Keeping the Arts Alive!

Welcome back!

With the holidays behind us and a new year beginning, I would like to welcome each of you back for what promises to be an exciting winter/spring semester. As usual, we have many events coming up as well as new developments. Please peruse the information below. As always, we are here to serve you!


Some of the dates have been changed to our PD calendar, so please take note:

1/31/17 Theatre La Jolla Playhouse

2/22/17 All Music San Ysidro High School

2/23/17 Digital Media Castle Park High School

3/14/17 Visual Art PDC


We are still awaiting a date for submission to the board for approval. It is currently in finance for budget review. Meanwhile, the work continues. Your VAPA leadership team is in the process of creating a survey to assess our needs.


PE Credit

As of now, all VAPA courses which already grant PE credit will continue to do so next year based upon recommendation of the Curriculum department. Teachers will be required to have a PE credential and include the necessary physical education components in their curriculum. I will have more information as it becomes available, but for now, status quo. Thank you to all of the teachers who have been helping with this process.

AB 1012/Ed Code 51228.2 Repeating A Course for Credit

As some of you may be aware, new Ed Code (as introduced by AB 1012) mandates that students not be allowed to repeat courses for which they have already received credit. However, there is a provision that allows for repeating a course that is designed to be taken more than once “because pupils are exposed to a new curriculum year to year and are therefore expected to derive educational value from taking the course again.”

There is much debate statewide as to the meaning of this provision, and districts are adopting different action steps. In Sweetwater, it has been determined that our VAPA courses do meet the criteria and are eligible to be repeated. Most of these courses are the end-of-sequence course such as anything labeled “Advanced”. There are other exceptions that I will go over in detail at your individual subject meetings.


Congratulations to our 2017 Summer Arts Directors!

Deborah Nevin: Summer Arts Academy

Jose Lopez: Summer Theatre Institute

Have a great new year!

Jeff Kover, Director

Visual & Performing Arts

Sweetwater Union High School District


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District Honor Band Concert

Saturday, February 4th, 2017 at 5 PM Chula Vista High School Jack Tygett Performing Arts Center (820 Fourth Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91911) Featuring the finest middle & high school Honor Band students under the direction of two special guest conductors; Ms. Jeri Webb, Director of Bands at Westview High School & Mr. Douglas Akey, Director of Bands & Music Technology at Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies and Music Director of the Tempe Symphony Orchestra. General admission is $5 at the door.

District Scene and Monologue Festival

Saturday, January 28th, 2017 from 9AM – 3PM Chula Vista High School Jack Tygett Performing Arts Center (820 Fourth Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91911) Open to all SUHSD Drama students! Featuring Dramatic & Comedic Scenes and Monologues! Hosted by Chula Vista High and San Ysidro High Drama Departments.

Competition will be adjudicated by local professors and professionals. Awards will be given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each category and Best Actor. Registration fee is $10 per student.

Registration forms and fees must be received by Friday, January 20th, 2017 via US Mail or District mail to Sharon Maley, Chula Vista High School, 820 Fourth Ave., Chula Vista, CA 91911 (or drop off at the CVH office by 3:00 PM on Jan. 20). Please contact Mrs. Sharon Maley if you have any questions. More info on the VAPA website.

--- Archive Posts Below ---

July 2016


For the first semester, our professional development will center on two primary activities: ELD strategies for VAPA teachers and the new Strategic Arts Plan. Dr. Luz Elena Perez, Director of State and Federal Programs and an ELD expert will be joining us to give us strategies that are easy to include in our daily lessons. The Arts Plan will be introduced and discussed with all five disciplines for your feedback and input. I will take some time on September 15 to discuss PE credit for VAPA courses with our music and dance teachers. Also, we will once again offer the opportunity for you to attend the Arts Empower Mega Conference in Balboa Park. VAPA will pay for your sub for the day, and will reimburse you for your registration costs.

Fall Dates:

  • 9/01/16 Drama
  • 9/02/16 Art/Digital Media
  • 9/15/16 All Music/Dance/Baile Folklorico
  • 10/13/16 Arts Empower Mega Conference


The latest revision will be introduced to everyone at the fall professional development days. Centered on the five focus areas of Equity and Accessibility, Leadership and Advocacy, Curriculum and Instruction, Professional Growth, and Community Outreach, this plan will guide the work of the VAPA office for the next five years. Once we have our final product, it will be submitted to the district and board for approval.

