Until a couple of months ago, that was the most art time the Kelly School students had in class.
On Thursday, though, 16 art seniors from West High School gave a second round of art lessons this year to eight Kelly School classes, from kindergarten to sixth grade.
Joy Cornish-Bowden’s Advanced Placement art pupils plan to make two more trips to the school in May, before they graduate.
Inspired by a parent’s plea for parent-led art projects at Kelly, Cornish-Bowden tweaked the idea and assigned her students to create art lessons for the younger children.
It’s a school-to-school partnership that shines through the budget doom and gloom that threatens to wipe out most elementary-school art in the Tracy Unified School District.
Officials plan to make up part of a $16 million budget shortfall by getting rid of extra art and physical education periods and eliminating Poet Christian School’s arts magnet program.
But West and Kelly schools’ cooperation means younger boys and girls get a rare chance to learn something new, and the older students have to think about their studies in a different way.
A district service-learning grant pays for the seniors’ bus trips to Kelly, and a Tracy Educational Excellence mini-grant covers the cost of supplies.
This week, Rene Ramos, 17, helped Boehmer’s students draw in chalk a few still-lifes she’d created with jars, antique cameras, rotary phones and fake fruit.
He hovered over one table of kids, praising their perspective in sixth-grade speak.
Ramos, who plans to study fashion marketing in the fall at the Art Institute of San Francisco, said teaching the younger students forced him to adjust the way he thought about learning art.
Boehmer said she jumped at the opportunity to host the West students, calling it a great opportunity for both groups.
Cornish-Bowden added that having her students create lesson plans and organize art supplies made her more confident with her class.
“For me, it’s a lot of letting go of control,” she said.
She said the first lesson in December proved that the exercise worked. On their way from Kelly back to West, her students beamed with pride about what they’d taught.
“The bus journey back was one of my happiest teaching moments,” she said.