The Arts are sometimes the neglected children in the academic family despite their much needed benefits. For example, a study conducted by one of the world’s leading independent research organizations found that most California K-12 schools fail to meet established standards for visual arts, music, dance, and theatre even though the connection between an education in the Arts and overall academic success is well documented. A statewide survey of 1,800 randomly selected schools identified that the recent focus on improving test scores meant that schools were allocating the bulk of their instructional time on reading and math at the expense of the Arts. The Americans for the Arts program stated that students who participate in the Arts for at least three hours each week are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. Columbia University’s Teachers College found that most students who received high levels of arts instruction earned higher scores on measures of creative thinking than students with the lowest levels of arts instruction.
Nevertheless, in education today, the focus is on acronyms like SATs, GPA, ADA, PLC, ad infinitum. To be precise, the focus is on student academic achievement and while this is a perfectly understandable and desirable goal, one wonders what impact this highly focused agenda has on the students themselves. Tests scores are useful for measuring demonstrable growth but are all the important factors that make up the totality of a student demonstrable? What of art? What of the spirit? How does one calculate beauty? On what scale do we weigh our shared humanity? How does one reach a child’s soul with a scantron?
Rather than solely attempting to quantify, the John Glenn High School Fine Arts Department seeks to celebrate our students and what they can accomplish. We have a knowledgeable, talented and dedicated staff in place that produces strong student outcomes with a special emphasis on skill development, creative application, and post-secondary preparation. This site is filled with visual evidence of our outcomes.
JGHS Fine Arts promotes a three-pronged philosophy: 1) committed staff with high student expectations using standards-based curricula, 2) increased student exposure to the Art world while showcasing JGHS Fine Arts to a wider audience, and 3) character development such as responsibility, self-discipline, and a committed work ethic that will propel them to success well after high school.
The desired results for the John Glenn High School Fine Arts Department go beyond awards and trophies. Our students themselves are the best testament to our mission. Our vision is optimistic, and with clarity of vision and purpose, we will propel an already strong department even further; enabling our students to reach artistic and academic heights in keeping with our school’s namesake: John Glenn. Welcome to Our World!
A VISION FOR THE ARTS
by Ruben Cueto