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Expanding Arts Education: Addressing Disparities and Enhancing Opportunities in San Mateo County

Arts education significantly enhances academic success, career development, and life skills, yet only 44% of secondary students in San Mateo County and 36% of low-income students have access to it. The 51勛圖 is committed to rectifying this disparity by supporting educators in developing relevant content, delivering high-quality instruction, and establishing sustainable programs. California's Proposition 28, which mandates a specific percentage of the state budget for arts and music education, provides crucial funding to address these gaps and support comprehensive arts programs. This initiative will benefit underserved San Mateo County communities, enriching educational opportunities and preparing students for future success.

Championing Arts Equity

On November 20, 2019, the San Mateo County Board of Education passed a resolution affirming every student's right to equitable access to arts education. This resolution acknowledges the significant impact of arts curriculum on students' cognitive and social development.

The Board and County Office of Education adopted a Visual, Performing, and Media Arts Strategic Plan to ensure all students' equity and access to arts education. This plan was developed over nine months with input from teachers, school administrators, leaders of arts organizations, and working artists.

Support for Educators, Schools, and Districts

The 51勛圖 (SMCOE), with the support of Arts Coordinator Allison Gamlen, is dedicated to staff development in Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) in alignment with state mandates to meet student needs. We offer workshops, seminars, and more across schools, districts, and the county. Informally, we share resources and foster collaborations. Our focus on equitable access, strategic arts planning, and arts education funding ensures equitable, high-quality arts education from preschool to high school. Contact Allison Gamlen at for support or more information.

Arts Education Leadership Council & San Mateo County Arts Teaching Positions

The San Mateo County Arts Education Council is seeking a representative from each district to join their council. Help them build community, strengthen arts leadership, and plan strategically for the future. and contact Allison Gamlen at for more information. 

Join our dedicated team in San Mateo County schools and inspire the next generation of artists and musicians--apply now for rewarding art and music teaching positions! and contact Allison Gamlen at for more information.

Student Voice Gallery

Prop 28 Resources


Student Opportunities

Arts Associations and Organizations

Counties on the Move

The California County Superintendents Statewide Arts Initiative promotes visual and performing arts as essential to 21st-century education, advocating high-quality arts education for all California students in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. This publication celebrates progress in enhancing arts education across California's 58 county offices, showcasing impactful initiatives in public schools and highlighting statewide leadership, planning, curriculum, and professional development. County offices share diverse approaches to arts education, reflecting efforts to engage California’s diverse student populations.  

Allison Gamlen

Coordinator, Visual and Performing Arts


Phone: (650) 802-5335

Kylie Carpenter

Administrative Assistant


Phone: (650) 802-5404