Core Courses
The core courses are all year-long courses.

9th Grade:

  • Introduction to Visual Art - Students are introduced to the fundamentals of digital drawing and painting using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. They learn the basic tools and functions of the applications and are encouraged to create, design and explore a wide variety of media and processes to create images. Course content and projects include computer instruction in, and production of 2-D graphic and package design. Students utilize scanned and digitally designed images, as well as their newly acquired understanding of color output as tools for transforming two-dimensional surface design into three-dimensional displays. Students also look into the foundation of web publishing skills using Adobe Dreamweaver. Web skills developed include creating a page with images including animated gifs and multiple rollover images, hyperlinks, and uploading a website using file transfer protocol. Basic CSS concepts are also covered.
    ---
    The course is taught in a format where students can share ideas openly with each other as well as the teacher, in order to promote and develop critical thinking skills they can continue to develop throughout their time at BCA.
  • Graphic Communication I - Introduces students to Graphic Communications. Studies includes a brief historical overview beginning with the development of movable type. Students will develop skills using pen and ink and the and will be able to identify line art. Graphic arts vocabulary and the identification of popular printing substrates will be stressed throughout the course. They will explore offset lithography technology and produce a project using this method of printing. In addition students will learn safe operation various binding equipment as needed to complete their grprojects. Other projects include but not limited to the use of computer graphic and page layout applications using Adobe InDesign, PhotoShop and Illustrator stressing the proper use of typography.
  • Foundations of Visual Art - This course serves as the introductory foundation course for Visual Art majors. Modeled after the conventional and highly successful post-secondary level foundation course found in most art schools, this course imparts the necessary skills for development as a competent and objective visual artist. A major focus of this course is the concentration on the Elements and Principles of Art/Design and on bringing student drawing and design skills to a more mature level. Aside from the studio activities and specific design and intensive drawing skills taught in this course, students are required to maintain a sketchbook and a portfolio. Students are also introduced to the areas of aesthetics and critique enabling them to develop cognitive skills and a working vocabulary allowing them to analyze their art and the art of others.

10th Grade:

  • Graphic Communication II - 10th grade full year - In this course student will explore all facets of the graphic arts. Safety will be stressed in all hands on activities and equipment that will be operated. Students will produce 5 sample bound books these include case bound, perfect bound, mechanical bound side and saddle stitch books. Students will study the chemistry of ink by creating ink samples as well as mixing ink colors to industry standards using the Pantone Matching System. Other projects will be paper making from recycled materials and creating images employing Intaglio and Relief printing will be two of the printing systems explored.
  • Design & Production 1 - The objective of this course is to enable students to become familiar with the basic terms, materials, and techniques employed by visual artists, as well as to develop a foundation of the elements and principles of art and design. Topics covered mirror those covered in post-secondary institutions and are designed to prepare the student for success at that level and beyond. The course begins with color theory; students learn how color is used effectively in various scenarios and develop a project based on different color concepts. Web development including some of the latest technologies is covered, including HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and JQuery. In addition to JavaScript for the web, graphics programming using Processing is explored as a bridge to interactive design and game development. Students will also become proficient with the Adobe creative suite in preparation for certification in the popular Adobe applications. Throughout the course, students are required to demonstrate left/right brain function as it relates to artistic development. Students are expected to use their skills to create works that express a personalize view using the suggested/required methods and materials. The class meets twice a week and runs concurrently with Design & Production II.
  • Design Production II - This is one half of the sophomore-level, full year Visual Academy core class. Students will develop skills in a variety of different areas through the following project-based units:
    1. Producing a video for CSPAN's Studentcam Competition
      This task will require that students learn the entire video production process; this includes pre-production, production, and post-production. The pre-production phase will introduce students to the development of a topic, creating a treatment, researching their topic, identifying possible interview subjects, writing appropriate questions for these interviews, finding copyright free materials (photos, videos, music) for their videos, and writing the necessary voiceover and stand-up materials. Production will take them through the actual recording of their video so they will learn about proper (and safe) usage of a video camera, basic video composition procedures and terminology, and proper interview techniques. They will ultimately shoot all of the necessary interview and B-roll footage for their videos. Finally, they will learn the post-production phase which is where they will take all of their assets and edit them into a completed production. During this phase, they will learn to use our current non-linear editing package to trim clips, change the order of video segments within an editing timeline, adjust audio levels, overlay both audio and video, add transitions, add lower thirds and graphics, and add a credit roll. They will finish this project by exporting a version that can be uploaded to the CSPAN web site by the deadline during the third week in January. Students will work in teams of two to produce these videos.
    2. Shooting interviews for "The Romance Chronicles"
      This unit allows students to put the video production knowledge they acquired in the CSPAN project to more creative use while at the same time helping to support one of the most popular video projects of the entire school year. Students will work in teams of four to five to accomplish this task.
    3. Virtual Animals
      Students will be introduced to Virtual Reality (VR) through their creation of a virtual animal using the Oculus Rift VR headset along with the VR sculpting package "Medium". Students will pick an animal and then find reference photos of their animals on the Internet. They will then use these pictures to create sketches of their animals. Students will then use Medium to create their animals based on parameters that will force them to model the animals as if they were using a 3D computer program, such as Maya. Students will be given instruction in the use of Medium to create and manipulate their animals. Students will also be provided guidelines to ensure that these animals will be able to stand upright on their own. This is particularly important as the second part of this project will involve 3D printing the student creations using the district's 3D printers.
    4. Historic Shadowboxes
      In this project, students will create shadow boxes based on historical landmarks from towns in Bergen County. Students will research possible sites and propose a final choice based on the information and pictures they are able to secure. Pictures may be found on the Internet but students are encouraged to take their own pictures in order to capture the exact angle and lighting they want to use. During the course of this project, students will use advanced Photoshop techniques to create their final image for etching. They will then use advanced Illustrator techniques to create the cutting paths for their shadowbox layers. They will then receive instruction on the safe and proper use of the district's laser cutter before cutting their shadowbox layers. After this, they will learn basic woodworking skills in order to cut the wood and assembly the frames for their shadowboxes. The final phase of this project will involve painting a watercolor background for their shadowbox and then adhering this image to the back layer of their shadowbox.
    5. "End of Spring Visual Academy Fling" Gallery Production
      Students will help to design and assemble the gallery that is created to display their work during the last week of school.

