A Fundamental Change

Design Fundamentals prerequisite no longer in effect for some students

Kaitlyn Yu, Staff Writer

In previous years, if a student wanted to take an advanced art class, he or she would have to take Design Fundamentals first. Now, students with the right conditions can skip this prerequisite.

“Dr. Tonya Merrigan, who is [on the Curriculum and Instruction Committee] made the proposal that we institute a new policy for incoming freshman to have the option of not being required to take Design Fundamentals if they met the requirement of taking sixth, seventh and eighth grade art in the Blue Valley district,” art teacher Mark Mosier said.

Mosier said the reason for doing this was because some believed the middle school art curriculum was equivalent to the Design Fundamentals curriculum.

“The idea was students [would] get into the art program more quickly, so [they] would have more time in their schedule to take more art classes — not just to get a fine arts credit out of the way but felt they were advanced students who would benefit from advanced study,” Mosier said.

However, Mosier said this theory didn’t end up matching up with the reality of the situation.

“[The middle school’s] expectations are not equal to high school,” Mosier said. “The students are finding, in some cases, their middle school experiences might not have been as comprehensive as they thought. They are at a disadvantage compared to students who were in Design Fundamentals.”

Sophomore Zenia Amrolia said the freshman need Design Fundamentals because it is an effective transitional class between middle school and high school art classes.

“I think a good idea would be to have a recommendation letter from their eighth grade teacher because the curriculum moves much faster,” Amrolia said. “Also, the classes are only a semester long — the teachers don’t have time to go over the basic stuff the freshmen should have learned in Design Fundamentals.”

Amrolia said if a student feels they really are advanced enough and can handle the work, then it would make sense to skip Design Fundamentals. However, in any other case, the difference between middle school and high school art can be too much.

“If they’re just taking art for an easy credit, it’s definitely a rude awakening for them,” Amrolia said. “You have to put in a lot of work — I advise them to take Design Fundamentals [to satisfy the required credit].”

Mosier said it would not benefit anybody if a student advances and realizes she or he can’t handle the class.

“I think, for most students, the beneficial path to follow is Design Fundamentals. We get to know who you are, and it allows us to work with you for a semester. It helps you prepare you for success in those other classes, more so than maybe middle school experiences do.”