Virtual Pirate Ship

Drake High School Weekly Newsletter for Online Times

June 1, 2020 *** Paint our Community GREEN Edition***

In this edition:

  • Kick off for Paint the Community Green Campaign
  • Facing Racism at Drake
  • Arts at Drake for 2020-21
  • Other important announcements!

A Call for Community Action...for our community and for love. By Liz Seabury, Principal

As we kick off our PAINT THE COMMUNITY GREEN campaign today, I want to thank all of you who have hung your Drake Pirate flags, decorated your garages and stepped up and into the support and love for our graduating seniors. It means the world to me to ride my bike around and see the outpouring of GREEN in this community for this graduating class. Our campaign will continue through our graduation ceremony on June 12th at 3:00 p.m. at Drake High. We are so proud of our Class of 2020.

I can not ignore the other issue facing our nation, that of ongoing, systemic, and insidious racism. Our work at Drake with the Pacific Education Group has taught us to first keep our work around race and racism personal, local, and immediate. The uprising across our nation around police brutality against African Americans, specifically George Floyd in Minneapolis, is honest and difficult to face, again. And I am challenged with our own racism at Drake and needing to bring forward what we face in our school community to keep racism personal, local, and immediate.

During the week of March 9th, we were facing a number of racial incidents at Drake, including several swastikas found on campus and our second writing of the "n-word" on the walls in a week. The Drake Equity Team was organizing a series of CREW workshops for all our students with our SOAR team (Students Organized for Anti-Racism) and I wrote a letter. That letter was going to be read to all students on Friday morning March 13th by the teachers. And then we closed the school. I have sat on this letter. I have wondered when we could come together as a community to have this conversation about the acts of racism we are seeing at Drake now. Since the school has closed, we continue to deal with racist social media posts made by our students that have been brought to our attention. The closing of the campus did not curtail the racism we face as a community. As we face the anger across our nation, I ask us to face the hate right here.

My letter to the students is available here for you to read. It was hard to write and I find it challenging to read now, almost three months later. This has been another difficult part of closing Drake, not being able to face our ongoing issues of racism as a live community. So I ask now, in our virtual world to face this, talk about it, and make our commitment to addressing the racism in our community with the same energy we face the love of our students. We have a commitment to do better. Thank you for being willing to face all of the difficult issues as well as our joy and love.

Finals Week Schedule Information

The last week of school has traditionally been a week of final projects, presentation , and exams. This year, we will not have a finals schedule or create any additional time for large end of semester projects or tests. Rather, we have asked the teachers to consider how to have students demonstrate their learning for the semester in ways that will not require large summative exercises. We just wanted you all to know. Also, there are classes the last week of school Tuesday- Friday at the teacher's discretion.

Arts in a Virtual Age- An Update on the Arts Classes at Drake for 2020-21

The 2020-21 school year is still up in the air but we can be fairly certain that some of the time will be spent in a virtual classroom. While some of our classes have been stretched by this new learning platform, the Arts have some special challenges. Our most challenging course is Ceramics. For this reason, we are going to limit the number of Ceramics courses offered next year and offer more our our Drawing/Painting and Graphic Design courses, as they are more adaptable to online learning. To better understand how they are addressing their curriculum, please read these class overviews from our art teachers:

For our 2-D Art Classes including Draw/Paint and Graphic Design:

If we are participating in distance learning full or part-time next year, students can expect to:


  • Watch video tutorials to develop techniques and skills

  • Spend time at home working independently on their projects

  • Connect regularly with their instructor for feedback

  • Participate in virtual critiques with their classmates

Graphic Design

  • Watch video tutorials to develop techniques and skills

  • Connect regularly with their instructor for feedback

  • Participate in virtual critiques with their classmates

  • Our IT department is working hard in hopes of offering Adobe programs to students at home! This would allow students to design their projects in Illustrator, Photoshop, and inDesign at home.

For Ceramics/3-D Design:

Ceramics will continue to be a Fine Arts class. As a teacher with an undergraduate degree in 3-D Design, and a Masters in Fine Arts I have always offered a class that is much more than having fun with clay and your friends. However, fun, clay, and friends are key elements in the program. With their hands in clay in a safe environment, students learn a lot about the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design, as well as about being part of a community. How can we facilitate this if we are not in the studio?

If we are completely virtual or a hybrid of virtual and studio time

Students will:

  • work with materials, including clay.

  • upload images of finished pieces in Google Classroom or Canvass.

  • share and critique their work, with each other and the teacher, on the platform, and when possible, in the studio.

  • learn to use and discuss the Elements of Art and Principles of Design.

  • continue to use Zoom to develop the community if we are completely virtual.

The classes will evolve with the circumstances. Some of my hopes and expectations:

Students will:

  • have clay work bisqued, glazed, and fired.

  • watch demonstration videos at home.

  • learn a more sculptural approach by using a variety of materials and by incorporating more hand-building in their clay work.

For Drama:

Whether all in the same room, or through remote learning platforms (and probably a hybrid combination of some kind), Drake Drama will be powering forward exploring character, relationships, and motivation. While gaining the critical life skills of public speaking, self-confidence, working as a group, and taking risks in a safe environment, these classes will include reflection, rehearsal, and performance. And laughter. Definitely laughter. You will spend time learning/exploring/devising WHO YOU ARE, and digging in to what that even means.