The educational program at the Étude High School for the Arts and Academics has two main objectives:
- Teach students the academic content necessary to successfully
- Give students the skills and opportunities to extend their knowledge to synthesize and create
The first objective is accomplished through courses that are offered at Étude. Specifics regarding what will be taught in our courses is available by reviewing course syllabi available on our website at www.sheboygan.k12.wi.us/etude or by calling 459-0950.
The second objective is accomplished through our coursework and student managed projects used to communicate academic ideas through the arts. In order to be successful at this, students need to develop thinking dispositions to look at their own and others work critically and creatively. At Étude we call this Intellectual Character. In addition, students need to develop the Life and Career Skills to be personally responsible and productive in order to put together long-term projects. The last skill we spend a great deal of time focusing our learning is on Communication Skills. Due to the fact that the arts can be an abstract way of communicating their ideas students need to develop the ability to show how they are using the different aspects of their art forms and academic content to communicate their ideas. This is done in both written and verbal forms. In addition to communicating to others, Étude students learn how to engage people in their ideas through the use of thinking routines that ask people to view artwork through their own experiences.
In addition to these skills, the educational program at Étude works on developing three “minds” or ways of thinking in our students. The first mind is the Disciplined Mind. This mind is developed by teaching students to view subjects as a discipline rather then a set of facts learned out of context. To do this, to do this students are taught the basic processes of each discipline such as the scientific method in our science courses or the create, respond and perform processes in our arts classes. Content is then taught by posing issues or problems to students in small units that allow students to apply these processes to different content in each subject matter. Overviews of this are covered during parent info meetings. Currently, the Étude staff is aligning assessments and our report card to better assess and report learning in each discipline.
The second “mind” students develop at Étude is the Synthesizing Mind. The Synthesizing Mind is the ability for students to take two or more disciplines and combine them in a meaningful manner. At Étude main method for developing this type of mind is through projects that communicate academic content through the arts.
The last “mind” students develop at Étude is the Creating Mind. The Étude High School believes that creativity is something that can be taught and fostered in students and is not something for only a few select people. Given the correct learning environment everyone can unleash their creativity and apply to art, careers and everyday life. At its essence, creativity is the ability to come up with a new idea that is based in a discipline or multiple disciplines that has value to a group of peers. At the Étude High School creative thinking skills are explicitly taught in a workshop format as well as in each discipline. In addition, students form semester cohort groups where they share their ideas for projects with one another in an environment that fosters critical and creative thought. Students in this environment learn if their ideas have merit to their peers or if they need to revise their ideas.
Below is a graph showing our view of the curriculum. Intellectual Character, Communication Skills: and Career and Life Skills provide the foundation to all learning at Étude. The three “minds” show what happens to the knowledge students learn at Étude. Knowledge learned in each discipline is synthesized with other disciplines with the aim of creating something of value.