The mere presence of the arts in a school system indicates education committed to excellence. School districts that perform at the highest level include art in their curriculum. Studies verify that arts education improves student attendance, academic performance, teamwork, logical thinking, innovation, and problem solving . Art develops vision (both physical and conceptual), integrates knowledge, extends thinking, and creates standards of excellence.
As we shift from an industrial to a technological culture, we experience the need to quickly assimilate multiple sources of visual information, make sense of it all, then create our own version that expresses our intent. Pencils, brushes, cameras, and chisels are now available on laptops, cell phones, and personal digital assistants. We all are finding that we need to think like artists. Whether this is in a schematic, a bar graph, a photograph, a web page, or a digital movie, visual communication skills have never been more significant than they are now. As a result career fields in the visual arts are expanding continually. While one may philosophically choose to be a "starving artist" reality shows that over a hundred careers exist in the visual arts alone, each paying moderate to high salary levels. Technology fuels this career expansion creating both the need in consumers and the artists, designers, and technicians who provide the services. And while new products and ideas fuel creative answers in the world of work, a healthy interest in the traditional arts & crafts also is developing at record levels. People like art as a way to relax. Black-smithing, Pottery, Weaving, Woodworking, Metalwork, and other traditional crafts are actively sought as recreational activities, in record numbers. The result of this information revolution is the availability of practically any art form for any purpose.
In this environment, Midland Public Schools provides a framework to prepare our students for careers and interests that may already exist, or as of yet, have not been invented. Whether or not they choose a career in the arts, students greatly benefit from an art education.
Midland Public Schools first through fifth grade students are in art class 45 minutes every week. Recently the new art series "Adventures in Art" was adopted for the elementary art program. "Adventures in Art" set the standard for complete art education in fulfillment of the National Standards for Art Education, with influence from the Getty Center for Art Education. Included with the text are beautiful reproductions of artists work, vocabulary, safety posters, tips on the process of creating, and assessment guidelines. We find that students are gaining a rich cultural education in addition to learning how to draw, paint, and sculpt. Instructors are masters at weaving their art curriculum with the core areas of math, science, language arts, and social studies. And here is the secret to our student success as evidenced through standardized tests. Learning that is fun, becomes learning that is not forgotten.
Art is an elective class for grades sixth through twelfth. Through the combined required and elective component, all students have opportunity to receive a complete and quality art education, enhancing their lifelong learning abilities, career preparedness, interests, and quality of life. At the secondary level, design provides core art thinking skills. Drawing, painting, and sculpture are physical skills linked to specific commercial and studio specialties in two- and three-dimensions. Studio classes offer experiences in a variety of these specialties while teaching real world adult roles and facets of potential career pathways.