Pat­ap­sco art pro­grams adapt to func­tion re­motely

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By BILL GATES bgates@ches­

With the Bal­ti­more County school sys­tem pre­par­ing to use re­mote learn­ing for the en­tire first se­mes­ter, there are still some ques­tions con­cern­ing how ex­actly its all go­ing to work that need to be an­swered.

Such as: what about stu­dents that are in the mag­net pro­grams of a Cen­ter for the Arts? Stu­dents that are graded on per­form­ing, like dancers, singers, mu­si­cians and theatre kids?

“That’s a valid ques­tion,” a spokesman for the school sys­tem said. “Two of the great­est chal­lenges for re­mote in­struc­tion are stu­dents in mag­net pro­grams and special needs stu­dents.

“A lot of peo­ple are under the as­sump­tion the school sys­tem just started fig­ur­ing things out for the fall. But long be­fore the last school year ended, there was a lot of dis­cus­sion on what the fall would look like, what sit­u­a­tion we’d be in.”

For Pat­ap­sco High and Cen­ter for the Arts, there are mag­net pro­grams in dance, lit­er­ary arts, vis­ual arts, mu­sic (in­stru­men­tal and vo­cal) and theatre.

Lit­er­ary Arts (writ­ing) and Vis­ual Arts (pho­tog­ra­phy, sculp­ture, paint­ing, draw­ing and dig­i­tal fine arts) would seem to adapt eas­ily to re­mote learn­ing

— the stu­dents mainly work on their “art” in iso­la­tion, any­way.

But dance, choir, band, theatre ... all in some re­spect some­times need stu­dents to work closely with other stu­dents.

But ... there is a plan.

“We are very ex­cited to move our mag­net classes into an on­line en­vi­ron­ment this fall,” said Pat­ap­sco prin­ci­pal Dr. Scott Ro­driguez-Hobbs. “I think this fall you will see more of our stu­dents be­ing able to per­form and prac­tice in ways that are sim­i­lar to what they would tra­di­tion­ally do in the build­ing.

“In the spring, some of our pro­grams were lim­ited by the abrupt de­par­ture from the build­ing — we had stu­dents who missed the last day be­fore clo­sure and were with­out in­stru­ments and equip­ment in the spring.”

This year, with the ad­vanced warn­ing the en­tire first se­mes­ter will be done re­motely, teach­ers were bet­ter=pre­pared and en­sured all stu­dents have the equip­ment they need to con­tinue their stud­ies, Dr. Ro­driguez-Hobbs said.

“So while our mag­net stu­dents are en­gaged in vir­tual learn­ing this year, they will con­tinue to cre­ate works of art, mu­sic, dance and plays,” Dr. Ro­driguez-Hobbs said.

For the per­for­mance-in­ten­sive pro­grams: last spring, the dance stu­dents chore­o­graph and tape their own pieces. These were then put to­gether and pre­sented as a con­cert.

“Our stu­dents were able to write and per­form their own one-man shows last spring, which is a Pat­ap­sco tra­di­tion,” Dr. Ro­driguez=Hobbs said.

These per­for­mances are avail­able for view­ing on the Pat­ap­sco YouTube page.

“Our theatre teach­ers have been work­ing all sum­mer to find plays the stu­dents can per­form us­ing Google Meets, the on­line plat­form used by BCPS.”


The Pat­ap­sco Theatre pro­gram must wait un­til the sec­ond se­mes­ter to use its Black Box Theatre, but the school is pre­par­ing pro­duc­tions that can be done re­motely for the first se­mes­ter.

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