A Fresh New Year!

Welcome to the 2014 - 2015 School Year!

Kid President's Pep Talk to Teachers and Students!

Time to Be Awesome!

Another exciting new year is starting!

As you work hard to get your rooms ready and prepare amazing lessons for your students, I am working hard for you putting together curriculum team meetings, professional development sessions, inputting assessments, and welcoming our new teachers! We have seven (7!) new Fine Arts teachers this year and I am delighted to welcome them to Francis Howell! Join me in welcoming Dan Steiner (music, Henderson Elementary), Dawn Gano (art, Hollenbeck Middle), Kim White (choir, Hollenbeck), Matt Mueller (Band, Saeger Middle), Cori Nelson (theatre, FHC), and Angela Turigliatto (art, FHHS)! (We are still waiting to hear who will be the new theatre teacher at Hollenbeck as Kim Sulzner has moved to FH North.)

I am full of new year energy, as I am sure many of you are. It is always so thrilling to start fresh with a new group of kids, try new things, and reboot for another year of creative possibilities! I look forward to hearing about all the great things you do with your students this year!

Time to be Awesome!


Business in the Front...

2014-2015 Professional Development


This year's District Elementary Art & Music professional development will focus on artistic literacy, how common core supports these skills, and strategies for implementation. (Specifics for District PD will be sent via email - Keep a lookout!)


District Secondary Fine Arts PD will be led by Content Area Literacy leaders and will focus on argumentative writing within our specific areas. (Stay tuned and Check your email for specifics.)

District PD Dates:

August 5, 8:00 - 12:00 (in your building about the new evaluation system)

August 29, 8:00 - 12:00

September 19, 8:00 - 11:00 (building PD) & 12:00 - 3:00 (district PD)

October 10, full day (District Tech Fest)

October 31, 8:00 - 12:00

January 5, 8:00 - 11:00 (building PD) & 12:00 - 3:00 (district PD)

February 13, 8:00 - 12:00

Curriculum Revision Cycle

Curriculum Revision Cycle work for the 2014-2015 School Year

Curriculum Writing Teams have been assembled for this year and will be working on these projects:

Kindergarten Art

Kindergarten Music

Middle School Music Production & Technology

High School Introduction to Art

Advanced Placement Art History

Advanced Placement Music Theory

Teams will meet starting in September and work through out the Fall and Winter revising and updating curricula for these courses. As the projects near completion, we will be asking you for feedback and comments before seeking Board approval.

Coming in the Winter and Spring, teams will be assembled to start Step 1: Current Reality & Research for these courses:

1st grade Art

1st grade Music

Middle School Speech & Drama

High School Ceramics 1 & 2

High School Concert Band

High School Intensified Theatre

If you teach one of these courses, please be thinking about applying to join our team!

Step 3 Curriculum Professional Development will be coming throughout the year for High School Chorus and Middle School Music Production & Technology. You will receive emails with more details if you teach these courses.

As part of Step 5 Curriculum Monitoring & Implementation, I will be visiting classrooms that teach 2nd & 3rd grade Art, 2nd & 3rd grade Music, MS Art, MS Band, MS Choir, HS Drawing, HS Graphic Design, HS Symphonic Band, HS Treble Choir, HS Music Appreciation, and HS Actor's Studio.

New work will also start this year as we start integrating program evaluations as part of Step 6. This will be something entirely new for me, but I look forward to learning the process. 2nd grade Art, 2nd grade Music, MS Art, HS Drawing, HS Graphic Design, HS Symphonic Band, and HS Treble Choir will all be a part of Step 6 this year.

If you all have any questions about the Curriculum Revision process, please feel free to email or call me. It is my everyday, so something clear to me might be very confusing for others!

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...Party in the Back.

Fine Arts Social Events

I would love to organize some events again this year to bring us together solely for the purpose of enjoying each other's company and taking in some of the amazing arts opportunities here in St. Louis! If you have ideas of goings-on this upcoming year you would like to suggest, send me an email and share!


Lots to get going as we start a new year, and I want to make sure all my bases are covered. I want to be working for you, so if there is something I missed or should have on my radar, please let me know!

Have a GREAT year!


Michelle Ridlen, K - 12 Fine Arts Content Leader

I hope everyone has an amazing year! If you have any questions or need any curriculum support, I’m here for you. Please email me or give me a call. I can't wait to see and hear about all the awesome things you do with your students!