AHS Offers New Fine Arts Pathway

February 27, 2014

AHS Offers New Fine Arts Pathway

Students who are interested in the arts can take an Arts and Letters Pathway (ALP) that begins in August of 2014.

The pathway is a concentrated four-year path of study that students can enter at ninth or tenth grade.  It includes taking five classes of a fine art strand, an extracurricular community service, an internship, and a capstone project.

This program is for “students who are really passionate about the arts.” art teacher Karen Singel said.

Principal Jay Thomas visited several high schools and looked at their art programs and academies and came up with ALP.

The ALP adds to AHS fine and performing arts program by having a way to recognize students upon graduation, according to Thomas.

ALP is not an academy like MESA.  There is no application for ALP, just the completion of a Declaration of Intent form and the Plan of Progress with a student’s counselor.

This program is designed for the students who want to pursue art as a career option.  “It opens doors for more for more students who want to come into the pathways and experiences,” Thomas said.

Students will be able to choose to focus on music, visual arts, theatre or creative writing.

“I am going to sign up for the creative writing path in the Arts and Letters Pathway because I write all the time.  It’s my passion,” freshman Kieran Rundle said,  “I hope to pursue a career in writing and major in a field of writing in college.”

“I’m going into music because I’ve always been in band throughout middle school.  So, I want to take a music theory class too since I want to learn more about music and not just about playing it,” said freshman Reggie Lockhart.

By requiring students to take a class outside of their primary interests, it allows them to expand their knowledge of similar art forms.

“I have had a lot of students who take ceramics and would like to go on to [art] college, but they’ve never taken an art [drawing] class, so if you follow this program it allows you to get all of the different basic classes,” ceramics teacher Angela Gleeson said.

Participating in the pathway is different from taking normal art classes because it is more intense and increases the rigor for the student, according to Singel.  Students will have to spend more time outside of school working on their art than non-pathway students would.

Any current freshman or sophomore pursuing the ALP must complete a minimum of ten hours of community service before their junior year begins.  For example, if a student in ALP whose strand was music, then their community service hours could be completed by volunteering at the Paramount.

Community service is the precursor to the internship done during junior year.  Students should begin to make contacts and gain experience in the community. The internship will follow the same protocol as the internships students already are able to do, according to Thomas.

The capstone project done during the senior year is a show that the student puts on to overview their art.  A theatre student might direct a show and a writing student might create a chapbook.

“We think that it will be a wonderful opportunity for our Patriot kids and families,” Thomas said.

Students who are interested in the ALP can obtain a form from their guidance counselor.

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