NEW REQUIREMENTS TO EXPLORE ART, SONG
By Lee Cusack
Masconomet Principal Dr. Mary Jo Carabatsos, implemented a new graduation requirement, requiring 5 credits of an art class, starting with the class of 2026.
The graduation requirement was inspired by a part of Masscore, which suggests that students take a year of an art course to help prepare them for the professional world.
“I was looking around on the Department of Education website for Massachusetts and I was looking at Masco’s report card,” said Carabatsos. “I was looking under the category of the average amount of students who meet MassCore, and we were like 62%, so I spoke to the people who do the data work, and they told me the issue was art.”
Seeing the art posted in the art hallway, students may see the art department as a daunting department which requires innate skill with various methods of drawing and painting. However, the majority of the art department’s classes can be passed by beginner artists. The only exceptions to this are the Art Studio classes, which are geared towards students with an immense interest in art, who may look into it as a future career possibility.
“In terms of beginners to art, a great place to start is the drawing class. Drawing is really fundamental to most types of art so by taking this semester class, which is available for 10,11, and 12th graders, provides a solid foundation. Students that enjoy working 3-dimensionally may enjoy taking woodworking, innovative product design, ceramics or sculpture,” said art department head Stacy Mannheim. “Additionally, we have a wide variety of other semester classes to choose from, such as painting, darkroom photography, graphic design, fashion design, Architecture I and II, art history, and the Yearbook class.”
Visual art is not the only option for completing this requirement. Students can also take 5 credits of a performing art to complete the requirement. If students do not want to commit to a year of either, they can take both types of art to complete the requirement. Other arts, like creative writing or marketing, might also fit this requirement.
“The requirement is a year of the arts. This could be just visual, could be just performative, any combination of the classes will work,” said Carabatsos. “I think there’s an opportunity to explore and define what art classes are.”
Though well-intentioned, some students are surprised to hear about this change, even those unaffected by the addition.
“I feel as though students should not be required to take a year of art, because it takes away from particular classes that may not be art related that the student may be interested in,” said junior Emaline King.
To help with these negative connotations, Carabatsos, Mannheim and music department head Walter O’Keefe have been working together to come up with ideas to expand the art department and art classes to appeal to students who may not have taken art without the requirement.
“The goal is to think about what we offer and create more classes. I had the idea for a script to stage class,” said Carabatsos. “ I think that now there’s a requirement, the program can be built.”
With the day-to-day at Masco undergoing major changes, adding a new requirement may seem confusing, but as the program is built upon, it will benefit the student body by helping them find new passions and preparing them for their post-secondary education years.