This fall Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School will welcome to campus its Class of 2020. In addition to having a futuristic name, this class will also have the opportunity to participate in a forward-thinking program that the school says is the first of its kind in the Midwest: the H-F Media, Visual & Performing Arts Academy (MVP).
“MVP will be a groundbreaking program — not only for H-F students, but also for redefining what fine arts education can look like in a public high school,” says J.R. Rose, H-F English teacher.
MVP is a two-year program where H-F students will have the opportunity to develop their talent in an art-focused field, choosing from media arts, visual arts, theatre arts or musical arts. It is designed to afford students who have an affinity for these fine arts a unique high school experience where their passion is the focal point of their education, according to Superintendent Dr. Von Mansfield.
“Students in our new academy will be allowed to focus on specific art concentrations, develop their craft through rigorous courses and create interdisciplinary experiences that are unique,” says Dr. Mansfield.
The program is built around three lenses of art study, a core group of skills shared by all of the arts: (1) performing, producing, presenting and creating; (2) reflecting, responding and analyzing; and (3) exploring history and cultural context. Two new courses will be added at H-F for the program, as well: Aesthetics & the Creative Process Across the Arts (taken junior year) and Comparative & Collaborative Arts Seminar (taken senior year as a capstone course). The program also includes a requirement for attending art events at the school each quarter, plus completing community service and project-based summer classes.
H-F’s MVP is modeled after programs at schools such as Interlochen Boarding School in Interlochen, Mich., and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). H-F students in the Class of 2020 will be invited to apply to the academy during their sophomore year. The application process will include a portfolio or performance requirement, plus letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Dr. Mansfield says he expects approximately 50 students to be accepted into MVP, but there is currently no cap on the program. Applications will be critiqued and students will be selected by a cohort of teachers from the school’s Fine Arts Department.
Teachers in the Fine Arts Department will be involved in professional development during the next few years to become more well-rounded in all four disciplines of the program. They are looking forward to seeing how the new rigors of MVP — combined with the traditional rigors of H-F — will benefit these students in college and beyond.
“H-F has a long reputation of producing excellent and outstanding musicians, actors, technicians, directors, photographers, sculptors, painters, mixed media specialists, film makers, editors and broadcasters,” says Rose. “It is inevitable that the academy will only enhance the collaborative and individual skills and professionalism of our already talented students.”