Student working with charcoal Pivot offers an array of classes, both core and elective, in order to help students discover their passions and build on their skills and interests. Over the past few years, staff across all Pivot campuses have worked to develop courses that are not only fun for students, but also a chance to introduce them to new topics they may not have been exposed to before. Some of the newest and most popular classes established so far have been 2D Design, Effective Writing and Piano 1. These courses are all taught by talented Pivot Educational Coordinators who venture to transform their personal passions and expertise into exciting learning opportunities for their students. 

2D Design at Pivot North Bay

This year, Pivot North Bay introduced a new art course called 2D Design. During their time, students learn about the elements and principles that make up art, such as value, proportion, scale and contrast, and how to apply those principles to their work. Students also learn how to work with multiple different mediums such as Graphite, Willow Charcoal and Compressed Charcoal. 

With experience in ceramics, oil and acrylic painting, and tattooing, Educational Coordinator Travis Prendergast was the perfect Educational Coordinator to lead this course in its first year. 

“I have enjoyed the opportunity to bring the 2D Design class to life for Pivot students,” explained Travis. “Being passionate about the arts myself, it is so rewarding to watch the students engage with art and grow in their skills and passions.” 

2D Design is open to students of all skill levels and is currently the only art course offered by Pivot that can earn graduation credits. Overall, this course is a wonderful opportunity for students to be exposed to new artistic styles and materials, and broaden their ideas of what art can be. The class currently has about 20 students enrolled and they meet for two hours each week. 

English: Effective Writing at Pivot North Valley 

For the second year in a row, Pivot North Valley has offered an English course titled Effective Writing. The course, which was originally designed as a way to help students strengthen their English skills, is centered around the completion of a research paper balancing elements of both technical and free writing.

Effective Writing is open to students of all levels to practice effective communication, a necessary skill for future career and educational endeavors. While many Pivot classes are online, this course requires that the students meet in person at the North Valley campus, which adds on a social and hands-on component to the typical one-on-one, personalized attention students receive.

“Watching the students write and defend their research papers has been extremely rewarding,” remarked Sam Hart, the Educational Coordinator overseeing this course. “Many of the students’ picked issues that were important to them and took a lot of pride in defending their thesis. Being able to articulate and defend your ideas is a practical skill that will benefit these students greatly in their future.” 

The Effective Writing course not only benefits the students by fulfilling their English credits and helping them recover credits they may be deficient in, but it also helps set them up for success in whatever path they may take after graduation. The ability to write effectively will help students succeed regardless of what post-grad field they choose. Pivot is excited to continue offering this course and developing students’ English and writing skills.

This year, there are eight students enrolled, who meet twice a week for an hour. 

Piano 1 at Pivot Riverside 

This year, students at Pivot Riverside have had the opportunity to take a brand new music class, Piano 1. In the course, which meets at the Riverside campus twice a week for one hour, students learn the fundamentals of playing piano. They’re introduced to the piano keyboard and learn the basics of music theory, notation, rhythm, triads, common cords, and accompaniment techniques. 

The 15 students enrolled explore a mix of easier and more challenging songs that complement the techniques learned throughout the course. They are also encouraged to bring to class any songs they want to learn and have the opportunity to perform live for their classmates! 

Led by Educational Coordinator, Aaron Newman, this class is available to students twice a year. It will continue to be adapted as needed as the student’s skills grow and their music knowledge evolves. 

“Playing piano is my passion and it is so fulfilling to inspire students to not only play music but discover their own musical talents,” said Newman. “Many of these students would never know they had the ability or the talent to play a musical instrument without access to a piano or any kind of formal music training. It is so exciting that Pivot is able to offer this course.”

Pivot Charter School believes strongly in fostering individuality among its students and part of that is offering unique classes to help develop students’ special interests or passions. The Piano 1 class is a chance for students to have fun and enrich their experience on campus. 

Studies have shown that playing music can improve memory, improve the ability to communicate with others, improve test scores, and help students deal with stress and anxiety. In addition to the many benefits of learning music, this course exposes students to possible career paths and special interests that they otherwise may not have known or had available to them. 

“I can’t wait to see how this class and the students evolve over time,” remarked Newman. “I hope that Pivot will continue offering this course for many years to come.”