By Jessy Kronenberg, CDEA Past President
In response to the 2016 passage of SB 916 (the Theater and Dance Act), CDEA convened a task force of members representing a wide spectrum of dance education sectors to focus attention on the next steps for the future Dance Credential in California. This group, led by Melissa Bramham (Greater Board member and Task Force Developer) and Jessy Kronenberg (CDEA Past President) spent the first half of 2017 researching specific questions surrounding the new credential and reaching out to experts for consultation on CDEA’s role in the creation of the credential.
The group’s research investigated the following questions: What do the CA single-subject credentials in Visual Art and Music look like right now? What do the credentialing systems in dance look like in other states? And, regarding both of these questions, how can we use these structures to inform the development of the dance credential in CA? In addition to the group’s research into these topics, it also worked on plans for communication, outreach, and support to the universities and junior colleges in California that host departments of dance.
Members of the task force also met with arts education and credentialing expert Eric Engdahl who is chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Cal State East Bay and is also a theater educator. Eric later participated in a recorded video conference on ZOOM that focused on general credentialing in CA and CDEA’s potential role in developing the new dance credential. These meetings helped us better understand the landscape of CA credentialing systems and what the dance-specific elements may look like for the new credential.
The information gathered by the task force helped us understand the need for a single repository of information regarding the dance credential in California. As 2017 moves along, CDEA and the Credential Task Force look forward to launching CADanceCredential.com, a website that will act as a major resource for current and prospective dance teachers in our state. If you’d like to be a part of the coalition that will inform the contents of the new site, please contact Melissa Bramham at email@example.com. In the meantime, read on to learn about the potential timeline for the Dance credential and CDEA’s role in its development and implementation.
Unofficial Timeline for the New Dance Credential
as of June 2017
- ADOPT STANDARDS: The Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) standards for CA will be revised per the passage of AB 2862 in 2016; CA needs to determine how much of the new standards will be NCAS as written, and how much will be something else yet to be determined. CDEA members can apply to be on the Standards Advisory Committee via the CDE (CA Department of Education) which will write those standards. Thankfully, the Governor’s proposed year-long delay to this revision was voted down by our legislature. Stay tuned for an announcement for applications for the Standards Advisory Committee.
- DEVELOP EXAM: With standards adopted, the CSET (CA Subject Exam for Teachers) can be developed. This is usually contracted out by the state to a company such as Pearson, though NDEO’s DELTA may come into play for us here. The exam measures a prospective dance education student’s content knowledge in dance specifically based on the adopted standards– passing the CSET is the “gateway” into any credential program for prospective educators.
- UNDERGRAD DANCE PROGRAMS ADAPT: With the knowledge of what standards will be assessed on the new CSET, undergraduate dance programs can align their curriculum to ensure that their graduates will be adequately prepared to pass the exam and enter into a credential program.
- EDUCATION PROGRAMS DEVELOP DANCE METHODS COURSEWORK: At the universities that choose to host credential programs in Dance, about 20% of a dance education student’s coursework toward the credential will be content-specific. Depending on the site, these courses may be offered through dance departments or departments of education. All course work in any CA credential program is based on the 6 CA Teacher Performance Expectations. Note: This step can happen simultaneously throughout this entire timeline.
- STUDENTS ARE ASSESSED AND ENTER CREDENTIAL PROGRAMS: Students with completed undergraduate degrees in dance (BA or BFA) take and pass the CSET and apply for admission into a Dance Credential program of their choosing. Credential programs will likely be 12 months and include 600 student teaching hours working with a supervisor at the site and a mentor. Mentors could be professor/university faculty and do not necessarily need to hold a credential, though would be required to hold a Master’s degree.
Note: Steps 1 through 5 above will take 3 – 4 years. Please reference the Post-TADA FAQ produced earlier this year for additional information on the Dance Credential.
Dance Credential FAQ 2.0
With this timeline in mind, what can CDEA, the Credential Taskforce, and Credential Coalition do to support this process?
- CDEA can be sure to announce to membership when the CDE is accepting applications for the Standards Advisory Committee to update the VAPA Standards
- CDEA can advocate for Steps 1 and 2 to happen simultaneously which could save a year in the overall process with CTC (Commission on Teacher Credentialing) and CDE
- CDEA can encourage undergraduate dance programs to align their curriculum with the new VAPA standards in dance so all graduates will be prepared to pass the new Dance CSET
- CDEA can be in touch with NDEO about the possibilities of using the DELTA, or a variation of this assessment, as the CSET in Dance
- CDEA can help build a list of master teachers willing to take on student teachers working toward their dance credentials
What will CDEA not be able to do in this process?
CDEA, as an organization, will not be writing the curriculum for the new credential programs. We hope to have members on the Standards Advisory Committee to revise the VAPA standards, and members as faculty at the host universities that work within those institutions to create the methods coursework. We will act as a resource to the CTC, the CDE, and our membership throughout this process to the best of our ability.
If I already have a PE credential, what do I do to get this Dance Credential once it exists?
In CA, to add a credential to an existing credential, a teacher must pass the CSET in the subject area. Once the Dance CSET is developed, any PE-credentialed teacher (or any other subject, or multiple subjects, for that matter) can take and pass the test and pay the fee to CTC to have “Dance” added to their credential.
What is the difference between the CDEA Credential Task Force and the Credential Coalition?
The Task Force is a specialized working group that conducts research and strategizes around the development of the dance credential. It consists of 10 – 15 members from the CDEA community and it is guided by Melissa Bramham (Task Force Developer, Greater Board) and Jessy Kronenberg (Past President, Executive Board). The Coalition is an informed advocacy group that is kept abreast of the activity of the Task Force and, from time to time, is asked to partake in activities to support the work of the Task Force (i.e. taking surveys or reaching out to local dance education networks).
Want to join the Coalition? Email Melissa Bramham at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your name will be put on the list and we’ll be in touch in the fall with next steps!
How do I help write the curriculum for the new Dance Credential?
Apply and be accepted to the VAPA Standards Advisory Committee through the CDE (application date TBA), and/or be on faculty at department of education or the department of dance at the universities where the credential will be offered.