Dear 2017 Studio to School Team,

Hello, from the future!

It’s been a few years since our official, paperwork-documented partnership has come to a close, but I want you to know that the seeds you planted are continuing to grow and prosper out in Junction City. To begin, our school has hired a full time Visual Arts Specialist to ensure art is always a priority within the walls of Oaklea. The educator is creative, collaborative, and inspiring. The studio is a world of wonder and the ideas that begin in this space spread into every classroom and impact each student. Both students and teachers are provided creative outlets thanks to this space and our on-staff Visual Arts Specialist. Such a gift!

But that is only the beginning of the in-school impact. As you recall, the Studio Habits of Mind (SHOM) were an essential tool introduced to us by Betsy. In her time here Betsy literally left her mark through the facilitation of murals that reinforced these SHOMs, developed posters to ensure the language can fit into every classroom, and educated our teachers on how to utilize these Habits of Mind into our classroom and instruction. These SHOMs have transformed our school culture. We believe that students are most successful when they are able to be creative, inquisitive, and persistent. We now focus specific SHOM concepts with each grade level, which serves as the nucleus to the “student experience atom” each year. It is what grounds us as a school and what we strive to instill as a value and skillset in each of our students.

This isn’t all that will inspire pride in your work. We now and will continue to value and grow arts integration and have earned the reputation of being an Arts-Focused School. Students, parents, community leaders, and Junction City School District community members are proud to be a part of the Oaklea community where art is a priority. On the state level, we are setting an example for how a rural public school can be a model of arts integration, an originator of creative education, and a hub of arts entrepreneurship. We’re proving that you don’t need to be a charter or private school to offer innovative learning opportunities.

Most importantly, however, we are seeing how the creativity that is planted within the walls of Oaklea is infecting the entire community of Junction City School District! Creativity is on the rise thanks to students sharing what they learn with their parents and in the community. Service is a priority for our students, and they understand that creative expression aligns perfectly with inspiring positive change. These students are the future leaders of Junction City and the impact of creativity across the community is already being seen and felt.

Well, I need to go – the 5th annual Oaklea Slam Poetry Showcase is about to take place! I don’t want to miss one second of these brilliant young writers.

Thanks again!

2020 Oaklea Middle School


This post was inspired by an interactive wall in the Oaklea Teachers Lounge (seen in the images below) and discussions with Oaklea teachers and teaching artists.