Department of Academics | Meeting the Needs of ALL Learners
Ms. Michelle DaGrosa, Supervisor of Arts Education
Shannon Akeru, Secretary
732-613-6985Pablo Picasso once marveled how "every child is an artist." However, he was quick to add how difficult it was to have the child remain an artist once he/she grows up. This is a challenge that the East Brunswick School District takes very seriously.
Formal Art Education begins in kindergarten and in accordance with the 2020 revision of the New Jersey's Student Learning Standards for the Visual and Performing Arts, broad-based exposure to the visual arts continues for all students through Grade 5.
In art classes, students learn to express themselves creatively, observe the world around them, and understand the interplay between art and society while developing techniques and skills that increase eye-hand coordination and communication abilities. They learn to appreciate the art of past and present cultures and become aware of the role of art in everyday life, its historical significance, and its importance to the people who create it and the people who enjoy it.
The Visual Arts offerings are extremely diverse. They range from drawing, painting, sculpture and design to architecture, photography, film, video and folk arts. In the primary grades, children work with a variety of materials while basic concepts and vocabulary are introduced. In the upper elementary grades, students explore design, color, texture and line, learn how to organize two and three-dimensional space, and examine art criticism and aesthetics in greater depth. Kindergarten through fourth grade students receive art instruction one period a week for 60 minutes.
At Hammarskjold Upper Elementary School all students continue to gain exposure to the visual arts through a cycle course in grade five. Students who demonstrate greater artistic talent or interest may also take an alternate day art elective.
The NJ Standards require that by Grade 8, students will have gained greater depth and understanding in at least one of the arts disciplines (Dance, Music Theatre and/or Visual Arts) and by Grade 12, they are able to demonstrate competency in at least one. Our secondary program affords them many opportunities to develop that competency. Seventh graders at Churchill Junior High School may select a semester long Art Exploration elective, while eighth and ninth graders may select any of the five art electives: Ceramics Exploration, Introduction to Ceramics, Three Dimensional Art and Design, Intro to Digital Graphic Arts and Design, Drawing Exploration, and Drawing and Painting.
The elective program continues at East Brunswick High School, where more varied studio courses as well as Advanced Placement Art History classes are offered. The EBHS program provides opportunities for all students (regardless of skill), but also includes a rigorous sequence of classes that prepares those considering a career in art. Courses include, Photography, Storytelling Through Visual Illustration, Jewelry, Ceramics, Digital Graphic Arts and Design, Animation, Airbrush, Sculpture, Interior Design, Advanced Placement Art History, Studio Art, Studio Art II Honors, Advanced Placement Art and Design (1D & 2D), Film Appreciation, Science Fiction in the Movies, and Humanities. Workshop courses for advanced students are available in most studio areas. East Brunswick High School has been identified as a New Jersey Model School for the Arts.
Clearly, the district embraces the vision of the Visual Arts as a vital part of a complete education.