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Richardson West Junior High Arts & Technology Magnet

Inspiring Innovation in the

ARTS

Students enrolled in a magnet program must remain in good standing both with grades and behavior as outlined in the West Magnet Contract, which parents and students sign each year.

Communication Arts

Leading edge technologies are revolutionizing the way we process and share information.
Communication Arts is a dynamic fusion of the digital arts with the next generation of film, radio, TV and journalism.

Are you highly creative?  Have a flare for journalism?  Would you enjoy filming, creating commercials, making movies, acting or reporting live on the scene?  Want to be a DJ or radio personality?  How about producing news broadcasts for the whole school? 

 Leading edge technologies are revolutionizing the way we process and share information.  Communication Arts brings a digital fusion of the arts, film, radio, TV and journalism to the next generation.  Using the same state-of-the-art technologies as Hollywood and major broadcast stations, students produce Bronco Broadcast News (BBN), our weekly TV journal of announcements, investigative reports, educational tips and a wide spectrum of stories and topics.  This energetic approach to learning exemplifies the West ideal:  that individual, focused, unique student experiences forge the way to find purpose and passion! 

 Open to all students, the 7th grade course explores the history and art of media, while “learning-by-doing” technical and interpersonal aspects of the industry.  Eighth graders study advanced editing techniques, script writing and moving making.  They are responsible for the weekly school news.   

  • writing scripts, directing, producing; 
  • film, television, podcasts, radio, online media;  
  • audio engineering, editing, special effects; 
  • acting, performance, speech, stage presence; 
  • cinematography, camera angle, distance, depth;  
  • light and sound composition; 
  • green screen, HD cameras, special lighting for short films; 
  • full range of Apple IMAC’s professional apps, e.g., Final Cut Pro;  
  • Adobe Creative Suite, e.g., Photoshop, Premiere, and more! 
  • high-tech newsroom installation; 
  • investigation, reporting, interview techniques;  
  • ethics and journalistic integrity;  
  • collaboration with, and workflow vertically aligned with RHS Communication Arts; 
  • CTE high school credit each for successful completion of 7th and 8th grade courses, respectively.
  • Students learn with iMovie and Final Cut Pro editing software​. 
  • Students utilize on-site film studio​. 
  • Students write, direct and produce, weekly news broadcast with special features, interviews and short films (8th grade) 
  • Students generate creative film projects throughout the year 
  • Students acquire and hone public speaking and presentation skills 
  • Students receive 1 CTE high school credit upon successful completion of the 8th grade. 
  • No interview is required.
  • All students must submit the Online Jr High Choice & Magnet School App by the application deadline to be considered for assignment via the lottery for the 7th grade course.
  • We select 8th graders via a creative project and audition, as well as considering grades and behavior from 7th grade.

Picture of Hunter BrownMr. Hunter Brown
Instructor and Director of West Communication Arts
Hunter.Brown@risd.org

 

Hunter Brown is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University. Post college he scripted and created a brand new entertainment experience and show at Hersheypark in Hershey, PA. Hunter has worked in the theatre industry directing, performing, and producing. He has created promotional materials and advertisements for different entities for the past 10 years. Hunter began as a self taught creative and believes the power of technology can inspire all people.

This 2-year program will teach fundamentals of Audio and Visual Arts from inception to completion. We begin learning the history of cinema and videography and over the course of two years we will end being able to script, direct, produce and star in creative high quality short films, commercials, music videos, and more. Our eighth grade students will take their knowledge from seventh grade and begin writing, directing, producing and editing their very own weekly news show Bronco Broadcast NewsBronco Broadcast News is broadcast to every student in the school, keeping everyone in the know of all things happening here at West!

Watch the Magnet Showcase Video 2022 created by the West Communication Arts Magnet Students!

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Culinary Arts

Culinary Arts prepares students for work in the culinary and hospitality industry.

Do you like working with your hands?  Have an enthusiasm for taste?  Would you enjoy organizing, planning and creating a menu for a family meal?  How about baking cookies or deserts for your peers to sample? 

The Culinary and Hospitality industry are reshaping the way we think, feel, value and experience the food we eat.  Locality, cultivation, chemistry, preparation, nutrition and science—they all come together in the world of gastronomy.  Whether you want to be a chef in your own kitchen or you want to pursue your dream in the food industry, Culinary Arts is home for the foodie at-heart.  

