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October 16, 2015 Repository 183: Arts + School = Win Posted In: community, culture, education, perspective, social critique

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Below is a letter to local administrators who are attempting to pass a bond for education facilities in our fast growing community. They have asked for community feedback, and I hope they will reconsider their strategy thus proposed. A reality check is required in that the bond for education facilities should not necessarily include bathrooms and concession stands for football fields – actual classrooms need to be built and considered. Oh, and the arts. It’s listed as “recreational”, and well it’s not. If you are reading this and you live in Camas, please cut and paste the parts you believe would help create a well rounded student body, then email 2016Bond@camas.wednet.edu, and please be vocal at the community meetings* where they are asking for feedback. I hope that the feedback sessions are not dog and pony shows, and that we can create the best scenario for the ~$117m to land. If you don’t live in Camas, but have a school system expanding, make sure they are considering the arts as integral, not peripheral. Form should follow function, so let’s consider what the function of our schools should be by an intelligent design for growth.

Thank you for reading and happy weekend! xoxo

To whom it may concern:

Thank you for opening up the bond considerations to the community, and for all of the hard work thus far. I have three small kids that I am hoping to see through the Camas public school system. Below are some major concerns with the proposed strategy for facility growth:

1. Arts should not be considered a magnet and recreational – facilities should be developed to enhance creative opportunities for all elementary and high school students. I recommend a dedicated art room in every elementary school (stand alone rainy day room like Dorothy Fox). One where students and teachers can utilize to make the important messes they can’t in their homerooms (visual, performing, graphic, musical).

2. PE is for running around so students can sit and focus on math, art is for running around in the brain so students can sit and focus on math. Art is dealing with ambiguity just as you must deal with ambiguity in advanced math and science. Choices for facility growth should reflect this vital understanding.

3. The district has historically funded, and continually and generously funds leadership and facilities for the football program. It’s time to create equity for the whole student body’s interests. While school spirit is excellent hung on the mantel of football, education and brain development is at the core of a school district’s mission. Let’s not create lopsided students who see football mainly as the community’s goals and strong, independent and creative thinking labs as nonexistent, and worse not important. Make Camas different and a benchmark for other areas in the US by cultivating creative arts and science programs via new facilities!

4. To reiterate point number 1, please do not create an arts magnet school where the arts (serious arts) are removed from the student body – it is through accidental experiments and experiences with the arts that students grow. I was a math major for two years in college until I was required to take a drawing course. I graduated magna cum laude in the arts, and went on to have a successful and creative career in business. The arts make a huge difference in kids’ lives and minds, and it needs to start early. Please consider this in your plans for growth, alongside the required space for classrooms. Build a strong program and people will come – projections for a new comprehensive high school should be bold and consistent with community values.

Thank you for reading this and your consideration!

Sincerely – X

 

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