11th Grade:

  • Emerging Technologies 1 – Multimedia is a theme used in many of the projects developed throughout this course. Advanced topics in web development will be examined, including animation, UX, UI patterns, responsive design, and a more in-depth look at CSS, JavaScript, and JQuery. Students will incorporate these concepts in web applications they develop. Students will be introduced to real-world situations and the applications used to create works that are aesthetic, practical and feasible for interaction or display, on screen or for print. Students will also learn the proper way to develop and prepare designs that they will cut and/or engrave on a laser cutting system. As with all of the visual arts courses, the topics covered mirror those covered in post-secondary institutions and are designed to prepare the student for success at that level and beyond. The class meets twice a week and runs concurrently with Emerging Technologies II.
  • Emerging Technologies II - This is one half of the junior-level, full year Visual Academy core class. Students will develop skills in a variety of different areas through the following project-based units:
    1. 3D Printing
      This unit will introduce students to the basics of 3D printing. Using the Virtual Animals that were produced as sophomores, students will learn how to bring their exported models into a 3D printing package, and how to scale, rotate and transform them. They will also learn about the various parameters that can affect the time it takes to print a model, the strength of the finished model, and the material costs associated with certain settings.
    2. Creating Virtual Environments with Unity
      In this unit, students will work with a variety of Virtual Reality (VR) tools to create objects and scenes that will then be imported into the game development software, Unity. The VR software they will use includes both Tiltbrush and Blocks. Once they have designed their objects in these programs, they will learn the basics of working with Unity, particularly to create virtual reality experiences. Within Unity, they will learn about scene creation, object creation and modification, creating physics, adding lighting, and maximizing the efficiency of their worlds so that users get a smooth, lag-free immersive experience.
    3. Movie Poster Trailer Production
      Working from the movie posters they made as sophomores, students will create a short trailer for their movie. This unit will allow them to review the video production principles they learned during sophomore year while applying these skills in a fun and creative manner.
    4. Shooting interviews for "The Romance Chronicles"
      This unit allows students to put the video production knowledge they acquired in sophomore year to more creative use while at the same time helping to support one of the most popular video projects of the entire school year. Students will work in teams of four to five to accomplish this task.
    5. Technology Zoo
      In this project, students will create an animal sculpture using recycled technology elements. Students will disassemble equipment that no longer functions (either brought in from home or old district equipment that has been taken out of service) and use these components to create their animal. Students will learn to use basic hand tools for the disassembly of of the recycled equipment. These include: screwdrivers (slotted and Phillips head), wrench, pliers, cutters, tin snips, and wire strippers. Students will pick an animal, find reference photos of this animal on the Internet, and then sketch a design for their animals after surveying the materials available to them. Students will then assemble the animal using a variety of tools and techniques. In addition to the basic tools mentioned above, these include epoxy, glue guns, and basic soldering. The completed animal must fit within a 1 foot cube and be capable of standing on it's own with no other support. A number of documents, including a final set of presentation slides, will be produced throughout the project to document project progress.
    6. "End of Spring Visual Academy Fling" Gallery Production
      Students will help to design and assemble the gallery that is created to display their work during the last week of school.

