Riley High School changing the face of art classes

Some area schools are setting new standards for education, and as a result there are some noticeable improvements.

At South Bend's Riley High School, a new requirement is helping students improve their scores in state standardized testing in math and English.

These courses are now being included in other classes. They include the art program which just received a $1,000 One School at a Time Grant from Martin's Supermarkets.

Old books that were destined to be destroyed have found a new life with the art students at Riley High School. The kids are turning these former rejects into works of art.

As a school, Riley has turned around its scores through an 8 step program implementing math and English in all classrooms, including art.

Alicia McDonald, Riley HS Art Teacher, explains how she is connecting art with math and English, “Connect the art the hands on approach with the actual standards. So I'm matching a math standard with an art and an English standard with an art standard.”

How does it work? Math is very important in measuring for art designs.

Ashlee Baca, Riley High School Senior, gives an example of using math for measurements, “Like with doing the kites, you had to figure out exactly the right angle to tie stuff off at or it looked a mess.”

For English, the teachers are having more emphasis on research and writing about artists or techniques.

McDonald explains how it is helping the students with their writing skills, “We're finding that a lot of kids are writing like they text. So we're making sure they have a good foundation in actual writing.”

Reading the teacher's directions helps too.

Alex Wieczorek, Riley HS sophomore, explains how it helps to read the instructions, “She writes directions and she sticks with those pretty well.”

The grant money will be used to help purchase art supplies.

Dajah Robinson, Riley High School Sophomore, explains how much it helps the teachers and the classes, “I think it helps her a lot she spends a lot of money herself to be able to do the projects. So I think with the grant that we have we'll be able to do a lot more, and be more creative with it.”

Riley High School is now creating better students, through math, English and art.

Baca explains how it is a passion for her, “Building and creating is something I’m very passionate about, to take nothing and turn it into something.”

The winning school gets $1,000 from Martin's Supermarket, and a new winner is picked each month.

Schools only need to apply once, and you can do so by going to michianaschools.com.


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