Policies and Requirements

  All Visual Arts Majors are Required to:

1. Have their sketchbook and toolbox in class every day.
2.  Attend all 4 quarter exhibitions at DSA 
3.  Complete required writing assignments
4.  Enter outside contests, exhibitions, art auctions, or be published in print

Students are required to enter two shows, exhibitions or contests per year.
In addition to our quarterly shows, Visual Arts students are required to enter shows, exhibitions or contests outside of school.   Students must attempt to share their work with the world by entering contests or shows in professional venues.  You can also create work for a specific purpose or cause, using art for positive change.  This requirement also  helps students learn to follow directions (entry forms) and meet deadlines.  Outside Opportunities are posted on this web site and announced in the VA studios.  Class assignments do not count for this requirement.   Students may also find opportunities at local galleries, restaurants or on line.  Students must provide a VA teacher with appropriate documentation of shows/contests entered with a copy of the artwork, entry form, flier or invitation.  See teachers if you have a question about appropriate documentation.

Students keep track of show documentation in their VA folders.

Department Requirements are weighted heavily in the semester final exam grade.

Grading                                                                                                                 Progress grades are posted to the administration approximately every two weeks and students with a grade lower than a B in Visual Arts will meet with the counseling staff.  All grade books are continuous, meaning no quarter grades, the final class grade is recorded only at the semester.  Missing assignment notices are e-mailed to parents one time only.

55%  Product:  includes writing assignments and major projects
35%  Process:   includes weekly sketchbook assignments, homework, preparation, critiques and research                                                               10% Final Assessment:  may include a final portfolio, final project, or written reflection

These 3 grades are averaged by the percentage listed for the semester grade.  Please use the parent IC Portal to check grades on a regular basis.  Written work, homework assignments, artistic process, studio behaviors, as well as projects, are important parts of the grade.  Language skills including (writing and verbal) are emphasized as major elements in artistic success and are integrated through class discussion, reviews, essays and quizzes.   

Students will be presented with a rubric for each major assignment.    It is better to turn in incomplete work than not to turn in anything at deadlines.    Incomplete work will not be displayed in shows or included in a final critique.  

Late work 10% per school day is subtracted from the given grade.  After 10 days, work is accepted at the discretion of the instructor and may not be awarded any credit.  Late work is not accepted the last week of the quarter except in the case of excused absences.   Excused absences are allowed only 2 additional days per excused absence day to complete work.

After 3 late assignments in a semester, no additional late work will be accepted.    Projects not complete at class critique may be penalized another 10% for missing the critique.

Students are expected to understand the different between using reference pictures and plagiarism.  Using other artists’ work as your own is considered plagiarism, cheating, or collusion, and all acts of intellectual and scholastic dishonesty are violations of both district policy and school policy and will not be tolerated. Parents will be notified by the teacher and copied work will receive a zero.  Acts of plagiarism will follow the DPS discipline ladder.

Behavior Requirements

  • All art projects must be retained in the school portfolio until the end of the semester for final assessment.
  •  Many class exercises and discussions cannot be made up.   Students are expected to attend class unless “excused” under the DPS attendance policy and to arrive in class on time.  Travel and routine medical appointments should occur outside of regular school hours.  Teachers are not required to produce advance assignments for students who will miss school, but current assignments may be turned in before a planned absence.
  • Personal headphones prevent students from being part of a collaborative learning and studio environment.  Regular use of headphones is discouraged and is allowed only with DAILY permission from the instructor.
  • Cell phones should not be out or heard and will be confiscated for the remainder of the day, unless specific permission has been given by the instructor.  Daily permission is required for classroom use.      Second offense requires a parent to come in to retrieve the phone.  Third offense is referred to our Assistant Principal for discipline intervention.
  • Studio computers and printers are for VA work only.
  • Critiques are an important part of the art school process and all students must fully participate.   Be open to hearing constructive criticism of your work as well as giving same to others in your class.
  • Students are expected to be willing to step out of their comfort zone, try new techniques, be receptive to learning about all areas of art, and maintain a positive, inquisitive attitude.
  • Care for the studio space, equipment and supplies in a cooperative and responsible manner.  Clean up and replacement of tools is a group responsibility.
  • NO FOOD, except drinks with screw on tops, is permitted in VA classrooms.  Snacks must be eaten outside.
  • Students are not allowed in the middle supply rooms without teacher permission.  Ask for supplies you do not see out in the studio.
  • Stay focused for the full block-period without excessive noise or horseplay.
  • Respectful behavior toward the instructor, peers and the artwork of others is expected
  • Major class projects  require work outside of class.  Check with instructors for availability of the studio during free periods, lunch or after school.   District policy requires a teacher to be present if students are in the studio.

