Posted by Ross Valley School District on 8/30/2019 2:00:00 PM

Hidden Valley School


Hidden Valley School is a cul de sac on a cul de sac, tucked away quietly among the rolling hills of Sleepy Hollow.  If you pull in on a bright Friday morning, you will see: rows of Hawk-blue umbrellas two shades darker than the sky; tall puffs of deep red plum trees and lower puffs of mounding red-leafed shrubs; spears of purple Mexican sage; orange butterflies dipping and rising between the native plants; and Mt. Tam silhouetted in the distance.


With all these lovely shapes and colors, you may find yourself in the mood for art.  And you’re in luck!  On the wall behind the front desk in the office (where you go to sign in, as you know by now), colorful, kid-made letters spell out WELCOME TO HIDDEN VALLEY ... and it turns out Ms. D and Ms. G have the Art room ready for business.


On Fridays the art classes are taught by Ms. D.  May you watch, you ask?  “Sure!  Come in!  It’s nice to see you.  The students are about to arrive.”  The Mona Lisa waits, projected onto the white board, neat stacks of supplies fill the shelves (courtesy of the 100% awesome YES Foundation), and Ms. Horky’s class is on the way.  Score.


When the students are settled in (“Welcome!  Welcome Will, welcome Sarah ...”) Ms. D. says that today, the first day of Art, she wants to get to know everyone better.  She has made a short survey, explaining, “I don’t like to just teach the same lessons every year.  I want to teach what you guys are interested in, what inspires you, so I want to learn as much as I can about each of you before I make the lesson plan.  I’ll give you an example to show you what I mean.”  


Having already filled out her own survey,  Ms. D. tells the class about her favorite things (nature, her friends, being silly, and her cat) and her hopes for her own art practice (she is working on realism).  “And this one is a really important question,” she says: “What do you need from me?  Please tell me what you need from me to help you be the best artist you can be.”  It’s very quiet in the Art room.  Ms. D. goes on,  “I wrote down what I need from you:  Don’t be afraid.  Take chances, try your hardest, and experiment.  That’s how people get better at things — in Art and in life.”


After seats are selected (“Please choose where you would like to sit this year, then show me that you have made a good choice”) and the surveys are filled out, it’s time for the scavenger hunt.  Students work in teams or individually to answer a list of questions about their Art room.  Where are the pastels and colored pencils?  How many garbage cans do we have?  Everyone wanders from the drying racks to the collage bin, the paints to the quarter-scale skeleton to the stacks of colorful paper, figuring out what is where.


Fifty minutes fly by fast.  When it’s time for lunch the supplies are put away and chairs are pushed in.  The students head out to lunch and then a long Labor Day weekend to mark the end of summer.  Ms. D says to Ms. Horky, “Thank you for coming.  It’s so nice to have your company.”


Here at Hidden Valley, even the grown-ups are HAWKS.