While some have been worried that the pandemic caused students to fall behind in school, many educators have been able to come up with some ideas to help bridge some of the gaps.
For example, USD 410 recently offered a free summer art program to students.
For the past two weeks, from June 28 through July 9, any interested middle or high school students were able to come in and take an art class from HMHS teacher Dustin Dalke.
“Since schools may have experienced a shortened schedule, funding became available to those who would cover material that may not have been covered during the school year. HMHS fell under that as we went to a hybrid schedule during a part of the 2020-2021 school year where we met with 1/2 of the students in the morning and the other half in the afternoon, repeating our schedule twice each day,” said Dalke.
Principal Clint Corby was excited to be able to offer the class.
“We had the opportunity to provide the Sculpture Academy to enhance what we offered during the year,” said Corby. “This also gives our students a chance to connect socially and emotionally with one another in areas where they have an interest.”
Dalke teaches art during the year and was more than happy to teach it during the summer as well.
“I was approached by administration, as well as other teachers, to see if we were interested in conducting a course for a small amount of time in the 2021 summer. I chose to cover a small area of sculptural techniques and materials to cover,” said Dalke.
Corby said, “Mr. Dalke does a great job of sharing his passion with his students. We had a great group of students showcase their learning. The arts are hugely important to provide another outlet for our students to experience success.”
Ten students came in each day from 9:30 until 11 a.m. They worked in person in the HMHS art room.
“There were no classes before or after mine, thus, they wanted to be there. Most days I came in a little bit early, allowing them to spend more time working on their creations. The kids also worked cohesively as a class. They were upbeat, cheerful, and glad to be together in one space,” said Dalke. “We worked with some 3-D materials in a sculptural way including cardboard construction, wire creations, plaster bandage face molds, two part plaster molds, and clay relief carving.”
The class seemed to be a big success.
“The best part about this course was the students’ willingness to be a part of it. I enjoy all of my classes throughout the year however this was a special group of kids who were willing to come in outside of the regular year to do something different,” said Dalke.
The art teacher said he would like people to know how fortunate this community is to have amazing kids.
“This class was just another example of how much we are perfectly made and how much we desire to be together to create, grow, laugh, explore, and support each other,” said Dalke.
He wasn’t sure if there would be more art classes offered but said if there was another time designated to continue, he could see working more with the same group and additional students.
Corby added, “We want to continue to offer more summer academies. We are planning to offer other subject areas next summer as well.”