Are Schools Killing Creativity (Written Pre-COVID19)

Caitlin Grisham, Reporter

   As a high schooler interested in art, I personally haven’t seen any changes with the art programs over the years. Every year it feels like we do the same things: pottery, basic art skills, but with different projects. Although I haven’t experienced any art classes at the high school, this is what discouraged me from continuing to take art classes. In my opinion, they haven’t modernized them at all. 

   But after talking with Mrs. Melissa Clay Reissmann I learned that this wasn’t the case at all. 

  “To teach a new class they’d have to make a decision to hire a new teacher at least part time because I’m always teaching an overload,” Mrs. Clay said. 

   “A full time teacher teaches five classes, and I usually teach six on top of running a club,” Mrs. Clay said.

   If she had more time, Mrs. Clay said she would want to incorporate more “disciplinary teaching,” which are classes that are combined together. Some examples of these classes would be: Visual Journaling, a class combining art and English, and Digital Drawing and Animation, classes combining art and technology.

   These classes would need more teachers and time to run. Neither the school nor Mrs. Clay has that. 

    On top of that, there is a requirement for how many students are needed to be able to have a class.

   Mr. Raether, principal, explained more on how this process worked: “Teachers can propose a new class in the fall, and ultimately is approved by the school board. Once approved by the school board it goes on the course selection sheet and if enough students sign up for it, then we run it if not, we don’t,” he said.

   Although, I think that an animation class would be beneficial, especially with how much animation is utilized in society nowadays, because of the lack of time in the day and the resources that can go towards the arts I don’t think that’s possible. The school is doing the best they can with the arts programs right now and Mrs. Clay is doing what she can by herself. 

   “Mrs. Clay is an awesome teacher and many of the changes in the art department are being driven by her ingenuity and innovation,” Mr. Raether said.

   “All the credit goes to her. She drives all the work to ensure that students have a quality and engaging experience,” Raether added.

   All in all, even though I personally wish there were some more art classes people could take it is out of the schools, and Mrs. Clay’s hands to do so. They, the school and Mrs. Clay, are doing the best they both can to do with what they have.