Our students bring passion, creativity, ingenuity and inspiration to our two-year course work:  from reading and organizing an unfamiliar recipe to delving into both the chemistry and art of cooking, from applying the regulations in preparing a meal to be safely consumed to experimenting with techniques and seasonings to modernize a family meal.  The Culinary Arts magnet strand will bring out the leader in you and prepare you for a step ahead in RHS Culinary Arts. 

  • Acquire and utilize nutrition facts and science 
  • Develop proven cooking techniques​ 
  • Utilize and enhance seasoning & flavoring​ to invoke memories and capture culture 
  • Learn and apply culinary law​ 
  • Train-in and practice safety and sanitation​ 
  • Gain one-year high school CTE credit, and a step ahead to the RHS Culinary magnet strand after successful completion of 2-year magnet program
  • No interview is required.
  • All students must submit the Online Jr High Choice & Magnet School App by the application deadline to be considered in the lottery for the 7th grade course. 
  • Seventh graders must remain in good standing, with grades and behavior, to qualify for 8th grade.

Culinary Arts TEacher

Kittie Griffin
Instructor and Chef of West Culinary Arts
Kittie.Griffin@risd.org

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Theatre Arts

"The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life."

Oscar Wilde

Do you like to have fun while working hard?  Do you have a passion for creating characters and being in the performing arts?  Make your grand entrance onto the stage at West!  Our Theatre Arts magnet program, singular among RISD junior highs, attracts students who are highly imaginative, enjoy collaboration, and ready to work at a high-paced level. In two years of Theatre Arts classes, you will acquire the skill sets necessary to generate theatrical productions and grow as an artist. As vital members of this troupe, you will learn about every avenue in theatrefrom performing onstage, to being in all the behind-the-scenes magic! After two fantastic years at West, you will be ready to take on the industry in the RHS Theatre Arts magnet program and beyond! 

  • Character development and acting technique. 
  • Theatre and industry terminology. 
  • Voice as expression. 
  • Pantomime, improvisation. 
  • Technical theatre:  lighting, sound, props, makeup, costume, set and stage management. 
  • Musical theatre training 
  • Hands-on, minds-on theatre history lessons. 
  • Playwriting, play analysis directing. 
  • Multiple annual stage performances. 
  • Preparation with professional theatre artists. 
  • Collaboration with RHS Theatre Arts. 
  • Automatic admission into RHS Theatre Arts magnet program upon successful completion of West’s two-year Theatre Arts magnet program, along with required junior high grades, course work and behavior. 
  • 1.5 Theatre (is it 1.0 Fine Arts Credit or 1.5 Theatre?) high school credits and 0.5 Comm. Apps. credit upon successful completion of 7th and 8th grade courses.
  • At least three performances a year, musical, as well as non-musical. 
  • Students guaranteed performance time in each​. 
  • Annual magnet musical on the RHS Mainstage​ 
  • Other venues include West Auditorium and RHS Blackbox Theatre. 
  • Exposure to professional theatre performances​ 
  • High-level acting work—all students must act; no separate acting/tech in junior high. 
  • Rehearsal stage in classroom​ 
  • Interview required.
  • All students must submit the Online Jr High Choice & Magnet School App by the application deadline. 
    • Students must meet grade, behavior and STAAR passing standards.  
    • The Theatre Arts section of the application contains additional questions for students to answer.
    • Students select a date/time for their interview when completing the online application.
  • Students are selected for the 7th grade course from qualifying rubric scores from the monologue performance and interview. 
  • Seventh graders must maintain grades and good standing in behavior to be eligible for 8th Grade Theatre Arts.

Theatre Arts Teacher

Jacob Hemsath
Instructor and Director of West Theatre Arts
Jacob.Hemsath@risd.org

Mr. Hemsath is very excited to join the Richardson West Junior High crew this year. 

  • Hemsath grew up in Wylie, Texas and graduated from Ouachita Baptist University with a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theater. In college, he performed in musicals, plays, operas and multiple choirs, as well as worked behind-the- scenes as stage manager and student director.
    He has performed in multiple professional productions in and out of the DFW area. Some favorites have been Evita and Newsies with Lyric Stage, The View Upstairs and Disaster with Uptown Players, and originating the role of Oliver in Frank-N-Friend at Casa Mañana. As a Director/ Choreographer some of his favorite shows he’s worked on are an original show he co-wrote and directed and choreographed called Painting the Roses Red at Ouachita Baptist University, and Disaster, Heathers, Newsies, Matilda, Tuck Everlasting and Big Fish with North Texas Performing Arts.
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Visual Arts

“I think the artist has to be something like a whale, swimming with his mouth wide open, absorbing everything until he has what he really needs.”

