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Visual Arts Curriculum

The elementary Visual Art curriculum is designed to provide on-going learning experiences which enable students to achieve these outcomes upon graduation:

  • Apply skills and knowledge to perform in the arts.
  • Apply skills and knowledge to create in the arts.
  • Describe, analyze, interpret, and evaluate works of art.
  • Understand, analyze, and describe works of art in their historical, social and cultural contexts.
  • Recognize, analyze, and describe connections among the arts; between visual art and classroom curriculum;between visual art and everyday life.
  • Reflect upon and assess the characteristics of student's own processes and the merit of their art work and art work of others.
  • Experiment with technology as a tool to create art.

With a primary focus on the Elements and Principals of Design, the Visual Art curriculum helps students:

  • Establish a conceptual framework in the arts to function as an aesthetically literate person. 
  • Participate in a variety of artistic endeavors to understand creative processes and skills.
  • Understand the role of the arts in the historical development of our culture and in the cultures of others.
  • Acquire skills for developing their own criteria for making aesthetic judgments.
  • Use the arts as an avenue to develop a positive self-concept, fulfill one's own potential, and to develop sensitivity and responsiveness to the expression of others.
  • Infuse technology as a form and function of the art process

Visual Art classes fulfill the Michigan Merit Curriculum requirement for graduation. "The board of a school district or board of directors of a public school academy shall not award a high school diploma to a pupil unless the pupil has successfully completed at least 1 credit in visual arts, performing arts, or applied arts, that is aligned with guidelines developed by the Michigan Department of Education."

Why is Art Important for your Child's Education?

Why is Art Important for your Child's Education?

Young people who participate in the arts for at least three hours on three days each week through at least one full year are:

  • 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
  • 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
  • 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
  • 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
  • 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem

Young artists, as compared with their peers, are likely to:

  • Attend music, art, and dance classes nearly three times as frequently
  • Participate in youth groups nearly four times as frequently
  • Read for pleasure nearly twice as often
  • Perform community service more than four times as often 
    • Citation: "Living the Arts through Language + Learning: A Report on Community-based Youth Organizations," Shirley Brice Heath, Stanford University and Carnegie Foundation For the Advancement of Teaching, Americans for the ArtsMonograph, November 1998)

The facts are that arts education:

  • Makes a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has been proven to help level the "learning field" across socio-economic boundaries
    • Citation: (Involvement in the Arts and Success in Secondary School, James S. Catterall, The UCLA Imagination Project, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, UCLA, Americans for the Arts Monograph, January 1998)
  • Has a measurable impact on at-risk youth in deterring delinquent behavior and truancy problems while also increasing overall academic performance among those youth engaged in afterschool and summer arts programs targeted toward delinquency prevention
    • Citation: (YouthARTS Development Project, 1996, U.S. Department of Justice, National Endowment for the Arts, and Americans for the Arts)

Businesses understand that arts education...

  • Builds a school climate of high expectation, discipline, and academic rigor that attracts businesses relocating to your community
  • Strengthens student problem-solving and critical thinking skills, adding to overall academic achievement and school success
  • Helps students develop a sense of craftsmanship, quality task performance, and goal-setting—skills needed to succeed in the classroom and beyond
  • Can help troubled youth, providing an alternative to destructive behavior and another way for students to approach learning
  • Provides another opportunity for parental, community, and business involvement with schools, including arts and humanities organizations
  • Helps all students develop more appreciation and understanding of the world around them
  • Helps students develop a positive work ethic and pride in a job well done
    • Citation: (Business Circle for Arts Education in Oklahoma, "Arts at the Core of Learning 1999 Initiative")

It promotes higher level thinking skills!

How Can I Support my Child's Art Education?

Quick Tips for Parents

The majority of American adults believe that arts education is very important to the development of today’s children—according to a recent survey by Americans for the Arts, the national organization for advancing the arts in America. In fact, 76 percent of adults agree that arts education is important enough to get personally involved, but two-thirds of respondents don’t know how.

Here are a few quick tips for parents on how to become involved in arts education, based on research findings from Americans for the Arts:

  • Provide a creative zone stocked with art supplies?Encourage spontaneous creative expression in an area that can stand up to spills or stray marker strokes.
  • Focus on the process, not the outcome?The performance or end result is not important; it’s the journey that matters.
  • Reserve judgment?The arts allow children to express themselves in ways that are uniquely theirs and don’t require a right or wrong approach.
  • Demonstrate by example?Seek out age-appropriate venues and performances that make the experience relevant and enjoyable.
  • Build confidence?The arts offer infinite possibilities and challenges as children think through the creation process, and ultimately build problem-solving skills and confidence.
  • Rhyme, sing, read and role-play?Language-rich activities make building prereading skills fun.
  • Encourage scribbling?Squiggles are more than just artistic expression, they’re an important precursor to writing that help toddlers develop fine motor skills.
  • Play music, sing, and dance?Engage all of the senses to build listening skills, cultivate memory development, and encourage expressive movement.
  • Get the facts?Ask questions at your preschool to learn how arts education programs are funded and how funds are being used.
  • Voice your opinion?Arts education programs are often enhanced or implemented because of parental insistence. Be vocal and make arts advocacy a habit.

National Art Honor Society

In 1978, the National Art Education Association began the National Art Honor Society program specifically for high school students, for the purpose of inspiring and recognizing those students who demonstrate an outstanding ability in art.  The NAHS strives to aid members in working toward the attainment of the highest standards in art areas, and to bring art education to the attention of the school and community.

All of the high schools in the district participate in NAHS.