In recipient,SMARTS

smARTS Program Expands Middle School Offerings

Middle School, Joanne

Joanne Tomsche, middle school art coordinator, told this month’s guest editor, Dianne Suechika, how the role of art in the middle school curriculum has been amplified with help from ICF. (Joanne and student are pictured left.)

Since its inception in 2002, the smARTS program has been widely acclaimed for its dedication to integrating the arts into the curriculum at Idyllwild School. ICF supports the smARTS program with grant funds and promotion. This year the generous support of ICF allowed for greater expansion in the middle school.

Two new Idyllwild middle school teachers worked with Joanne Tomsche, a founding artist of the smARTS program, to significantly increase the number of classes in which art has been integrated into social studies and language arts curricula.  They acknowledged the level of volunteer involvement and the depth of resources available through the smARTS program.

Starting in October, 2012, smARTS began a series of classes designed to give all middle school students confidence in basic drawing skills. Other smARTS classes have included handmade language arts journals for the 8th grade and hand-built coil pots, created to promote understanding of ancient cultures, in the 6th grade. The 7th graders designed and painted illuminated manuscript letters and gothic cathedral windows as they studied Medieval history. Classes connected to the math and science curricula were featured during the spring term.

Also during this past year, ICF funded the weekly Friday art program for Kindergarten through 5th graders, the annual art history presentation by Ken Young, purchase of consumable art supplies, and field trip transportation. The partnership between ICF and smARTS has, from the very beginning, been the foundation for the continued stability of this unique and valuable program.