Romare Bearden

Visual Arts submission of artwork for the cover of the school annual.Do you feel like you need to express yourself artistically?  Want to explore a variety of art media?  The West Visual Arts magnet program provides creative growth opportunities for RISD students to expand and deepen their visual artistic skills and knowledge.  During the two years in Visual Arts, you will explore an abundance of visual art media to build a diverse digital portfolio.  You will thrive within our supportive community of artists that values and rewards unique forms of creativity. 

  • Painting, drawing, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture and digital media; 
  • Art careers, art history and cultural connections; 
  • Industry-standard technology resources, such as Adobe Create Suite and Mac lab; 
  • Field trips to local museums, famous art collections and art industries; 
  • Guest speakers, artists within our broader community; 
  • Enhanced Studio Space; 
  • Independent art studies aligned with Pre-AP art studio curriculum; 
  • Vertically-aligned curriculum with RHS Visual Arts Magnet Programs; 
  • Upon successful completion of the magnet 7th and 8th grade course-work, earn 1.0 Pre-AP Fine Arts credit toward high school graduation requirements. 
  • Foster growth mindset environment for students who show potential to perform at exceptional accomplishment levels in the visual arts.
  • Differentiate instruction to give diverse students equitable growth opportunities.
  • Provide student connections with area art community.
  • Expect high level practice of skills and development of art knowledge.
  • Promote artistic discipline through self-evaluation and peer review of work, use of sketchbook and independent projects.

Focused Instructional Approach Diagram

  • Students build a digital portfolio, which prepares them for advancement to the RHS Arts magnet programs. 
  • Students synthesize many authentic art-world experiences, like field trips and unique events, with their own aesthetic. 
  • Students apply guided skills and techniques with specialized, industry grade materials. 
  • Students demonstrate studio habits of the mind while working as an artist! 
  • Design the Yearbook and Art Magnet T-shirt 
  • Visiting-artist guest speakers in connection with Cottonwood Arts Festival 
  • Art Phenomenon (live auction) in March, Youth Art Month 
  • Junior Visual Arts Scholastic Event Fine Arts Showcase 
  • Interview required.
  • All students must submit the Online Jr High Choice & Magnet School App by the application deadline. 
    • The Visual Arts section of the application contains additional questions for students to answer.
    • Students select a date/time for their interview when completing the online application.
    • A portfolio project is required and must be brought to the interview.
  • Students are selected for the 7th grade course from qualifying rubric scores from the assigned portfolio review and interview.
  • Seventh graders must maintain grades and good standing in behavior to be eligible for 8th Grade Theatre Arts.

Artwork by Ms. Van HamersveldVIsual arts DIRETOR

Christina Van Hamersveld 
Magnet Director for West 
Instructor and Artist for West Visual Arts
Christina.VanHamersveld@risd.org

Mrs. Van Hamersveld graduated with a BFA Visual Arts Studies from the University of North Texas.  She taught art at MST Elementary for 7 years before choosing to teach at the junior level.  Her desire to coach, collaborate, and learn more from students with higher level art skills propelled her to teach the Visual Arts Magnet.  As the Magnet director at West, she has seen the love, passion, and knowledge for magnet students grow their talents.

Artwork by Ms. FloresVisual arts NSRUCTOR

Savannah Flores
 Instructor and Artist for West Visual Arts 
Savannah.Flores@risd.org 

Note from the Teachers:  This advanced art course is designed for talented students who exhibit a high level of art knowledge, art skills, creativity and passion.  The elements of art and principles of design are discussed in detail throughout the course. Students learn the importance of keeping a sketchbook to record ideas for potential projects.  We practice critiquing and evaluating the quality artworks of inspiring artists and peers, develop a theme for an individual concentration project, and cultivate art skills using a variety of media.

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Students enrolled in a magnet program must remain in good standing both with grades and behavior as outlined in the West Magnet Contract, which parents and students sign each year.