Policies and Requirements

Students keep track of their requirements and goals on their VA folders.  Department Requirements are weighted heavily in the semester final exam grade.   

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 (6 per year for MS, 8 per year for HS)
4.  Enter outside contests, exhibitions, art auctions, or be published in print
In addition to our quarterly shows, Visual Arts students are required to enter shows, exhibitions or contests outside of school.   Students should 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. Middle school students are required to enter two shows, exhibitions or contests per year. High School students are required to enter three per year.  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.


1st Quarter                 45%  (50% product and 50% process)
2nd Quarter                45%  (50% product and 50% process)
Final Assessment      10%

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 since nothing turned in will be a zero, however, incomplete work will not be displayed in shows or included in a final critique.  Most assignments are worth 10 points each.  Longer assignments and projects are generally worth 15 – 20 points.

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 will be penalized another 10%.

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.  Use of headphones is discouraged and is allowed only with DAILY permission from the instructor.
  • Cell phones are never permitted in the classroom and will be confiscated if seen or heard during class.  First offense:  phone kept until end of day.  Second offense requires a parent conference before the phone can be returned
  • 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.
  • Students are not allowed in the Book Room or Middle Supply Room 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
  • Class projects often 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.