Fine and Performing Arts Certificate

“[Art] is the process by which, in imagining itself and the relation of individuals to one another and to it, a society comes to understand itself, and by understanding, discover its possibilities of growth.”

–Robert Penn Warren

The Mission of the Arts Certificate Program
The goal of Highland's Arts Certificate is to prepare students who want to pursue a deeper interest in the Arts by developing essential skills as well as an understanding that artistic expression occurs in a larger cultural context. To accomplish this, students explore the arts through introductory courses, choose advanced coursework in an area of concentration, complete an internship, and finish with a capstone project.

Students can apply for this certificate program as early as the second semester of their freshman year and as late as the second semester of their sophomore year. Exceptions can be made for students who have already fulfilled some of the basic requirements. Students may begin taking coursework as soon as they enter the Upper School. 

All certificate candidates must pursue coursework, including basic requirements and a concentration, in their desired track; complete an internship, and propose and execute a Capstone Project relating to their chosen concentration. Students wishing to combine their Capstone Project with the Senior Project and/or another certificate program must get approval from all concerned departments. Students may choose to take the Arts Capstone class in the second semester of their senior year so they have time to work on their capstone project. 

Students will choose an advisor from the Arts Committee faculty members. Students will plan the path of coursework, the internship, and the capstone project with the help of the advisor. Students and advisors will also work together to find extra-curricular activities for students to participate in as part of the learning experience. 

During the period that the basic requirements are being met, students will identify an area of interest and their idea for their capstone project. A written proposal for the choice of Capstone project, and the path to its completion, is due in November of the senior year. 

Program Components
Under the guidance of an approved advisor, students will complete each of the certificate program components outlined in the expanding boxes below. Credit requirements listed below are minimum requirements, and students may achieve more.

Basic Requirements (2 Credits)

BASIC REQUIREMENTS (2 credits)

Visual Arts Track:

  • Intro to 2D Design OR Intro to Drawing and Painting (.5 credit)
  • Ceramics I OR Beginning Sculpture (.5 Credit)
  • Creative Writing OR choice of one introductory level performing arts class (.5 credit)
  • Art History OR Social Justice (.5 credit)

Performing Arts Track:

  • Music Theory (.5 credit)
  • Beginning Guitar, Chorus, Theater Tech, OR Sound Tech I (.5 credit)
  • Creative Writing OR choice of one introductory level visual arts class (.5 credit)
  • Art History OR Social Justice (.5 credit)

Creative Writing Track:

  • Creative Writing (.5 credit)
  • Writing Theory & Pedagogy (.5 credit)
  • Choice of one introductory level visual or performing arts class (.5 credit)
  • Art History OR Social Justice (.5 credit)

 

Concentration

Intermediate/Advanced level courses in the same medium. Could include Virginia Summer Governor’s School in the Arts (visual or performing; counts as one credit)

Visual Arts examples: 

  • Path to AP level art 
  • Reaching a leadership role in Graphic Design/Yearbook 
  • Ceramics III and IV 
  • Multiple years of Intermediate Film 
  • CAD I-IV 

Performing Arts examples: 

  • Participation in 4 school productions (.5 credit each) 
  • AP Music Theory plus at least 1 more music credit 
  • Intermediate Guitar and Guitar Ensemble 
  • Jazz Ensemble and Advanced Jazz Ensemble 

Creative Writing examples: 

  • Honors English III, Honors English IV, AP English Language, and/or AP English Literature 
  • Independent study in creative writing (up to one credit but limited to one semester per year) 

Internship

Must last at least 30 hours; can be in or out of school.

Examples: 

Teaching Assistant or Studio Assistant, one semester (This will give the student more than 30 hours, but the whole semester, 60 hours, must be completed if the student wants the internship to appear on their transcript; students must submit an internship proposal if they want the internship to appear on their transcript.) 

  • Set design and creation for one school production, outside of Theater Tech course 
  • Editor for RASP 
  • Writing Center Consultant 
  • Internship outside of school in an arts field, either as part of Junior Internship or something done independently 

Complete a Capstone Project

This is a major project outside of regular coursework (work for AP classes does NOT qualify) that requires at least 60 hours to complete; a final presentation is also required. This is not an internship since it must be a self-directed project conceived of and executed by the student with guidance from the arts advisor and/or an outside expert; the student will meet regularly with the arts advisor and/or outside expert for feedback on the project. Students may use this as their Senior Project provided the student works with an outside sponsor in addition to their arts advisor and satisfies all Senior Project requirements. Students are encouraged to take the Arts Capstone class so they have time to work on their capstone project.

Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • Running a gallery exhibition by a visiting artist 
  • Creating a body of art work outside of a class 
  • Independently designing and creating a set for a production 
  • Running an arts camp or after-school project 
  • Creating an independent film with a duration of 30 minutes or more 
  • Writing an original play and then directing a performance 
  • Directing a one-act play for performance 
  • Writing and performing/directing an original musical work 
  • Preparing and performing a solo performance recital 
  • Creating portfolio of creative writing pieces 



Working in teams to solve complex, open-ended, interdisciplinary problems for which there is no single, obvious solution – this is a core skill set for thriving, leading and serving in any part of today’s career world. The SEES Certificate program offers a unique, hands-on, real-world way for students to develop the ‘Five Cs’ at the heart of Highland School’s educational philosophy (Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication, Collaboration and Leadership, and Character), and live Highland's mission into the 21st century.

Questions?
Questions? Please contact Dr. Nate Zuckerman, Director of Highland's Social Entrepreneurship & Environmental Sustainability Certificate Program at nzuckerman@highlandschool.org


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