For the first time, optional summer classes are in session at Jesuit High School.
Students in the Class of 2022 were offered the opportunity to take two 2.5 hour-long courses this summer, Studio Art 1 and Computer Science, for five weeks from June 10 to July 12, for full credit. As a condition of the program, the 14 sophomores who registered were required to enroll in both courses.
"It's exciting to see the students take advantage of this great opportunity the school has created," said Kevin Ball '03, Jesuit's Fine Arts department head. "The longer classes are a benefit to the teachers and students, and the students, by taking these classes now, are creating space in their future class schedules at Jesuit, which will allow them to pursue more opportunities."
Ball is teaching Studio Art 1 in the style of a collegiate art survey course. The class serves as an introduction for the fundamentals of drawing across multiple mediums, including charcoal, colored pencil, graphite, pastel, and paint. Students are taught the principles of design behind each project and are given a live demonstration before creating an original work of their own. After completion, projects are critiqued by Ball and the other students in the course. Some pieces will go on to be displayed at the Jesuit's end-of-year Celebration of the Arts exhibition.
Computer Science, taught by Jason Ault, is designed to lead students through the foundations of computing. The course begins with explanations of basic computer operations and software and hardware components, then progressively introduces students to programming concepts, which focus primarily on user inputs for interfaces. Students will use the skills they learn from the course to code their first game using the Unity Game Engine and the C# programming language.
The longer class times of the summer courses, paired with modest class sizes, has made it possible for the course material to be covered in a shorter span. Instructors also can give students more one-on-one guidance.
"This class size is great because I can easily get around and see every student and work with them on their projects based off of what they need help with individually," Ault said. "And longer class times mean that we can cover more material in fewer days. There's much less time spent remembering where we left off the previous day and having to build up momentum again."
Completing the summer courses also gives students the possibility of scheduling a free period next school year. With Jesuit's rigorous academic program, the free period can provide study time or allow students to decompress between classes. Or students may choose to add AP courses.
In addition, the portfolio students create in Studio Art 1 is the basis for their acceptance into Studio Art Honors. Taking this course in during their sophomore year allows them to take an AP art course in both their junior and senior years, which has not been possible in the past. Successful completion of the Computer Science summer course prepares students to do well in AP Computer Science Principles.
Prior to the implementation of these on-campus summer courses, the only course-credit options available in the summer were the online classes in advanced math, which Jesuit offers through the Jesuit Schools Network's Arrupe Virtual Learning Institute.
With the initial success of Jesuit's new summer courses, Ball envisions the possible expansion.
"Hopefully we'll include more classes next year," said Ball. "I think we can certainly grow this program to include more students and explore more styles of art. Next summer will be even better. We're going to take what we learned from this first year to enhance this experience."
Please view the photo slideshow below of the Studio Art 1 and Computer Science courses in action this summer.