St. Francis schools put art back in its place

Art is in.

Come September, St. Francis School District elementary students will be given new outlets for creativity.

The district has hired three new elementary art teachers, one for each elementary school in the district. Students were receiving art instruction from their homeroom teachers in recent years. Elementary schools did previously have art teachers, but the program was minimized during budget cuts.

St. Francis school district’s new art program will have students reaching for the sky in creativity. Photo by Sara Marie Spaulding

St. Francis school district’s new art program will have students reaching for the sky in creativity. Photo by Sara Marie Spaulding

Given current research of the value of arts education, St. Francis schools decided arts-specific teachers were needed.

“It was a recommendation from our principals and I concurred based on certain research that we had found that really talked to two different areas,” said Paul Neubauer, director of curriculum and instruction.

“One is for an elementary school student to be able to learn to use judgment as they complete their artwork.”

Students will be able to learn what is it like to complete a project that is graded based on “degrees of proficiency” versus black and white scoring.

“There is some research that would say kids who learn to make judgments earlier do better academically,” Neubauer said.

Artistic expression will also enable students to express themselves in forms other than language and help them to understand their feelings.

“We think it is important for kids to be able to express themselves in an artistic way,” said Neubauer.

Students who will someday work in careers that require creativity will also benefit.

“There are kids who have specific talents, that are specific to art, who now can really flourish in that environment,” he said.

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