From Holli Richardson, Director of Fine Arts at St. Stephen's Episcopal School - Houston
Most of my thinking centers around students, the arts and education. I have never really seen ”core” classes as stand-alone subjects, yet that was how my education was. I can remember at an early age struggling with math or science and the teacher told my mom “ Don’t worry about it. She’s creative. It will never be her forte’ “. When I entered college, I still had to pass those “ don’t worry about it” classes and one of them was art history. Oh, how I dreaded the tedious detail of this class! And, there was only one professor who taught the course so no going around to find one easier. One day, he was projecting, old school, a paintings on the pull down screen in class. Click, click between slides. All I heard was a muffled voice explain the artist, when all of the sudden it clicked for me! As I began to stare more closely at the painting projected, I understood. Science was the light, spacing of the people in the painting was the math and very much like theater the frame was the proscenium. It was a defining moment for me as a learner. I began to see why these “ don’t worry about” classes were important and applied to me and my creativity. It literally changed my whole education and philosophy behind it.
Coming to St. Stephen’s Episcopal School Houston has been and continues to be the playground of arts educational integration for me. What a joyous moment when David Coe said to me in the interview, “Yes. We want our classes integrated with the arts.”. Awesome! We get to help students get that “ah ha” moment well before I did. We have worked and will continue to grow and expand with full integration. Students like me, when I was young, will get to connect the dots and learn in a way that perhaps had I learned it through a song in music class, or drawing in art, I would have really strived. I am so grateful that SSESH supports 3 different curriculums that integrate the arts so that our students can see the whole picture. I have always said…” There are 3 ways to Austin Texas. It doesn’t matter which way you travel, as long as you get there”. We all learn differently and what a blessing it is to be embraced here at St. Stephen’s.
See related article: Teachers Are Using Theater and Dance to Teach Moath and It's Working (Washington Post).