A big thank you to all of the committee members for their tireless dedication and hard work last year:

  • Andrea Arroyo – Teacher, Visual Art
  • Ron Bolles – Teacher (retired), Vocal
  • Melody Brown – Teacher, Digital Media
  • Amy Cruz – Teacher, Band, Guitar, SPED
  • Griselda Delgado – Principal
  • Annette Fritzche – San Diego Youth Symphony, Community Program Manager
  • Meg Garcia – Teacher, Art History
  • Julissa Gracias – Principal
  • Rhys Green – Teacher, Theater
  • Kristy Greenway-August – Teacher, Dance
  • Kelly Hamilton - Teacher, Digital Media
  • Lalo Hirsch – Teacher, Baile Folklorico
  • Jeff Kover – VAPA Director
  • Eric Mabrey – Teacher, Band
  • Debbie Nevin – SCPA Facilitator
  • Jennifer Opdahl – Teacher, Orchestra, Vocal
  • MaryRose Peralta – Principal
  • Eduardo Reyes – Principal
  • Fredd Sanchez – Teacher, Mariachi
  • Lauren Shelton – Chula Vista Elementary School District, VAPA Coordinator
  • Michelle Spielman – Teacher, Visual Art
  • Lynette Tessitore-Lopez – City of Chula Vista, Cultural Arts Manager
  • Christine Timmons – Teacher, Dance

  • Courtney Sawada, Regional Director, The California Arts Project
  • Pauline Crooks, VAPA Coordinator, San Diego County Office of Education


Last year, we were fortunate to have extra funds granted to us by the board for professional development. Because of these funds, we were able to help with a variety of collective and individual staff development opportunities like conferences, workshops, etc. Unfortunately, this request did not get approved for 2016-2017. Therefore, we will need to revert to our former model for requests. We will only be able to pay for registration and substitute costs for a limited number of requests. Any other costs (including travel, meals, etc.) will need to be picked up by your school sites.


Our budget remains the same from last year with a couple of notable exceptions:

  • As noted elsewhere, we will not have the PD funds we had last year.
  • We did receive a grant of one-time funds for instrument purchases to compensate for expected growth from the elementary schools. This is not a wish list, however. Jeremy and Joe have already identified the instruments needed based on their assessment of current inventory and needs.
  • We received an increase in our transportation budget to meet our recent expenditures. We have been over-spending in this area for three years, so our new budget will meet the current costs. Sadly, the request for even more money for additional trips was not approved.
  • We received an increase in on-going funds for choral accompanists to better serve our vocal programs. This allows for three hours per week of rehearsal accompaniment, and additional performance hours.

Bottom line, except for choral accompanists, we have the same budget as previous years.


Here are some of the initiatives that we will be working on this year:

1. PE credit for VAPA course review and reflection
2. Alignment of course outlines and curriculum
3. Common assessments

This promises to be a busy yet fulfilling year. It is an honor to be working with all of you, and I wish you the best in your opening days.

- Jeff Kover, Visual and Performing Arts Director

June 2016

Hello and happy last days of the school year! As we wrap up the school year, I would like to update you on some of the activities of late and plans for the new school year.

First, congratulations to all for the many outstanding end-of-the-year performances and exhibitions that have taken place this month. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a few, and as always, I am so impressed with the quality of work that is being done. A special shout-out to our new teachers. I think we have some of the best new arts instructors around. I am so proud of the work that you have been able to accomplish.


Many thanks to all of the teachers, administrators, and community members who have been working so diligently this past year to craft a plan that will set the direction of the VAPA Department for the next five years. The plan is being cleaned up by SouthCAP and will be given to me at the end of June. At that point I will review and align all of the recommendations with our district LCAP. The completed draft will then be sent out to the committee for final review before submission to VAPA teachers, district cabinet, and ultimately the Board of Trustees. I anticipate the process should be completed in September or October.


Despite rumors to the contrary, PE credit for existing courses for 2016-2017 will not change from this year. However, a discussion will be taking place next year to decide the direction of the district with regards to granting PE credit for activities such as dance, marching band, baile folklorico, etc. In order to remain on the forward end of this discussion, I will be gathering the teachers together to dive deeper into what is required of PE courses, how our course content can match these requirements, and how best to encourage all of the district stakeholders that this is a viable and worthwhile effort. Our goal will be to identify, compare, match, exceed, and succeed.

What is known is that it is mandatory that all teachers who are giving PE credit must have or be in the process of getting a PE credential. If you are one of these teachers, please be moving forward with your credential preparation.


If you are one of our professional experts with a CTE-AME credential, please be mindful that you must complete the requirements to clear your credential within three years from the granting of the credential. For most of you, that means you have two years left.


As of today, we hear that the bills that are pending in the state legislature to create separate dance and theatre/drama credentials are moving forward and should be going to the respective floors of the assembly and senate. If passed, then new teachers of dance or drama will be required to possess these credentials. Existing teachers will be grandfathered in so they will not need to get the new credential. More details to come as this winds its way through Sacramento.


We have been fortunate enough to be able to reserve some funds for badly needed investments in the department. These have included a new choral shell, additional art panels, tools for the repair shop, new musical instruments, and a new banner for the annual art show. All of these purchases are designed to make this department better able to serve you and your students.

2016-2017 BUDGET

So far, no news as to what our budget will be. I don’t anticipate knowing any more before the end of the week, so I will give you updates upon your return. I do remain hopeful.


One of our emphases for next year will be including ELD strategies in our arts classrooms. We are committed to teaching all kids, so it is important that you be given the appropriate tools.


It is such an honor and pleasure to work with each and every one of you. Thank you for your dedication to our students. I hope you have an amazing and restful summer break.

- Jeff Kover, Visual and Performing Arts Director