Path to Graduation - An Overview

Foundation Arts Program

"Where does good art come from? What does it take to be a relevant, active participant in the culture through the arts?"

These questions and more will occupy the student the first two years. It is likely that REAL Prep students who come to our school already have an interest—ideally a passion—for the recording and entertainment arts. Students who walk in our door may have the fantasy that they will become the next great top 40 singer or rapper, guitar shredder or rock star drummer, producer or dancer. Thanks to the ease of the electronic keyboard, many young people today are becoming “beatmakers” or perfecting their “Breaking”, “Jerking” and/or “Mosh Pit” skills by watching YouTube.

However, the Foundation Program is meant to give them the deeper education that will allow them to move toward the excellence that will make them competitive in the industry, or forge a path to post-secondary school programs. The Foundations Program is designed to give students the cultural and historical knowledge of these arts, while also encouraging them to become agents of exploration and change.

We have chosen to focus on the theme of Diaspora for the Foundation Program because the contemporary recording arts industry has been built upon the beats, rhythms, dances and styles of the African, African-American and immigrant (Caribbean, Latin and Asian) experience. To truly be a wise contributor to this industry one has to know through both embodied and mental knowledge this historical context.

Years 1 & 2

The first two years of REAL encompass the Foundation Program and are organized around teacher-directed project-based-learning. We believe that students entering REAL Prep will need guidance, structure and support to learn and practice the skills that lead to independent learning.

Students will participate in discovery projects that teach project-based-learning techniques and help understand what’s expected of them in order demonstrate proficiency. The Foundation Program projects expose students to all of the Recording Arts disciplines and will develop skills that can be integrated into group and independent projects. As students become more comfortable with the expectations of REAL Prep as a learning community, structure produces trust, and students can then feel confident that the risks they take will not lead to “failure” but will be seen as part of the learning process.

Students who enter REAL as older students but have never done project-based-learning will still take the first term of Foundations. Adjustments will be made based on their transcripts to assure that core subject standards are not repeated. Because REAL is not organized by grade level, but rather is proficiency based, this is possible without affecting student self-esteem.

Apprenticeship Program

With the Apprenticeship Program, students apply their learning in the creation of their own projects, and the functioning of our Student run, professionally guided, Entertainment Company. Prior to Apprenticeship, students will have gained perspective on the world and US history.

In this program, students will focus on contemporary urban music and how dance is associated with different regions. Students will examine the lyrics of artists from those areas to understand how they represent specific ideas, values and realities. Students will have an opportunity to learn about archiving by collecting the oral histories of visiting and local artists through writing assignments, video and audio documentation. This process will also serve as a way for students to find community mentors that truly speak to them and who can help them in their personal development in a variety of ways.  They may also create opportunities for those students who are ready to enter the work place as “apprentices” or in a job shadowing capacity.

With the help of academic and arts Advisors, students will create cross-curricular, year-long projects that will cover the remaining credits and skill sets for Oregon Diploma.  This applies to 4-year REAL Prep students, as well as for credit recovery students.  These projects will be added to their growing portfolio that all REAL Prep graduates must complete for graduation.

As students demonstrate independent work habits, the Advisor works less in direct curriculum instruction and more as a guide and resource—helping students determine projects, conduct research and assure that all state standards are met. Advisors also continue to offer courses in core subjects for students who are not yet ready, or inspired to lead themselves through their diploma process.

Years 3 & 4

Creativity, innovation, collaboration, responsible decision-making and personal accountability are the guiding principles of the Apprenticeship Program.

When they complete Foundation coursework, students move into the two-year Apprenticeship Program. Here they learn under the guidance of true masters of the arts and trades, while achieving core subject standards and credits for the Oregon Diploma. Advisors continue to offer project-based classes to supplement any core areas needed for credit acquisition or recovery, as well as work with Industry Professionals to insure students received academic credit for career technical education.

The primary focus of the Apprenticeship Program is the running of the student run Entertainment Company which takes place on-site and makes use of all the facilities of REAL Prep. The REAL curriculum and community will provide constant opportunities for these skills to be learned and practiced in order to insure a successful transition to post-secondary education, the work force and adult life.

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