Art, music programs growing

WORTHINGTON-- The District 518 Board of Education received a report during its Tuesday meeting from the district's music and art curriculum committees.

WORTHINGTON-- The District 518 Board of Education received a report during its Tuesday meeting from the district's music and art curriculum committees.

"A successful art program is important for our students," said Worthington High School art teacher Gail Holinka. She said many teachers at Prairie Elementary are now using "Art Tango" -- a curriculum that meets Minnesota standards in art that was implemented with the assistance of the Perpich Center for Arts Education.

"This is a big addition to our curriculum," she continued. Holinka said the 2009-2010 academic year will be a monitoring year, used to seek feedback from students.

High school students are required to take one credit in either the visual or performing arts, and courses in drawing, painting, sculpture, digital photography and graphic design are offered.

"Everyone wants to be able to take a better photograph," said WHS art teacher Tricia Mickle. "For graphic design we use what the businesses use, we use Photoshop."


Several WHS graduates have gone on to become art teachers or graphic designers, the teachers reported. Students are also given opportunities to do design work for non-profit organizations or enter in art contests and shows.

The teachers asked the board to consider the addition of a K-5 arts specialist, who would help better develop students' art skills at the elementary school level so they wouldn't be playing "catch-up" when they reached middle school.

Teachers and directors in the district said the music programs have seen growth.

The committee recommended the possible addition of a full-time music teacher position at Prairie, reporting that increased enrollment has caused a 48 percent decrease in the amount of time dedicated to band lessons. Additional staffing at the middle school band was also advised.

"Artistic literacy is our lofty goal for our students," Prairie music teacher Jeanne Mammen explained. "They will have an understanding of the history of music, foundations of music; not only reading and writing music but singing and playing... and be able to use music as an expression of their own culture.

Prairie Elementary music teacher Jeanette Jenson said the communal activities of singing and playing instruments are important in an increasingly Internet-based society.

"Playing a musical instrument can help them become better citizens," she said.

Kerry Johnson, WHS choir teacher said the enthusiasm she saw among her students was unprecedented.


"This is the first time in my life I've heard the words "I can't wait to take (Advanced Placement) theory," she said with a smile.

With the loss of a curriculum coordinator a few years ago (the position has since been restored), "I think the curriculum development suffered a little bit," board member Linden Olson told the committees. "I think you've shown that we're a little bit closer to where we need to be."

In other business, the board:

- Approved the addition of two classrooms to the eight proposed classrooms for the Worthington Middle School addition project.

- Approved the resignation of Dennis Hale as head football coach at Worthington High School.

- Approved employment of Lisa Grothe as second-grade substitute teacher at Prairie Elementary, Josh Miller as girls' assistant hockey coach at WHS, Chris Huls as junior varsity boys' hockey coach at WHS, Cory Smidt as seventh-grade boys' basketball coach, and Melissa Burch as school social worker at WMS.

- Approved an internship agreement with Dordt College.

- Approved one credit of U.S. history and .5 credit of American government for a three-term class for 10th-grade Advanced Placement United States History students.


- Approved a paraprofessional position at Prairie Elementary to consist of 20 hours per week.

- Approved expulsion of a Worthington Middle School student.

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