“The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic…music, dance, painting, and theater are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment.”
– William Bennett, Former US Secretary of Education

At Gilpin County Schools we believe in educating the “whole child” and that a well-rounded education provides children with the essential tools for successful futures. Beginning as early as preschool we provide enrichment programs in the arts to all students.

Visual Art Program

The Gilpin County School Visual Arts program is driven by the four Colorado State Standards for Visual Arts:

  • Observe and Learn to Comprehend
  • Envision and Critique to Reflect
  • Invent and Discover to Create
  • Relate and Connect to Transfer

At the Pre-K level, students are encouraged explore art materials, and develop their beginning abilities. In the Elementary grades 1st-5th, learning targets are tied to the state standards progress from simple to more complex in the areas of creative problem solving, skill development in drawing, painting, collage, digital art processes, ceramics, and sculpture, as well as art criticism, aesthetics, and art history.

Middle School through High School students focus on their individual artistic development and personal style
in drawing, painting, mixed media, ceramics, and sculpture, incorporating the use of art in technology throughout. The students’ artistic development is evaluated on their performance levels toward specific learning targets in the areas of creative problem solving, skill development in drawing, painting, digital art processes, composition, spatial relationships, ceramics, and sculpture, as well as art criticism, aesthetics, and art history. In the High School students can progress to the AP Art level, which involves developing a portfolio based on a personal focus in art, as well as a skill-based lessons. Throughout Middle School and High School students are challenged to expand their personal thinking about the possibilities for art in a changing world.

Open Art Studio

Open Studio is a chance for students from 3rd through 12th grade to work on individual projects in the Art Room. Students are expected to show independent effort on their projects and develop personal plans for their art productions.

 Theater Arts

Theater Arts are a universal force in the everyday life of people around the world. This force connects each new generation to those who have been before. Therefore, the Gilpin County School District Theater Arts Program involves students of all ages from the Elementary, Middle School and High School. Our annual spring theater production is worked on throughout the year as an extracurricular offering. As students collaborate to create dances, music, theatrical productions, and set design, they learn how to express themselves and how to communicate with others.


Curt Halsted

Music Program

The Music Program is based on the state performance level standards and expand on these by allowing the more advanced classes to make choices in the music selection, utilize improvisation and the addition of choreography for middle school. Students perform twice yearly in the Winter and Spring Arts Festivals.

At the Pre-K level the music program focuses on rhythms, dance, moving to rhythms and beats, and learning to sing simple melodies.

At the 1st and 2nd grades (including Montessori) we study music from around the world, the four instrumentation groups; brass, woodwind, percussion and strings, and learn to recognize different styles of music, and singing basic melodies.

In the 3rd grades we continue the study of world music, and dig deeper into the study of the four instrumentation groups; brass, woodwind, percussion and strings. Students begin reading notation and learning the staffs and basic rhythms and note values. We discuss different styles of music, and begin to sing more complex pieces of music. Recorders are introduced at this grade level, which helps to enhance reading of music notation and rhythms, and introduce harmony. For the Montessori 3rd – 5th grade class we incorporate elements from the three grade levels with certain alterations for the mix of age groups.

In the 4th grade we continue to study world music and delve further into understanding the cultural differences and similarities of the various musical styles. We also begin an advanced correlation between reading notations and playing the written music, continue to study more advanced rhythms, and begin discussing interpretations written in the music. Harmony is also discussed on a more advanced level and we begin to work with triads in the recorder sessions of the classes.

In 5th grade we begin to discuss the influence of human development around the planet – from the early migrations to the modern era where technology has created a more integrated world. We discuss how music from around the world has influenced the music students’ know today. In 5th grade we also begin to utilize rounds and harmony in our group songs, implement dynamics and interpretation at a higher level, and continue to expand on the understanding of notation. Students are given the opportunity to participate in song selection for their concert performances, which provides them with ownership over their learning. Additionally, the classics and various styles of “American Music” will be discussed.

Middle School & High School Band:

In Middle and High School band is offered as an elective. However, students study music based on the state standards for general music study for their grade level. Additionally, we implement some of the standards that are based on receiving a performance degree.

In Middle School, reading of musical notation and rhythms are a main focus, as well as interpretation, blend and musicality. Pieces that are chosen for our concerts are usually more advanced in nature and involve having the students work to a higher level of accomplishment.

In High School, advanced notation is studied as is sight reading and improvisation. This is a performance-based class. Students are often organized into subgroups for performance purposes. Many different styles of music are studied to help expand the musicians’ repertoire and understanding of musical styles and genres. Musical interpretation and styling also become an integral part of the performance at this time. Reading skills and the understanding of musical structure such as scales and key signature relationships are taken to an advanced level. Citizenship has also become part of the course as the band now performs its own separate concerts during our Winter and Spring Arts Festivals and have taken the initiative to perform these concerts not just for a grade but for charitable causes that help to benefit the members of our community.

Middle & High School Choir:

In Middle & High School Choir is offered as an elective However, students study music based on the state standards for general music study for their grade level. Additionally, we implement some of the standards that are based on receiving a performance degree.

Students focus on harmonies, rhythms, blend and interpretation. Musical notation of rhythm and meter are also studied to help give the students a more in depth understanding of the written music that they will be performing. Dance is introduced so that they may experience the standards of the performance level degree. Students are offered the opportunity to participate in song selection, providing them with ownership over their learning.

Misty Ebers

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