Dance program teaches LAUSD students life lessons

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Dance program teaches LAUSD students life lessons
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Students from Eagle Rock Elementary School participate in a dance program provided by the California Dance Institute.

EAGLE ROCK, LOS ANGELES -- While dancing can be fun, it can also make a difference in a child's education as a program in the Los Angeles Unified School District has shown.

At a time when shrinking school budgets mean fewer arts and music programs, the California Dance Institute program has literally been music to the ears of students and teachers.

"It's about using dance and music to bring life and learning skills, the discipline, the focus, the energy that you can then take into anything that you do in life," Carole Valleskey with CDI explained.

Every 4th grader at Eagle Rock Elementary School participates in the non-profit dance program.

"This really changed my feelings about dance," student Jacob Dunlavey said.

David Franke, a teacher at Eagle Rock Elementary School, said he noticed an immediate change in his students.

"Their self-discipline, their self-esteem grow measurably before my eyes as they participate in the program," Franke said.

Franke stated he saw a particular improvement among his English learners.

"Working with each other and movement and counting and those things help build their language capacity almost immediately," Franke said.

A fundraiser that helps pay for the program will be held on May 25 in a culmination performance in Santa Monica where students will perform with the other participating LAUSD schools.