Course Descriptions and Numbers

THE INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE HAS BEEN UPDATED FOR THE 2020-21 SCHOOL YEAR. PLEASE SEE THE 2019-20 VALLEY AND VALLEY SOUTHWOODS COURSE DESCRIPTION CATALOGS IF NEEDED.

Art Course Information

Each of the courses offered by the Art Department will satisfy the fine arts requirement for graduation.

Classes in orange are available for Valley Southwoods students.

Course Competency Exam Policy

Students transferring in from outside of the West Des Moines Community Schools will have to submit a portfolio, with samples of their artwork, to the instructor of the course they wish to test out of. They will also be subject to any skill/safety exams that the instructor chooses. Approval in both of these areas will allow the student to test out of the course. If the above guidelines are not met, the student will start in an entry-level art course.

Foundation-Level Courses

Introduction to Digital Graphics
ART207 or ART208 | First OR Second Semester
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Introduction to Digital Graphics is a foundation- level course, which requires no previous art experience. This course will investigate artistic skills as they are applied to the digital medium. This course will provide a foundation for further study in application-level art courses, such as Animation Applications. 

Photographic Foundations
ART105 or ART106 | First OR Second Semester
ELECTIVE ⬛9 ⬜10 ⬜11 ⬜12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Photographic Foundations is an introductory-level course and requires no previous photography experience. The course will investigate cameras and basic darkroom skills, including processing and printing black and white images. Material fee covers black and white film, darkroom chemicals, and presentation supplies. This course will provide a foundation for further study in Applications-level art courses at Valley High School. This is a one-semester course. 

Photo I: Principles of Photography
ART201 or ART202 | First OR Second Semester
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬛DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Principles of Photography is a course where students will learn the basic principles of photography. Topics will include basic camera operation, film developing, darkroom techniques, and special effects. The camera will become an instrument to explore and communicate ideas, goals, and visions effectively. This course will provide a foundation for further study in Photo II: Principles of Digital Photography. No camera required. This course must be taken for DMACC credit.

Sports Entertainment and Marketing with Video Production
PBL309 and PBL310 | Full-Year Course
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬛PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

The Sports Entertainment and Marketing course will be integrated with the Video Production course using project-based instructional strategies. Students will earn 1 credit for Sports Entertainment and Marketing and will earn 1 credit for Video Production. Please see each individual course for further course information.

Three-Dimensional Foundations
ART205 or ART206 | First OR Second Semester
ELECTIVE ⬛9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Three-Dimensional Foundations is an introductory level course and requires no previous art experience. The course will investigate ceramics, sculpture, metal skills, and art history, including wheel throwing and metal fabricating. This course will provide a foundation for further study in application-level art courses. 

Two-Dimensional Foundations
ART203 or ART 204 | First OR Second Semester
ELECTIVE ⬛9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Two-Dimensional Foundations is an introductory level course and requires no previous art experience. The course will investigate the creative process of drawing and painting skills. This course will provide a foundation for further study in application-level art courses. 

Video Production
ART303 or ART304 | First OR Second Semester
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬛DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

This class is designed for the student who would like to explore video production. Students will learn proper use of cameras, lighting, sound, and technology to create a variety of videos incorporating multiple shots and digital video clips. Students will also learn the fundamentals of video editing using professional-grade software. This course must be taken for DMACC credit.

Application-Level Courses

Ceramics Applications I
ART311 or ART312 | First OR Second Semester
Prerequisite: Three-Dimensional Foundations
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬛DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

This course is designed to build upon the ceramic skills established in Three-Dimensional Foundations.  It is a comprehensive ‘hands-on’ experience working with clay. The discovery “process” of finding one’s unique sense of touch is stressed.  Fundamental techniques demonstrated in hand-building, wheel-throwing, mold making, glazing and firing methods. Concepts in ceramic art discussed, connecting cultures, artists and contemporary objects and functional art.  

This course must be taken for DMACC credit.

Ceramics Applications II
ART411 or ART412 | First OR Second Semester
Prerequisite: Three-Dimensional Foundations and Ceramic Applications I
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬛DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

This course was designed for students who want to build upon the skills developed and learned in Three-Dimensional Foundations and Ceramics Applications I.  Personal voice and independent working practices will be explored. Advanced wheel throwing, hand building methods, slop casting, model making, glaze formulation, alternative firing methods will be explored.  Interested students may take this course multiple times to expand their ceramic skills.

This course must be taken for DMACC credit.

