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Senior Portfolio Day gives students ‘spark’ to pursue careers in art

A student talks to her peers during senior portfolio day.

PARKER – A group of student-artists from some of Douglas County’s high schools had the opportunity to get feedback directly from art professors and professionals last Friday during Senior Portfolio Day at the PACE Center in Parker.

Art teachers from Chaparral, Legend and Douglas County high schools organized Senior Portfolio Day, to bring back an opportunity for Senior Art students to display their portfolios. Friday’s professional development day gave students an opportunity to hear directly from those in the industry about what it takes to pursue art moving forward.

A student talks to a professor during senior portfolio day.“It is about opening their eyes to possibilities and strengths within themselves as well as where they can take it in the future,” said one of the organizers, Jill Modesitt, an art teacher from Legend High School.

“It has really been an amazing experience so far,” said Chaparral High School Senior Molly Ege. “I loved the workshops we did. The second one I went to was how to make art your career. It was so inspiring for me to see people who started with an engineering degree but actually followed their passion and made art their career.”

During the sessions, set up by Modesitt, Cindy Ross of Douglas County High School and Laura Sierra of Chaparral High School,  students had the opportunity to learn how to best showcase their work and turn their passion into a living. 

A teacher talks about photography of artwork during Senior Portfolio Day.“We are learning how to take photos of our work, how to make websites for our work and how to explore different fields of design,” said Alexia Hayes, a junior at Legend High School.

Additionally, the students had the opportunity to share their work with fellow art students and guests from the community.

In fact, professors from local community colleges and other art professionals were on hand to provide students with feedback about their specific work and displays, as well as tips they can use if they decide to pursue a career in art in the future.

A student talks to a professor during senior portfolio day.“It is a chance to connect seniors with the professional community and the post-secondary education community and peer-to-peer artist interaction. I think it is a natural extension [of the work we do in the classroom]," Modesitt said. "This is what we really wish we could get all of our students to do – get them out meeting not only professors, but also professionals."

“It gives them a sense of affirmation and a little extra confirmation that what I have to say has weight and is worth listening to,” Modesitt added. "It is that little spark. That different perspective [that could inspire them to make art a career]."

The art teachers are already talking to their colleagues at the other DCSD high schools. They hope to expand the program to benefit students at all nine schools in DCSD.

An artist speaks to DCSD students during Senior Portfolio Day.

You can see the students' work, which was juried on Portfolio Day, at the Pace Center from April 19-May 8, 2017. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, April 20 from 6-8 p.m.

February 21, 2017 | By rmbarber | Category: Schools

District News

graduates standing in line outside, smiling

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Graduation rates in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) continue to climb. Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) shows the on-time, four-year graduation rate is now 90.4 percent.

DCSD students also made an impressive showing at graduation. The class of 2017 earned more than $82 million in scholarships.

DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

Five female students standing on stage smiling and laughing at the awards ceremony

The top two-percent of female athletes in Douglas County School District (DCSD) were honored at the annual Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon last week at Chaparral High School. This year represented the 30th national celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day, created to encourage and promote the participation of girls in athletics. The girls who were honored were selected by their school’s coaches, athletic directors and principals for their outstanding achievements.

Superintendent Search text based logo

Working through the recent winter break, the Douglas County School District Board of Education has kicked off its search for DCSD’s next permanent superintendent. Following a thorough vetting of potential search firms, Ray & Associates (no relation to Board Director David Ray) has been hired to conduct the national search. The cost of the firm, excluding travel expenses, is $40,000. The money will come from the school board's budget, which is used for costs such as legal expenses and conferences.