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The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

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October 26, 2023

Fine Arts AP test scores rank top in state

By Kara Hallam

Staff Writer

Students put your paintbrushes and pastels down. It is time to give a round of applause to Coppell High School’s Advanced Placement Fine Arts department which recently ranked within the top 10 in the state for the number of passes on AP exams in 2013.

The AP Fine Arts department has always ranked in the top 10 since the department started tracking its progress eight years ago, but this year has been a new record for it since it was the highest the whole department had ranked together as a school. The success comes from the department’s dedication to its students and strong motivation to improve, even if it is already doing well.ap art history

“The teachers and students in the Fine Arts Department have always won awards. They have always done well but were not satisfied just with that, and this is their way of taking the next step and getting the progress they have wanted,” CHS Principal Mike Jasso said.

Jasso represented CHS at the Coppell Independent School District’s board meeting where the department was congratulated for its scores and announced its success at the end of November. All the AP CHS teachers met and reviewed the school’s success in a Powerpoint presentation.

The Fine Arts Department is determined to do better and put in an incredible amount of effort with their students. Students raved about teacher Monica Winters who puts in extra time once a week after school to prepare her AP Art History students for the exam. It is instances like these that really show how the teachers in the department put in the extra mile to earn them the top spots in the state.

“In AP Art History, there are 2,000 pieces of artwork to cover, and Mrs. Winters covered it well. You could tell she was putting in a lot of effort to make sure we scored well on the AP exam,” junior Lindsey Maeshima said.

Maeshima took the AP exam last year and was one of the many passes that put CHS’s AP Art History classes in the third best number of passes in the state. Although it is clear there is an extraordinary effort on the department’s part to get students to succeed,  CHS’s other AP Art History teacher Ann Clark claims it also has a lot to do with the type of students in AP Art History.

“It’s not so much what Mrs. Winters and I do – it’s what the students do. We’re fortunate to attract hardworking young people who are curious and have a desire to learn. Many students who have little knowledge of or interest in art feel empowered once they understand its role in our world’s history,” Clark said.

Clark recognizes AP Art History is one of the harder AP courses given the amount of content it must cover. Students who take AP Art History are the ones who do not waiver from the number of works to study and know this before going into the course. Because of this, it is some of the most diligent students who end up in this course.

“Students who choose the art history journey are usually willing to handle the rigors involved in the course,” Clark said.

Fine Arts department chair and visual lead Tamera Westervelt looks towards the future for the department’s students.

“Our goal is to have at least five percent more students take the exams and pass. All AP Fine Arts courses have the enrollment to make this happen.The goal is passing scores, as these are truly college level classes covering college level material, “ Westervelt said.

Westervelt also teaches Studio Art, a class which has had a 100 percent passing rate since they started keeping track of their progress. She attributes the department’s success to the high expectations placed on the students in the Fine Arts courses.

In her Studio Art class, she works with students one on one and encourages student voice in their work. She tries to help them identify their artistic strengths and personal interests and pairs those two items together. Her art students spend hours outside of class working on the portfolio exam as they submit 24 works per year.

“My advice to students is to listen to the advice of these really strong teachers, they know what they are doing and our scores prove that, so they should dedicate the time necessary to do well,” Westervelt said.

She also poses some advice for her fellow AP Fine arts teachers as well.

“My advice to our Fine Arts teachers is to continue to encourage student to take the exams.  They prepare them well and students should feel confident they will pass the exam if they take it, “ Westervelt said.

Everyone agrees whether teachers, students or the principal, it is simply because of this effort why they do so well on AP Exams.

“We really, really care about our students. It’s not just a job for us,it’s our passion. We expect a lot from them – more than they think they can deliver. But when success comes for them, it’s a joy for us as educators to see their happiness,” Clark said.

Rankings:

Comprehensive AP Fine Arts #3

Comprehensive AP Student Art Program #8

#3 AP Art History

#9 AP music theory

#9 AP studio Art 2D design

 

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