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MUHS to expand humanities
Written by Greg Ruland   
Thursday, 05 May 2011 00:00

Since it opened, Mingus Union High School prepared students to enter college, but the school’s fine arts teacher wants to focus more attention on those efforts by creating a course of study in arts and humanities.

McKenzie Mabery, junior at Mingus Union High School, concentrates on her painting project in fine arts teacher Tyler Novak’s class on Monday, May 2. Novak was given the green light from the MUHS District Governing Board on April 14 to start working with other MUHS teachers in crafting a liberal arts-based curriculum for college-bound students.If approved, the new course of study could give MUHS a competitive advantage in attracting students from outside the district and encourage those who have left to return, fine arts teacher Tyler Novak said.

The Mingus Union School of Arts and Humanities would expose students to an arts and humanities-based curriculum that will allow them to analyze, synthesize and articulate academic understanding through artistic expression, Novak said.

“We want to create an educational environment where the students are taught to see how all core subjects are inherently connected to one another,” he said.

“It is through integrating different content areas together that allows students to see how different lessons they are learning within their core classes can relate to other subjects,” he said.

MUHS District Governing Board directed Novak on April 14 to start work on creating the program with the help of 12 teachers and administrators across educational disciplines, including mathematics, literature, theater, and the visual and musical arts.

“For the Mingus Arts and Humanities program to work effectively, there needs to be a core group of committed teachers and administrators dedicated to making the best program possible,” Novak said.

Several have stepped forward to participate, he said.

Guidance counselor Cindy Forsythe told Novak she would assume responsibility for scheduling those students who wish to be part of the new liberal arts curriculum, which could be introduced as early as the 2011-12 school year and fully implemented by 2013, if all goes as planned.

If approved, classes would include creative writing, humanities geometry, humanities algebra, two-dimensional design, beginning drawing, and American and world history.

“As the program is built, more course options will be added to better meet the needs of students,” Novak said.

The MUHS School of Arts and Humanities can be implemented into the general curriculum with virtually no additional cost to the district, Novak said.

“Because the courses that are being offered will be open to all MUHS students, there will be no need to hire any additional staff,” he said.

Novak also plans to apply for a variety of educational grants to infuse modern technology into the classroom.

Grants in the past paid to install seven desktop computers, LCD flat panel monitors, two laptops and one laser printer, he said.


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