Arts education nonprofit receives grant benefiting low-income middle schoolers

A local arts education nonprofit announced this week that it has received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will benefit low-income middle school students in Long Beach Unified School District’s gifted and talented education program.

Signal Hill-based Dramatic Results said the funds will support the Art of Building a City Ecosystem Project, a four-year program that will help GATE students improve in math, art and “social emotional skills.” It will also connect art and design to real world applications in STEAM fields, including science, technology, engineering, art and math.

The project will include the Historical Society of Long Beach, Long Beach Public Library’s 3D Maker Lab, The Growing Experience Urban Farm, Craft in America, the American Psychological Association, architects, culinary artists and student teachers enrolled at Cal State Long Beach.

“Through the ABC Project, community agencies that might typically only reach students through proactive parents will strengthen their abilities to provide equitable access to low-income youth, implement diverse family engagement efforts, and mentor students across career pathways,” the nonprofit stated.

As part of the project, 36 student teachers and 36 classroom teachers will be provided with professional development to attain GATE certification and hopefully impact 250 students per year, according to the nonprofit. An estimated 9,000 students are expected to benefit from the project.

“High quality arts education yields equity and access that low-income students wouldn’t otherwise experience and prepares them to engage and persist as they navigate school and beyond,” said Dramatic Results founder Christi Wilkins.

This is the fifth time the nonprofit has received this grant, according to the release.

The nonprofit believes this type of programming allows low-income gifted students to compete with higher-income peers when competing for advanced education or modern-day careers.

“Low-income gifted students in particular often start strong academically only to fall behind in middle school, and usually face a lack of enrichment resources,” according to the nonprofit.  “Ensuring success in middle school is seen as key to avoid underrepresentation of students in advanced high school classrooms.”

U.S. Rep Alan Lowenthal, who represents Long Beach, will present Dramatic Results with the check during the nonprofit’s 25th anniversary event at its headquarters on Saturday, Oct. 20.

Tickets range from $20-$25. To purchase tickets click here.

Dramatic Results is located at 3310 Lime Ave., Signal Hill.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.