Schools pilot advanced arts program

October 16, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

The Washington County Board of Education, in an effort to expand visual and performing arts in county schools, plans a $30,000 pilot program to add three advanced arts classes in the spring.

The classes are Advanced Ceramics and Sculpture, to be held at Washington County Technical High School, and Beginning Dance and Honors Jazz Band, both to be held at South Hagerstown High School.

The classes will be provided for students with artistic talent who will go through an application process, said Boyd Michael III, executive director of Secondary Education. He said the planning is for 15 students per class.


Michael said schools hope to approach high school principals, guidance counselors and arts teachers to identify talented students who might benefit from or want to be a part of the accelerated courses.

Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said students could initially be transported by the existing school bus system, though she hopes as the programs grow shuttle buses can be provided.

"I think there are various ways they can get there now," she said.

The Advanced Ceramics class will be held in the old welding classroom at the Technical High School. The school system will use a current teacher for the 90-minute class and hire a substitute to cover that teacher's class for the period, Michael said. He said the Honors Jazz Band program - under which students can accumulate credits at Hagerstown Community College - will be held before school and will not require a substitute teacher. South High band teacher Tony Dominico, who also teaches for HCC, will teach the course in the school's band room.

The school system will have to hire a part-time instructor for the Beginning Dance class, Michael said. The course probably will be taught at South Hagerstown's auditorium stage.

Michael said all the class locations may not be permanent.

He said South High and the technical school were selected for the pilot locations because the schools are centrally located - making transportation easier - and have available space.

School Board member Roxanne R. Ober suggested looking into the County Commuter as a transportation option. Schools already use the public transit system to help transport students in an after-school program and a Saturday school program at Springfield Middle School.

School Board member Paul W. Bailey said, "If you don't get other high schools involved, its going to be associated with one school."

Morgan said there will be funds to support the continuation of programs like those outlined over the next few years.

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