Parents have taken an active and sometimes intensive role in ensuring the quality of art education at Longfellow Elementary School. Long known for a strong art parent program, Longfellow amped up the art program two years ago when the school was designated by the Boise School District as an international focus school. The Parent/Teacher Organization decided the time had come to hire an art teacher and buy a complete curriculum that would enhance the international curriculum and elevate the level of art instruction at the school.
In the first year of the new program, for example, students studying Australia created aboriginal-style art on glass panels which now grace the front windows of the building. Each year, students will study a country from each continent, a new one each month, which effectively expands their understanding and knowledge of world art each time a new country is introduced.
Along with visual arts, students also learn music associated with each country. For Australia, music classes created their own didgeridoos out of PVC pipe. When Kenya was the focus, students were treated to learning African drumming from an authentic group of African drummers. Students also sampled and made food from each country.
As a grand finale, at the end of the school year, Longfellow students held a community-wide fair, with all the art displayed in the gym, international games and food, an international talent show, and the performance of a school-wide musical.
The Longfellow PTO has demonstrated that arts education is definitely a priority for them. Student art was recently displayed at D.L. Evans Bank for 1st Thursday.