Digital Animation Applications
ART503 or ART504 | First OR Second Semester
Prerequisite: Introduction to Digital Graphics
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬛DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

This course was designed for students who have taken Introduction to Digital Graphics. The Digital Animation class explores and builds upon previous learned skills. Students will explore techniques using storyboards and character design. They will create a group project that will allow them to work collaboratively, much like an animation production studio.

Digital Illustration
ART209 or ART210 | First OR Second Semester
Prerequisite: Introduction to Digital Graphics
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

This one-semester course, Digital art experience, is essential to landing your dream job in the art industry.  In this course, you will take your digital skills to the next level. You will create the type of digital art used in movie design, book illustration, advertisement posters, comics/graphic novels. Learn cutting edge techniques to create digital illustrations using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator as well as other digital mediums. This is a second level Digital Illustration course with a prerequisite of Intro to Digital Graphics. Through independent working practice you will discover your unique artistic voice.

Drawing Applications
ART307 or ART308 | First OR Second Semester
Prerequisite: Two-Dimensional Foundations
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬛DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

This course is a broad approach to drawing techniques for both the beginning and the advanced student. Students will explore various methods and mediums to develop skills through form, content, and techniques. Mediums include pencil, chalk, pastel, and ink. Drawings will be done in both black and white and color. A portfolio will be developed at the end of the class. This course must be taken for DMACC credit. 

Metal Art Applications
ART313 or ART314 | First OR Second Semester
Prerequisite: Three-Dimensional Foundations
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

This course will help students develop skills and techniques needed to work with metals and various other materials. The students will explore innovative approaches to problem-solving in the creation of sculpture and/or wearable art. Areas covered will include cold construction, casting, soldering, stone setting, and coloring techniques. 

Painting Applications
ART305 or ART306 | First OR Second Semester
Prerequisite: Two-Dimensional Foundations
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬛DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

This course will provide students with an intensive study in painting techniques. Students will explore various methods and mediums to develop their skills through form, content, and technique. Mediums will include watercolor, acrylic, and oil. A portfolio will be developed at the end of the class. This course must be taken for DMACC credit.

Photo II: Principles of Digital Photography (DMACC)
ART301 or ART302 | First OR Second Semester
Prerequisite: Photographic Foundations or Photo I: Principles of Photography
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬛DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬛Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Principles of Digital Photography is a course where students will learn the basic principles of digital photography. Topics will include basic camera operation, composition, metering, and computer tips and tricks, as well as shooting tips and tricks. A digital SLR camera in conjunction with the computer will become instruments to explore visual communication effectively. The training will provide the student with entry-level skills to meet current photographic industry standards. No camera is required. This course must be taken for DMACC credit.

Advanced Placement

AP Studio Art
ART501 and ART502 | Full-Year Course—Can be taken more than once.
Prerequisite: Three to four art classes. At least two of these classes (from Valley or an outside source), should be in the area they wish to study. Three classes will be accepted with teacher approval.
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬜10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Course Description Including Content Standards:  

 The AP Art and Design course framework presents an inquiry-based approach to learning about and making art and design. Students are expected to conduct an in-depth, sustained investigation of materials, processes, and ideas. The framework focuses on concepts and skills emphasized within college art and design foundations courses with the same intent: to help students become inquisitive, thoughtful artists and designers able to articulate information about their work. AP Art and Design students develop and apply skills of inquiry and investigation, practice, experimentation, revision, communication, and reflection.

This course was designed for students who would like to work independently to develop an art portfolio. Students will have the option to submit a portfolio (AP Exam) to the College Board/AP Central to possibly receive college credit from the school of their choice and receive a weighted grade through Valley. If a student does not want to take the AP Exam, their transcript will read “Accelerated Studio Art” You can take this class more than once to develop different portfolios or work to complete one portfolio.

Portfolios: 

  • AP 2-D Art and Design
  • AP 3-D Art and Design
  • AP Drawing

Each portfolio will consist of the following:

  1. Sustained Investigation: 60%—Fifteen examples of finished art pieces and process photos from your sketchbook, investigating one topic. Written reflections.
  2. Selected Works: 40%—Five of your best art pieces. Written reflections.

Other requirements in this course include:

  • Pre-AP summer sketchbook assignments (Students will meet in the spring for details.)
  • Independent art exhibit at Valley or in the community
  • Development of a digital portfolio
  • Final collaborative AP Studio Art exhibit

Taking the Advanced Placement exam is the culmination of the AP course curriculum. Those students not writing the AP exam will have the course designated “Accelerated Studio Art” on their transcript, and their grade will not be weighted. Both semesters of a yearlong course, plus writing the AP exam, are required for a weighted grade.

Each exam has a cost that will be incurred by the student.  If students are in need of financial assistance to help with the cost of AP exams, please see your assigned counselor for information.