Four new fine arts electives - Digital Photography, Digital Art 2, Fashion Drawing and Design, and World Drumming - will be offered at Blair in the 2012-2013 school year. New fine arts teacher Jacqueline Armstead will teach two of the new classes.
The new electives are being added to the course list to appeal to students who would not normally take an art class, said Armstead. "I hope [the classes] will bring people into our hallway that would never have walked down it otherwise,” she said.
The prospective students for these electives will allow fine arts teachers to remain at Blair by creating a greater demand for teachers. According to Armstead, the number of students taking art courses determines how many art teachers are needed. "In a high school, the amount of students signed up [for classes] determines the amount of teachers working there,” she said.
If there are more art teachers than art classes, the teachers may be transferred to other schools. The art department's hope is that with these new electives, enrollment will rise and all the fine arts teachers will be able to remain at Blair.
Armstead will teach Digital Art 2 which will serve as an extension of Digital Art 1 for students who want to master PhotoShop and create art from scratch. Fashion Drawing and Design students will learn to draw human figures and gestures, sketch outfits and develop patterns. The Fashion Drawing and Design course is an MCPS pilot course, which Blair and two other high schools, Thomas S. Wootton and James Hubert Blake, will be testing next year.
MCPS will also introduce Digital Photography as an introductory photography course. Franklin Stallings will teach this class along with Photography 1, 2, and 3, which are already offered. The current courses in photography will become the higher-level classes for students who want to continue their studies. Their curricula will not change.
Blair music teacher Adam Stephens will teach World Drumming. In this class students will explore a variety of drumming techniques from different parts of the U.S. and around the world. They will learn the role drumming plays in different societies and perform the styles of Asian, Jamaican, and Indonesian drumming, along with others. No musical experience will be necessary to take this course.
These additional classes will not cause any existing classes to be canceled. The only way a course will be dropped, Armstead said, is if the minimum number of students do not sign up to take it. "These [classes] are just additions. Some courses will get dropped off [the list] because of enrollment, but not because of these classes,” she said.
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