SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Union Catholic’s Art program is an example of how well-developed courses, rigorous coursework, relevant projects, and a knowledgeable educator lead to incredible student success.

Mrs. Schroppe, the art teacher at Union Catholic and the founder and moderator of UC’s National Art Honor Society, is a graduate of the Union Catholic Class of 1993. Mrs. Schroppe went on to receive her BA from William Paterson University and had a career as a designer before transitioning into education, a choice that led her back into the halls of UC.

“My immediate career title out of college was as a graphic designer in the fashion industry for Pivot Rules and Bluefly.com,” said Mrs. Schroppe. “I also worked as a senior designer in the publishing industry for Houghton Mifflin and a private design studio. The last position I held before becoming the art teacher at UC was senior designer of men’s swimwear, prints, headwear, and bottoms for Nautica. I resigned from my NYC design career in 2009 and have never looked back. I will be entering my twelfth year at UC this fall and absolutely love watching my students tap into their gifts and talents in the studio. There’s nothing more rewarding than collaborating with students and witnessing their self discovery.”

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Mrs. Schroppe teaches five courses within the Union Catholic Art program: Intro to Visual Art, Visual Art, Studio Art, Graphic Design, and Advanced Placement Art History.

In Intro to Visual Art, the focus is on studying the elements (line, shape, form, color, value, texture, and space) and principles (balance, movement, rhythm, contrast, emphasis, pattern, and unity). In Visual Art, students experiment with two-dimensional media, such as drawing, paint, print, oil pastel, and mixed media. “Visual Art students experiment with abstraction through the use of oil pastel and the grid method,” said Mrs. Schroppe. “Oil pastel is not for the perfectionist and requires risk-taking. Therefore, it’s fun watching the students navigate the medium, especially because they end up loving it by the end.”

Studio Art is for advanced art students seeking to push the boundaries of their creativity, and Graphic Design is for students who intend to focus on print media, such as brochures, packaging, promotional materials, logo creation, and corporate identity materials. “Graphic Design students always feel rewarded by designing and creating actual print material used by Union Catholic,” said Mrs. Schroppe. “They have designed and created prayer cards, marketing material, classroom posters, and email blast visual messages.”

AP Art History gives students a comprehensive knowledge of architecture, sculpture, painting, and other art forms within diverse historical and cultural contexts.

Mrs. Schroppe said she enjoys watching her students find meaning in their artwork based on their own unique perspectives.

“In my art courses, students are able to feel empowered in their experience as learners because I don’t have the answers and they have to research, reflect, navigate, and discover the answers for themselves,” said Mrs. Schroppe. “Each student has a different story to tell and comes equipped with a different perspective on life. It’s what I love most about teaching art. It’s not about what I want them to do or make; it’s about their own journey as an artist - exploring, problem solving, and experimenting based on their own personal needs. I send them on a journey in which they create their own destination.”

Mrs. Schroppe said she is preparing for the reopening of school by participating in professional development opportunities and working to implement new and exciting teaching strategies.

“My summer is steeped in professional development to help me move forward and prepare for September,” said Mrs. Schroppe. “I just attended a one day online workshop and learned about many exciting Google tools which will help strengthen distance learning and completed an eight week online course, “Innovate Inside the Box,” on how to empower students in their own individual journey as learners. I look forward to the ArtEd NOW Summer 2020 online conference to connect with other art educators, and I will also work through another eight week online course to learn how to prepare flexible and adaptable instruction and assessment for in-person, blended, or online learning environments.”