Over the years, school budgets have become tighter and tighter, often not allotting enough financial support to the fine arts. So when the students at Railroad Canyon Elementary School learned that they were going to be able to participate in a program written to teach about 35 master artists, they were pleasantly surprised.
Over a period of three months, approximately 750 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade created more than 2,200 masterpieces representing three different artists, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. Each artist was introduced in an assembly.
Over a period of a week the students worked on worksheets learning common core concepts of the fine arts. Conversations about foreground, background, abstract, primary color, secondary color, and texture became the new normal around campus.
An army of 30 parent and community volunteers visited each classroom to help guide the students through art projects that would demonstrate the qualities of each artist they had learned about.
On May 25, the students celebrated with their families during a year-end open house.
A culmination of the artwork created through the program was the center of attention and offered for sale in a silent auction during the first annual Art Gallery Exhibition. Funds raised through the silent auction went to helping support the expansion of next year’s program.
The program, called Meet the Masters, was suggested to the school by Elisabeth Brehm, a teacher at Withrow Elementary School who had experienced success with the program.
When the Lake Elsinore Unified School District provided funds for parent involvement this year, the school chose to use the funds to fully support the idea in hopes of increasing parent involvement and bringing art back to public education, both of which are goals outlined in the Local Control Accountability Plan.
Elisabeth, along with parents at Withrow Elementary School, offered to help Railroad Canyon Elementary School parents with organization, ordering of supplies, recruitment, flyers and extended invites to see the program in action. All of that support, combined with the support of the parents, teachers, administrators, community and front office staff helped to make the program successful and allow the expansion to four artists next year.
The program implemented at Railroad Canyon Elementary School demonstrates how kids benefit when teachers, parents and the school district all work together, even when the teachers and parents attend different schools.