Spring, in north campus anyway, means course registration and scheduling and imagining that somehow we will come through this frenzied spring semester into a summer and then start it all again next fall. But this year more than any year I’ve been at the school, I felt a refreshing sense of creative energy abound around course development. In one department chair meeting, I sat through faculty members impassioned proposals for classes to better-round-out the student experience. In another one-on-one chat, I learned about Rev Hailey Allin’s development of an amazing new experience designed for fourth graders to really put their leadership and service learning into a broader context.
Sometimes when I hear people pessimistic about the state of education or St. Andrew’s specifically, I realize that many don’t get to be part of these incredibly inspiring conversations. So here’s a little glimpse into just a fraction of the goodness that people are up to. I think the spirit of these faculty will be remarkably contagious whether you teach two year olds or 6th grade science. After all, we are all putting on new courses every single year: composed of a different swirl of students, needs, pedagogical choices, texts, and experiences.
|Course(s) Proposed||Course Description||Why this Course?|
|Paul Smith||Creative Writing||Creative writing is a workshop course designed to introduce students to the craft and the discipline of expressive writing. We will explore techniques and forms of writing creatively, specifically in the genres of poetry, short fiction, and drama. We will read great writing together, not as students doing literary criticism in an English classroom, but as writers learning the craft from those who do it best.|
Together we will become a community of writers devoted to sharpening our aesthetic judgment, developing our unique voices, experimenting with new modes of imagination, and fostering originality of expression.
|We have student interest in this offering, and this course could be a significant source of student writing for North Pasture and recognition programs such as Scholastic Writing Awards.|
|Digital Performance (new this year)||For students engaged with film performance, students design, create, and direct their own short movies ultimately for showcase and national festivals.||This expands the offerings for the theatre department and engages students in a way that was not previously available.|
|Playwriting (for 23-24)||Engaging the creativity and voice of each student, this is a deep dive into the practice of playwriting that results in a selection of one-act plays for competition or performance.|
|Technical Theatre Two: Designers (for 23-24)||Giving students leadership in the theatrical design process, technical theatre designers lead crews within their selected discipline of scenic, lighting, costumes, video, or sound to support the upper school plays and musicals.||This empowers students and recognizes what many of them are already doing within the existing class structure.|
|Theatre Arts Two: Competition (for 23-24)||Following the success of the beta-year with five state level top awards, this course supports students ready to take their skills onto the state and national levels, this course supports the development and performance of competition level pieces.||Students deserve dedicated time to present their best work at the state and national levels. It formalizes the work that students were already doing.|
|Hollie Marjanovic||ASPIRE reimagined||Are there ways to maintain the original promised goals of the program while making more opportunities accessible to all of our students? More brainstorming and details forthcoming!|
|Matt Luter||SEARCH (Self-Engineered Advanced Research in Creativity and the Humanities)||An advanced, individualized humanities study experience for juniors and seniors interested in deeper and more detailed research and writing related to topics in literature, history, or other arts and culture fields.||Multiple students have shared with me recently that, given the end of topical senior seminars in English and the relative paucity of electives in humanities fields compared to our curriculum of several years ago, they haven’t felt they’ve had adequate opportunities to explore their interests in the humanities in the Upper School at St. Andrew’s. I think it’s possible that this could become a transformative program within the intellectual life of the Upper School. It could play a major role in creating space for self-motivated investigation of individual interests at a depth that our required courses cannot always support. And as these talented students investigating the world in ways that they have some power to shape, I suspect that the ideas they discover will then get transmitted to other students and classes in unpredictable but fruitful ways.|