PHS art students have benefited from these new explorations of digital media. For the first time we are able to teach things like animation, digital photography and graphic design to our freshmen. This has set them up for faster and more advanced media knowledge and skills. 2015-16 is the first school year that students have come into the Digital Media courses with and introductory classwork in digital media. We are hopeful it will improve their ability to jump right in and will elevate the rigor of their work.
Early evidence shows that's just what has happened. We had a record number of students achieve Gold and Silver key awards at the Scholastic Art Show at the Milwaukee Art Museum this year. (see the homepage for award winning art) These are students who benefited from the emphasis on digital media. We've also seen the rigor and preparation for our level one classes go up as well with the new option allowing students in middle school to opt out of Introduction to Art if they show a developed portfolio and written artist statement that illustrates the advanced level of their artwork. One student qualified this past school year and her work in the level 1 art classes has been exemplary. Pushing the envelop through increased rigor and expectations has helped students stretch their abilities. It has also made me continue to strive to learn new things and go further with our already fantastic art program.
This past year I presented Roto What? Get the Scoop on Rotoscope at the Wisconsin Art Education Association (WAEA) state art education Conference in Appleton, WI on Thursday, October 22nd. The presentation helped fellow Art Educators learn several rotoscope animation techniques using hand drawn frames, Adobe Photoshop and iPad Apps. I was also honored to receive the Secondary Art Educator of the year award at this state conference. While at the conference Nancy Walkup, the Editor of School Arts magazine sat in on my presentation and invited me to submit an article on Rotoscope for consideration for future publishing. In addition to State level professional presentations I was accepted to present at the National Art Education Association spring conference in March 2016 in Chicago. This will be the first time I will present at a national conference. I am nervous, anxious and thrilled for the experience. It will be fantastic to meet in person the many wonderful art educators I've chatted with on Twitter and other social media. All of these have helped me grow and expand my practice as artist educator.
It appears you can teach an "old dog" new tricks-all in the pursuit of excellence and learning for our students and my own expanded knowledge base. This past year has been very busy and at times difficult, but through challenge comes growth. As Reverend Martin Luther King said: “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”