Art Program

During the summer of 2010, two local artists approached Donaldson in a quest to bring art into Hamilton County Schools. The Leadership Team immediately saw this opportunity as a way to not only enhance student learning but support current curriculum and our Expeditionary Learning reform. As an inner city school, we also saw this as an opportunity to expose our students to instruction in the arts, a luxury that few would ever experience.

art with me             

An art class was implemented during the 2010-2011 school year for all third grade students. Students at other grade levels were offered an art class once each quarter. This limited plan was based on the funds available for implementation. Our artists soon discovered that even at third grade, our students’ limited knowledge stretched beyond the color wheel and to the basic use of scissors and other utensils used to create art. The curriculum was revamped to address the needs of the students while still providing exposure and instruction to the art standards.

We also continued a Saturday program, Art with Dad. This program was created with the hope of involving more male role models in the lives of our students while exposing our students and families to art. One Saturday each month, a local artist is invited to campus to lead students and adults in an art lesson. Each participate create a piece of art to take home as well as one that is used to create a group project which is displayed in our building. At the conception of the program, our attendance was less than 10 students and family members. Last year our attendance more than doubled. During the 2010-2011 school year, we welcomed over 30 students and family members each Saturday. This program has grown to involve male and female family and community members. The art created on these Saturday events has created displays of beautiful art throughout our camps.

During the 2011-2012 school year, we expanded our art program to support our focus on project-based learning by facilitating collaboration between our art teachers and classroom teachers. Our art teachers continued to revamp their curriculum to support classrooms’ units of studies as well as common core standards that require more rigorous tasks and thinking by students. We continued our Saturday Art with Dad program and continued to see an increase in attendance by all family members.

The 2012 - 2013 school year our art program continued to grow. We changed the name of our Saturday Art Program to Art with Me and experienced our biggest crowd ever in December 2012 with over 200 people in attendance. Our campus and students reflect a school that embraces art and it is now an area of pride for our students and staff. 

During the next 2 school years, our art endeavors made a phenomenal impact on the on the growth of our students.  Art With Me became a huge success and caught the eye (and ear) of a local legend. 

During the 2016 - 2017 academic year, Usher Raymond, heard that we were in need of an art teacher.  He, along with a partnership with State Farm, partnered with the Community Foundation and supplied us with art supplies, music supplies and a full time art teacher.  This has enabled us to provide ALL of our students an art class each week.  We have also been able to provide more music equipment in our music room.  Art With Me has become a program that not only our students and families look forward to, but our staff and community as well.  Thank you Usher and State Farm!

Art is used to document student learning. It is a tool to teach persistence and self-discipline. Through art, our students learn about and appreciate other cultures and diverse artistic styles. We have used art as a vehicle to promote community involvement. Art with Dad brought in the community, as did events such as local student art contests and a Donaldson Art Showing at a local coffee shop. These not only allowed us to connect with the community but allowed our students to gain confidence and positive exposure through their works of art.

At Donaldson, the physical space of the school reflects and supports the learning environment. When people enter the school, they are immediately aware that they are in a place that celebrates learning. The walls are filled with high-quality student work showcased in common spaces and classrooms. Student art is displayed in a way that gives the school a museum quality that inspires student and community pride.

By providing an outlet for creativity as well as supporting our curriculum and instruction, art at Donaldson encourages students to explore their creative sides while strengthening core teachings vital to lifelong success. It is our vision to continue to promote the visual arts to support learning and educating the whole child, while also involving the community in our journey to excellence.

On behalf of the students, families, and staff of Calvin Donaldson Academy I would like to say thank you for supporting our school. Your support has allowed us to transition a school into a place that celebrates high levels of learning and educational success.

- CDESA Staff 

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