DSA Attendance Policy

Denver School of the Arts allows 5 excused absences per class for the 2019-2020 school year for whatever reason the family chooses without any documentation. These will be considered the first five (5) recorded absences of the 2019-2020 school year in each class.  All absences, thereafter, require documentation in order to be considered excused.

Documentation may include:

  • Medical or Ill note from respective doctor (school excuse) for which the absence occurred
  • Legal appointments notice of appointment or required appearance
  • Pre-arranged absences Form on DSA website to be completed and pre-approved
  • Pre-approved professional obligations Form on DSA website to be completed and pre-approved
  • College Visits/Auditions/Portfolio Reviews Form on DSA website to be completed and pre-approved

A parent or guardian must call the School Attendance Phone Line, 720 424 1846, for each and every day the student is absent. This number is available 24/7. Absences must be excused within 24 hours of the absence. This is the only notification, which will be accepted.

Parents are asked to leave the parent or guardian name, relationship to the student, student name (spelling the last name), date, grade, day time phone number for parent or guardian, periods to be excused and reason for absence. This will serve as notification to the teachers of the student’s absence. When the student returns to school, he/she will not need to check in with Registrar/Attendance Office if the absences(s) has/have been excused with a phone call.

Partial Day Absences                                                                                                       If a student needs to arrive late or leave school early due to an appointment or other outside obligation, a parent/guardian must come to the main office and check out the student and present a valid ID in person prior to the student leaving the building.

If the student is over 16 and driving to an appointment, a call must be made to the school attendance line 24 hours prior to the partial absence and the student must check in, or out, through the main office. If this is not done, students will be marked as having an unexcused absence. Partials for illness will be handled through the School Nurse or an Assistant Principal when the nurse is not available. The student will still need to be checked out through the front office by a parent/guardian.  Lateness due to undocumented reasons is considered a tardy and not a partial absence.

There are no excused tardies If a student arrives late to their first class period due to traffic, oversleeping, etc., the student should proceed directly to class. At the end of class, it is the student’s responsibility to speak with the respective teacher to ensure that any marking of absent is changed to a tardy.  A student that enters class after 30 minutes is considered absent from that class.

Homework requests for extended absences Students who will be on an extended absence, more than three days, from school due to illness or other approved reasons may request make-up work from the Counseling office.  The administration, will establish a due date for all makeup work aligned to the attendance policy.  Teachers are available after school on Tuesdays, and Thursdays and before school on Fridays.  Teachers are also available by appointment.

Make up work for excused absences It is the student’s responsibility to check with each teacher regarding missed work when absent. For each excused absence or school activity absence, students will be permitted two days (48 hours) to complete and submit course work unless other arrangements are made with the teacher. Teachers may decide to give equivalent work, not necessarily identical assignments, given to those students who were present in class.   District approved religious holidays are exempt from makeup work.  It is up to each teacher’s discretion whether or not an unexcused student is allowed to make up any missed work.

Students who are attending a school activity may make arrangements with teachers to turn in work before their absences.  However, this must not be required of students.  Students will be permitted two days (48 hours) to complete and submit course work unless other arrangements are made with the teacher.

Professional Obligations in the Arts Professional obligations in the arts must have prior approval.  Prior to being absent, you must obtain a pre-arranged absence contract from the Main Office and have your teachers fill out the form with all assignments and due dates noted. You must photocopy the completed form and give one copy to the Assistant Principal for office records. Absences for professional obligations cannot exceed five (5) consecutive school days or ten (10) full school days per school year.  Absences that exceed these guidelines can be appealed to the Dean of Students.

College Visits Trips to visit colleges should be scheduled during DSA’s vacation periods, where possible including Fall Break and Thanksgiving break. An excellent time for juniors to visit colleges and for seniors to schedule audition is during the state-testing week in March.  No DSA performances are scheduled during this week. When this is not possible, prior arrangements and approval from the Assistant Principal (at least three weeks) need to be secured. College auditions require an official notice from the institution stating date and time of audition and that is the only option for your audition. College visits and auditions cannot exceed five (5) consecutive school days or ten (10) full school days per school year.