It’s a course that’s the talk in only 1% of city schools, and it’s happening at one in Pelham Parkway.
It’s Advanced Placement art, one of a few within the public school system, as art teacher Larry Minetti brags.
“We’re rockin’ and rollin’ here,” said Minetti, the lone art teacher for the Collegiate Institute for Math and Science, housed in the enormous Christopher Columbus High School campus on Astor Avenue.
Minetti, formerly of the soon-to-close Christopher Columbus High School which he taught for 17 years, couldn’t wait to start a program intended for college credit and seldom taught in schools.
“There are seven schools in this building,” said Minetti. “Five of the seven don’t have an art teacher.”
The classes are taught in a double-period setting, offering students enough time to refine the works. Minetti is tasked to dole out 24 to 29 art assignments to a class of twenty-five students as per federal guidelines.
Students have until May to complete their works, which are reviewed by the College Entrance Examination Board, a national education group that sets standards on AP courses.
“The amazing thing about this class is there’s no written test,” said Minetti. “In June, we submit a portfolio of their work. How awesome is that?”
“It’s like you being yourself” said Isaih Crews, putting the final touches on a sketch featuring four different versions of his hand. A table over, Gabby Yisrael worked on a sketch of a dancing couple near a bouquet of roses.
“With this class you get to spread your passion on the paper,” said Abeera Nadeem, 17. Minetti, an energetic teacher balancing a line between instructor and “just one of the guys,” mostly works the room, offering suggestions while praising his students work. “Wow, you really hooked that up!” Minetti told student Gabby Yisrael, working on a cartoonish figure of a cat. “Look at how she keeps fomenting the shades of dark and color.” Minetti introduced the course this school following his initial year at CIMS. “Based on what the principal saw last year in CIMS she said ‘Larry, we have some talented kids here so why not take it a step further and offer an Advanced Placement course?’” recalled Minetti. The AP course is here to stay, as Minetti sees it. At a recent open house, the AP course became a major selling point for parents picking a high school for their students.
“Would an eighth grader want to go to generalized high school that offers traditional academics,” said Minettiu. “Or would they want to go to CIMS that offers traditional, plus the opportunity to take an AP art class?”