By Kubair Chuchra '18
Academics, athletics, and the arts. In the classroom, on the fields, and on the stage. Scholar, athlete, and artist. In chapel talks, assemblies, and everyday conversations, members of the Saint Albans community use variations of these phrases to describe the three areas of interest in which an ideal, well-rounded Saint Albans student should excel in. However, of these three qualities, our school, from a curriculum standpoint, seems to focus less on the arts. Here are three proposals on how to fix that:
Proposal One: Double the arts requirement.
Currently, a Saint Albans student can fulfill their one credit arts requirement by participating in two semesters of an ensemble, two semesters of an art or acting class, or completing 100 hours of work with the Thespian Society. Personally, I don’t think this requirement is big enough. For a school that prides itself in academic, athletic, AND artistic achievements, it's embarrassing that our students only need one arts credit in comparison to nineteen academic credits and eleven athletic seasons in order to graduate. Accordingly, I propose that our school doubles its arts requirement. Doing so will further encourage students to explore and develop their creativity. Though some students may complain about this increased requirement making their already packed days even busier, they can turn to dozens, if not hundreds, of their peers already going over and above the current arts requirement to figure out how to fit the extra hours into their schedule.
Proposal Two: Diversify the arts requirement.
A Saint Albans student can currently fulfill their arts requirement through participation in one single type of art (i.e. chorale, visual art, theater). In the interest of exposing students to a variety of forms of art, I propose that Saint Albans require its students to gain their arts credits through participation in two of the following three disciplines: visual art (any art class at sta/ncs), drama (any school production or acting class), and music (orchestra, jazz band, and chorale).
Proposal Three: Offer art during ensembles
For any student not in orchestra or chorale, the block schedule’s built in ensembles periods offer several hours of unstructured free time throughout the school week. Though some students may use this time well, many students, who are not interested in chorale or orchestra, could benefit from using it to fulfill their arts requirements. Offering an art class during ensemble would help solve this problem. Moreover, it would give many students the option to take a visual art without the burden of a sixth class. Adding an ensembles art period would also help alleviate the problem of kids who are not interested in singing joining chorale for the sake of getting an arts credit; instead, they would join ensembles art.
In order to meet the same amount of time as a normal, semester-long art class, an ensemble art class would have to meet during three out four ensemble periods in a cycle for an entire school year. This would total to around 57 hours of class time throughout the school year, just three hours shy of the 60 hours a normal class meets during a semester.
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