Communication Arts at Norfolk Collegiate    

 From graphic design to free expression in the press—the Communication Arts program at Norfolk Collegiate School offers students a range of options for their interests.

"The department is a collaborative, interdisciplinary cross-section of our arts and academic programs," said Charlene Loope, director of communication arts, who works to incorporate instructors from many areas of the school, including English and graphic arts, into the program.

The field of communication arts has experienced a groundswell in the nation’s colleges, and the area of study has taken on a life of its own at NCS.

"To say that we’ve experienced momentum over the past few years is an understatement," said Scott Kennedy, headmaster. Over the past seven years the school has steadily increased investment in the depth and breadth of courses, which continue to marry the traditional communication arts with new technology. The investment in the program will continue with the addition of a communication arts suite planned for the new NCS Center for the Arts.

"The Center for the Arts is a reflection of the times we live in," said Kennedy. "As it becomes harder to delineate where technology ends and the arts begin, we continue to invest in technology and program enhancements that meet the current demand and interest while preparing the next generation of digital communicators."

At NCS, the Communication Arts Program includes three key student publications:

  • The Oak Leaf: The fastest-growing area of NCS’s Communication Arts Program, journalism is now offered at three levels in the upper school. While enrolled in these classes, students identify and report news, write articles of all ranges, learn the use of Associated Press style and complete the design and layout of the school newspaper The Oak Leaf. Students are eager to be a part of the school newspaper so much, that many have signed up to be club members – meaning they serve as newspaper contributors but are not in the journalism class. Not only are they writing for the paper, which was established in 1960, but students are also taking the paper "live" by incorporating audio, video, blogs and interactive news. The five-issue per school year paper is also available electronically via Oak Leaf.

  • Horizons: The school’s literary magazine Horizons has won national awards for its content and design. Students work on the entire magazine, creating everything from the cover image to the literary works housed inside its pages. "The magazine is not a collection or work, but a literary journey starting with the cover art," said Judy Davis, English department chair and faculty sponsor of both Horizons and The Oak Leaf.

  • The Yearbook: Students use The Acorn as a starting point for learning design software, such as Photoshop and InDesign. They work throughout the year to learn design theory and photographic techniques to create the final piece.

Design & Production

The communication arts also encompass digital learning, incorporating website design, graphics and video production using the latest versions of software in our labs.

"Once the mechanics of the software have been mastered, we work on projects that stretch the students’ talents and abilities. These projects include exercises in skills enhancement and creativity," said Mark McElhaney, middle and upper school communication arts teacher.

By merging strong traditional communication studies with digital formats, the Communication Arts Program exemplifies how technology integration encourages and supports communication both inside and beyond the walls of the classroom.