Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I’m currently in my second year at Fairfax Campus. In the short time I’ve been there, I feel like I’ve accomplished quite a bit, having single-handedly built the Art and Design program from the ground-up. Well, I shouldn't say “single-handedly.” I had a lot of help from our Instructional Coordinator (I.C.), Dave Oland.

To those who don’t know, an I.C. is an administrative job. It’s the job of the I.C. to get things that the school needs in order to thrive. It's essentially an advocate for the faculty of their school. Since Fairfax is the “red-headed step child” of the district, I’m quite certain that Dave’s job is a lot harder than that of other I.C.’s. He’s good at what he does and has inspired me to possibly consider pursuing a position as an Instructional Coordinator in the distant future, should I ever get burned out on the classroom. Dave’s only got ten years on me and I would probably be much older than that if I decided to do it. But then again, I love teaching Art and wonder if I could ever leave it behind. But I digress.

When I came to Fairfax in 2007, Dave was just as excited as I was. Through his smooth transactions, he was able to get me the proper equipment, software and other supplies that are needed for a graphic design program. He has believed in me enough to convince the fine people at USD 500 to give the little alternative school a chance. And it’s paid off tremendously. And I’m thankful for it.

In my time at Fairfax, I’ve encountered a lot of talent. A genuine interest in the arts is something that’s hard to come by with adolescents. The older people get, the more self conscious and disinterested they may become in this. By the time they reach the age of my students, they’ve decided they either love art or hate it. Most aren’t even encouraged by the fact that, if you do exactly what is expected of you, and try different things, it will be the easiest B you’ll ever get in your life. Keep in mind, also, that I’m dealing with a group who have been all but given up on by society and, even worse, have given up on themselves.

I could get into some of the success stories I’ve witnessed. The few who have left gang life and now shun it. But for every one of those, there’s ten students who have lost a family member to a gang shooting. But, no. That’s another post entirely.

In the past year and a half, I’ve kicked around the idea of putting together a blog that would showcase the talent of my school. I want USD 500 to realize that this horse that they bet on—the one named “Fairfax”—has been worth their gamble. And, what better time to do it than right now where the economy is at a record low, and cutbacks are happening in all jobs. Especially teaching jobs. Especially at USD 500.

So here it is. I call it Fairfax Campus Art + Design. Please come by and have a look around every week or so. There will always be awesome work on display.


Anonymous 'saw said...

Nice work. Your devotion to these kids is inspiring and does not go unnoticed, by us (your blog readers) and, I'm sure, by your colleagues - and especially the kids themselves. I'll add it to my Favorites menu and be sure to check it out on a regular basis.

29 January, 2009  
Blogger Fairfax Campus Art + Design said...

Thank you, Jeff. I appreciate that.

29 January, 2009  
Anonymous Mom said...

We'd love to come by & tour your campus in person one of these days. We're proud of you, Mark!

Mom & Dad

30 January, 2009  

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