Many people outside of education don’t think of art as a vital part of an academic curriculum, but it is an important addition for a well-rounded education. Through art, students explore subjects through a different lens and experiment with various mediums, techniques and colors to create, all while boosting skills relevant to academics and everyday life – from math and reading to problem solving, teamwork, concentration, and motivation.
“For Hill Top students, and other students as well, art gives them the chance to take a break from the typical academic structure and established expectations, “said Tanya Haller, art teacher at Hill Top Academy. “Most of our students’ academic and behavioral expectations have only one correct answer or response; with art, that pressure is removed and the students can just create.”
This year, art students at Hill Top Academy used art to solve a structural problem. A large window in a classroom overlooked the playground, which was a distraction to both students and teachers. To solve the problem, cabinets were placed in front of the window. This created another problem, the view into the window from the playground was now the back of cabinets.
The staff and students decided to paint the window in the classroom theme, superheroes. Jayden, pictured below in his Ant Man mask, helped the staff draw the superheroes, and students spent weeks painting the window and adding inspirational messages about friendship.
Another student, before transitioning back to her home district, completed a crayon art project that uses a technique of melting crayons over a canvas to create color and texture. The resulting piece captures a multitude of emotions, yet is overwhelmingly positive. She finished the painting the day before she left Hill Top Academy.
About Hill Top Academy:
There are 20 classes at Hill Top Academy. They represent several programs providing services to students in emotional support, Capital Area Peak Potential, multiple disabilities support, autistic support and the diagnostic classroom. Students come from school districts throughout Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry and Northern York counties.