In spite of budget cuts, the Newhall School District’s visual arts program has remained a priority, reaching 2,000 fourth and fifth graders from more than 75 classes at 10 different schools.
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The students will be showcasing thousands of pieces of their work during a public display at Valencia Valley Elementary School on Thursday, June 6 from 5 to 8 p.m.
“When I stand there and watch these kids show off their work and watch parents looking at the work on the walls, I’m just really proud of the work that our kids and our teachers do,” said District Superintendent Marc Winger.
The arts program operates in intensive six week cycles that emphasize integrating language arts, math, science, and history grade standards and creating art through many different mediums.
John Fossa, NSD’s visual arts teacher, delivers a sequential, skills-based visual arts program and then assists regular classroom teachers in supplementing the visual arts program by providing training, materials and sample lessons with suggestions for activities they can use to reinforce art concept.
“While our students certainly produce some spectacular artwork, our program is not about teaching every student to be the next Picasso,” Fossa said. “It’s about helping students develop the skills to express ideas and understand their world through the arts. When you see this work from across the district all collected in one place you can’t help but be impressed by what these children can do.”
In each of Fossa’s lessons students are introduced to a specific art concept, taught to recognize and analyze it, and then given an opportunity to apply the concept in an independent project.
Each lesson also includes an art history link, with the introduction of works by important artists or a discussion of historical and cultural context. Students then critique and evaluate their own and each others’ artwork during an aesthetic valuing component.
“We value these programs highly,” Winger said. “These make kids whole, and we approach a child academically, in the arts, for their wellbeing. This is all part of what makes Newhall School District such a great school district.”
In Newhall’s visual arts program, and in its more than 35-year-old music program, art has become something more than just an activity in which students participate. It is a field of expression and skill development within which students grow.
“Parents are grateful that the district has organized a fine arts program, and they want to see it succeed, so their support for our program has been strong,” Winger said. “We expect hundreds of proud artists and thousands of parents to walk through this one-night art show.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News