GUSD says bravo to finalists

Two Glendale Unified teachers have been named finalists for the Music Center’s prestigious BRAVO awards, given annually to educators and schools that exemplify excellence in arts education.

Glendale High School art teacher Scarlett Lowe and Crescenta Valley High School band director Mathew Schick are among seven finalists in the arts specialist teacher category. Other categories include generalist teacher, school program and school.

All candidates will be honored at an event on March 7 at the Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Schick, who was nominated by a fellow teacher and his principal, said that the extensive review process that accompanies the award gave him an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of his teaching.

“It is just a wonderful honor,” Schick said. “It is kind of humbling and embarrassing a little bit…What is nice about [the nominating process] is it allowed me to be reflective of the program we have at CV.”

Glendale Unified is no stranger to the Music Center BRAVO awards, now in its 29th year. Glendale and Crescenta Valley high schools won the school-wide award in 2001 and 2005, respectively. Lowe, who has taught at Glendale High for 16 years, remembers the excitement of the 2001 win well.

“When we won it for the school, it was like the Academy Awards,” Lowe said. “We were all sitting there…They announced the third place, second place, first [place], so we knew we had won. Our whole department was just screaming and jumping, it was totally cool.”

To now be on the short list for an individual BRAVO award is a strong affirmation, said Lowe, who was also nominated by a colleague and her principal.

“It is so nice just to get a little reward now and then, just to say you have done a good job, or you are doing a good job,” she said.

Lowe currently is teaching commercial multimedia, which is under the umbrella of Glendale High’s Visual and Performing Arts program, where students are introduced to graphic design and animation using Photoshop, Flash, Illustrator and iMovie. The technology changes so rapidly that she said she is often learning alongside the students.

Glendale High junior and multimedia student Daniel Rosa, 17, said that the class gives him access to computers and software programs that would otherwise be out of his reach.

“It was a new introduction,” he said. “I want to be a graphic designer when I am older and this really opened my eyes to that world.”

Since enrolling in the class, Daniel said he finds himself mentally deconstructing billboards and advertisements, trying to figure out how the designers put them together.

The Glendale High Visual and Performing Arts program regularly graduates students on to some of the top art and design schools in the world, Lowe said.

“I don’t know why we have been so lucky as far as the arts go, but it is just phenomenal the amount of skills and talent that comes out of here,” she said.

FOR THE RECORD: This corrects an earlier version to clarify that honoree event is on March 7.

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