Principal Pat Tutwiler was the guest of honor at the CAPA meeting on November 29. He and Susan Memoli presented information about the new fine arts graduation requirement and took questions from CAPA members.
After several years of discussion and research, Wayland decided to make one year of fine arts education a requirement for graduation. This gives all students an opportunity to experience the arts and achieve the highest order in Bloom’s taxonomy of educational skills, to create. 46% of Massachusetts high schools (and a larger percentage of Wayland’s peer towns) have fine arts requirements.
Prior to the new requirement, about half of Wayland students took fine arts courses at some point during their four years of high school. All students will now be required to take one year (which can be split into two semester courses or satisfied by independent study) of fine arts. Because the requirement can be spread over four years, Mr. Tutwiler does not expect excessive demands on arts faculty, equipment and materials. Ms. Memoli emphasized that the music history, chorus, orchestra and band programs in particular could readily absorb more students. Visual arts classes have also increased class sizes from 12 to 15 to accommodate more students, and new classes in guitar, songwriting and improvisation have been added to appeal to students with interests outside the traditional offerings.
Some courses and extracurricular activities, while educational and creative, do not meet the fine arts requirement. These include theater productions, private music lessons, ensembles and other extracurriculars that do not include assessments, as well as the TV journalism courses.
CAPA members observed that the new requirement could mean higher staffing needs, more demand on popular classes, more requests for funding, more kids at Fine Arts awards night, and more Fine Arts jackets. Mr. Tutwiler and Mrs. Memoli observed that, “These are good problems to have” because it means more kids are excited about the arts.