12th Grade:

  • Visual Art Intern – Students work in an environment that simulates the rigors of a graphic arts facility to acquire advanced skills in this area. Students focus on portfolio development and studio projects using traditional media as well as Adobe Suite software. Course content includes portfolio assessment –interview techniques – and presentation skills.

Projects
Projects are open to all grade levels. They are one-trimester courses that meet on Wednesdays. Some project classes can be taken more than once in order to continue developing concepts.

  • The Ad Agency - You will be introduced to the world of advertising, with a focus on promotion. You will learn about what it takes to start your own agency, and will work on branding, developing your own company name and logo. You will also learn about targeting different audiences and developing advertising materials for those groups. If time permits, you will also work on developing a web presence for a client and possibly work on commercial ideas.
  • Augmented Reality and Ellis Island - We will be designing an educational mobile app for visitors to use at Ellis Island. Using augmented reality, we will create a virtual experience that allows for interaction with exhibits and places on site, as well as incorporate different educational activities for schools to use. We are in need of both coders/programmers and those with an interest in developing the content aspect of the app (whether it be looking at medical examinations, culture (food, design), the science of restoration and the effects of climate change, etc). In other words, students from any academy are welcome regardless of experience.
  • Ceramics - Students are introduced to creating the three dimensional form in clay by becoming familiar with the properties, techniques, tools, terminology and form/function relationships. The exploration includes hand building, as well as firing and glazing.
  • The World of Journalism: Print & Broadcast - Students will explore the world of print journalism and broadcast journalism with opportunities to write articles for the school paper and to produce video segments of broadcast journalism.
  • Yearbook - Students in this 2 trimester project will work in teams to write, design, and construct a yearbook from scratch. In addition, to the artistic component, there will be a strong emphasis on high-level computer applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Pagemaker. In addition to completing the book itself, students will be asked to tour visitors through the publishing process.

Electives
As with Projects, electives are open to all grade levels. They are one-trimester courses, but also like projects, some electives can be taken more than once in order to continue developing concepts.

