A PLACE TO GROW: AES adds art for new year

Published 12:10 am Saturday, August 6, 2016

‘We all smile in the same language’ is the message placed with the flags representing the nationalities of all of AES students.

‘We all smile in the same language’ is the message placed with the flags representing the nationalities of all of AES students.

Andalusia Elementary School teachers are excited about the new look that will greet their students when school resumes next week.

The school is entering its third year as a “leader in me” school, a student leadership program built around the popular adult book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”


In the first year, administrators and teachers worked on the leadership curriculum, reading the book and planning strategies. Last year was the first year that students participated, and teachers are excited to see what those students will remember.

As part of the program, leadership teams began looking at ways to improve their environment, and to reinforce the lessons being taught. As a result, the school now sports new murals, new pieces of collaborative art, garden areas, and formal displays of individual art.

“It is really still a work in progress,” Cathy Powell, who teaches music and art at the school, said.

greatnessShelley Smith explained that the project began with the “quote wall,” a display near the office which features a photograph of every school employee and a quote that employee chose that sums up their attitudes about life or school.

“That took at least six months, to get everyone’s input,” Smith said.

Next came larger collaborative pieces, most completed by students as part of art lessons, and framed in large wooden frames.

The teachers also collaborated with Anthony Mikel, who teaches agribusiness at AHS. His program has a design program that cuts metal, and he built them 70 metal frames for individual student artwork. Then, he and superintendent Ted Watson installed them. The idea, Powell explained, is that art work slides easily in and out, and can be secured with magnets.


The school environmental team also worked to select a palette of calming, neutral colors, and teachers who chose to do so could paint one or all of the rooms of their classrooms. Future plans include added art work to the restroom areas. Ideas being considered are super hero and hunting themes for the boys’ rooms, and more feminine choices for the girls.

Much of the art work – like a tree in the school’s popular “town hall” reinforces the seven habits, and other principles being taught in the curriculum.


Principal Alane Brunson expressed the school’s appreciation to Watson and Mikel, as well as to City of Andalusia employees who helped improve the school’s landscaping this summer.

Teachers returned to work this past week, and students will go back to school on Wed., Aug. 10.