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Combining Painting, Advanced Painting classes into one period results in mixed feelings

Photo by Mia Kirkorsky ’24
As demonstrated by the photo above, the syllabus’ for the two classes vary not only in subject but also intensity and depth. They do not follow the same curriculum and are two entirely separate classes within the same 4 walls.

For the fall semester of 2023, Staples combined both painting and Advanced Painting classes into the same period.

The decision was made because there were not enough people registered for each class to run independently, and the only other alternative solution would have been  to cut  one of the classes.  So, the school came to this consensus in hopes of keeping the two classes in session.

This is not the first time art classes have combined in an attempt to run classes with low enrollment. In past years, this occurred in other art classes such as silkscreen and digital media courses. 

Angela Simpson teaches the combined painting classes, which includes 10 beginners, 6 advanced students.  With such a range of student abilities completing different levels of projects simultaneously, the demands can quickly pile up.

I’m trying to give everyone an authentic and informative learning experience, but it is going to be more difficult because my time is divided between the different curricula, so the students don’t get as much attention as they deserve.

— Angela Simpson, Teacher of the Combined Classes

Advanced Painting has a new curriculum each semester, and is therefore permitted to be taken multiple times. Kaela Cohen ’25 takes the class currently, and took it previously the second semester of 2023. She feels a noticeable difference between the dynamic in the room this year.

“I definitely like the other smaller class for just Advanced Painting better because it brings a lot more attention to the advanced workers,” Cohen said.

Julian Gravelle ’26 is a beginner in Painting this semester. He is content with the situation, but understands other students’ frustration.

“It doesn’t affect me personally,” Gravelle said, “but it could be better to have two classes just so everyone’s at the same level and on the same page.”

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About the Contributor
Mia Kirkorsky ’24
Mia Kirkorsky ’24, Business Manager
Business Manager Mia Kirkorsky ’24 knows the feeling of hard work as a coxswain at Saugatuck Rowing Club and business manager at Inklings.   Kirkorsky got into journalism after taking the class freshman year. “Since I do a sport it’s nice that it’s a club but also a class,” Kirkorsky said.  Ultimately, she isn’t interested in becoming a journalist, but her time at Inklings may help her with her potential future. “I would use the knowledge I've learned from being a business manager,”  Kirkorsky said, “because I want to minor in business.”

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