  • Introduction to Video Production - Students will be introduced to the entire Video Production process, from Pre-Production to Production right through to Post-Production. They will learn the basics of proper (and safe) camera operation and be introduced to non-linear editing through the use of Final Cut Pro 7. They will have the opportunity to work on their own segment or one of the Video Lab's existing projects.
  • Interactive Design I/II/III - Areas of work include Arduino programming, Unity game development, Maya computer animation, and Oculus development, among others. Previous completion of Interactive Design I and II is a requirement to take this course.  Level I, II, and III students can sign up for this course. 
  • Digital Imaging - This course is an introduction to make images both for Web and Printing. During this trimester, students are going to create various images using Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator. They will also create animated images using animation window in Adobe Photoshop. Units are divided into introduction to software tools and terms, Photoshop projects, and Illustrator projects.
  • Digital Photography - This Photography course is designed to teach the student how to use a camera and Adobe PhotoShop to capture, edit, manipulate and produce quality images for both print and the Internet/Multimedia. It is assumed that the student has little or no knowledge of photography. The course will help the student to become competent with a camera, both technically and composition-wise. Exercises use the cameras and image editing software to practice what was learned in theory and try different approaches to various problems. The emphasis is on digital image capture and manipulation only; there is no darkroom film processing.
  • Advanced Topics in Interactive Design - Prerequisites:  Advanced Topics in Interactive Design I & II. Advanced Topics in Interactive Design is a course for students that have taken the complete Interactive Design sequence (Interactive Design I, II, and III.) Advanced Topics affords these students the chance to do expanded research and development on existing projects or to create a new project. Projects at this level should utilize more than one technology; for example, they may use an Arduino-based device in conjunction with an experience created in Unity 3D.
  • Pre AP Studio Art – Open to students in 10th & 11th full year - This course is designed for the student considering AP Studio Art for the following year. It is a place of media exploration, i.e. charcoal, watercolor, color pencil, mixed media, and an opportunity to develop skill and technique in each. Students can bank works for their AP Studio Art portfolio form this class. It is also a testing ground for non-visual majors to validate eligibility for the extreme rigor and skill set required for AP Studio Art.
  • AP Studio Art – Open to students in 11th & 12th full year -Designed for students who are seriously interested in developing and participating in the practical experience of serious art making and/or continuing a career in the arts. This class requires significantly more time than regular studio classes and requires students to work outside the classroom as well as in it, beginning the preceding summer. For the purpose of achieving advanced standing at most colleges, the principal focus of the course content, based on the College Board requirements, is the preparation of the portfolio. Students focus on a sense of quality in their work, a concentration on a particular visual interest or problem, and a need for the breadth of experience in the formal, technical and expressive means of the artist. Highly recommended for Junior year, students are required to attend an info session in the Spring of Sophomore year for details and contract. Also available to non-visual majors with the permission of the instructor.
  • AP Art History – The AP® Art History course offers students the opportunity to explore, in depth, the history of art from ancient times to the present. The course also prepares students for the AP Art History Exam. Through readings, research, DVDs, and museum visits, students will visualize significant artworks from around the world. Writing skills will be important in the description, analysis, and comparison of these works. Students are required to keep a notebook to record class discussion on significant historical events, art periods/styles, specific artworks, and issues/themes that connect these artworks. For the most part, a chronological approach is used, with occasional references to art from different periods for comparison and contrast, as well as introducing and reinforcing ties between different eras and cultures. As an integral part of the course, images from each chapter in the text are projected for viewing, with a discussion of what is being presented. Students are expected to have pre-read the chapter, and based on prompts, be prepared to give educated feedback. Discussions include formal analysis, historical perspective, contextual analysis, and symbolic/iconographic meaning. Topics for discussion in class are included in (but not limited to what is in) the course outline below. Slide-based tests will be given that cover each unit (some units are combined on assessments), including multiple-choice questions on key images or contextual issues from the text, identification of architectural features, comparisons and contrasts, and one or two short essay questions with either a ten or thirty minute duration. The essays will require students to incorporate artworks from different periods and/or cultures, including the non-European world. Themes and topics include both context and visual analysis. There will also be a mid-term test approximately halfway through the year following the same format.
  • Paper Art - This course offers students various types of paper projects using different kinds of papers. The technique includes paper folding, pop-up, paper cutting, paper sculpture and collage. This is the course for anyone who is interested in working papers. Students can adapt in many ways to make simpler or more sophisticated artwork-using papers. Students are introduced to design concepts, aesthetics, function, technical skills and applications, and social, cultural, and historical influences on design.
  • Screen Process - This course is an introduction to basic screen printing techniques, processes and history of screen-printing. Screen-printing has commonly been used as a graphic art form for printing on a variety of substrates, but is also an important medium for artists. After an introduction to both facets of screen process printing, the commercial and the fine art (serigraphy), the student will apply stencils using cut-paper and photographic emulsion techniques. Design and creative problem solving will be integral to class projects.
  • Stagecraft - No prior building experience is required! The materials, stage vocabulary and processes of stagecraft will be studied and implemented in this course. Students will use a variety of building materials to produce scenery and props. Various building materials will be discussed and the strength of those materials will be demonstrated. Dimensional lumber sizes will be studied. Planning, reading a plan, creating a Bill of Materials and construction techniques will be emphasized. Construction and personal safety will be discussed, practiced and tested. The entire process, from conceptualization through finished scenery is covered through hands on projects. Teamwork will be stressed. Students will construct a large portion of the scenery that will be used in the performance each trimester. A tour of the lighting facilities is also a part of the course.