find her voice and the CoSA Ambassador program gave her a chance to develop her leadership skills. She has learned so much from Tiffany Bouchard’s leadership and was very upset to hear that her position might be eliminated. The CoSA director position can only be filled by someone of Tiffany’s background, expertise and approachability.
The concern at the forefront of my mind is that with the current situation of distance learning, without a strong voice representing CoSA, all the programs will suffer. Now, more than ever, CoSA needs a director and it is not the time to eliminate the position. Not only does the CoSA director obtain multiple grants to help fund the program but she must advocate for students and teachers to ensure a proper learning environment. The arts world is in a tenuous situation with current stay at home orders and social distancing. Multiple performances have been cancelled and if the CoSA director position is eliminated, who will advocate for our students so they can safely return to the performing arts world? The academic teachers are navigating Zoom classes, Google drive assignments and Wiki projects and should classes return to campus with physical distancing in place, the transition will be far easier for them than a dance instructor who currently will need to ensure students wear facial coverings while maintaining six feet distance. Who will advocate for guidance for the music teacher whose students perform on wind instruments? How will two student actors practice a scene that requires them to be closer than six feet? Who will the teachers turn to during this crisis if there is not a leader familiar with the fine arts who can devote time to their concerns? In a time of crisis, one looks to established leadership and it is simply not the time to be eliminating it.
Even if we disregard the immediate concern related to COVID19, CoSA needs a director to advocate and represent the school. If the position is eliminated, who will welcome the new students to the campus in the fall or address parents when they have a concern? Who will update the parents via newsletter on the current events that will be occurring? Who will research and apply for the grants to help fund CoSA? Another important program that will also be affected is the Career Technical Education (CTE) program, as that program will also be left without a director as Tiffany also provides leadership for that as well. Not all students at CHS will be applying to four year colleges. Some will go onto technical careers while others might go into the arts. Eliminating proven leadership for these two programs will only hurt our children’s education. I know my daughter could not attend her dream school if CoSA had not been a part of the art school network. Without a director to be sure that it remains a member, I fear other students might not be able to experience the same benefits.