Phone: 585-325-6170


Degrees and Certifications:

1998M.S.T Art Education1990B.A. Elementary Education and Interdisciplinary Arts for Children

Mrs. Jackie Ferris

   I have been an art educator in the Rochester City School District for the past 16 years. After graduating with a Masters in Science for Teaching Art Education Degree from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1998 (MST K-12), I taught for one year in a research-based grant-funded program called Project VITAL. The program was a collaboration between the Rochester City School  District, the Memorial Art Gallery and Project Unique.  I was a Museum Educator at the Memorial Art Gallery who devised and led programming in the Gallery space as well as pushed in instruction at School #42. All curriculum was developed by museum staff, visiting artists and the classroom teachers with the goal in mind to measure the impact of arts integration on the acquisition of literacy skills for elementary students. Students received instruction from artists and Museum Educators in their classrooms which was then further enriched through Gallery programming. I also provided weekend arts instruction at the Creative Workshop at the Memorial Art Gallery and conducted educational research for the Education Department at the Gallery.
   After Project VITAL, I moved on to teach Studio Arts, Drawing & Painting, Printmaking and Crafts at East High School for twelve years. Twelve years is a long time! I made sure to seek out professional growth opportunities every few years.  During my time at East, middle school was phased back into the high school, so I volunteered to switch from 9-12 grade instruction to 7-8 grade instruction. When a progressive, arts oriented program called ArtPeace@East started up as a "school within the school", I was excited and I joined their team. I had a dual role as a Program Coordinator as well as the Art Teacher. I enjoyed the collaborative nature, the collegiality of my team and the diverse programming that we delivered to the students. Other highlights I enjoyed as an art teacher at East would include developing curriculum with colleagues that allowed students to create artwork that had strong connection to the study of art history and was subsequently installed in the school, projects that stemmed from a desire to give back to the community, and curating an exhibit of staff artwork at My Sister's Gallery in the South Wedge. I led an Art Club and a Silk Painting Club, and coordinated field trips for students to visit the Memorial Art Gallery as well as to view public sculpture throughout the City of Rochester.  And of course, I was continually stimulated by mentoring student teachers to fulfill their practicum in my classroom almost every year that I taught at East.
   The Arts came to be impacted with budget cuts and I found myself displaced from East and welcomed into other schools and programming within the District. I learned how to be an itinerant teacher between five different locations! For two days of the week, I reacquainted myself with the lively spirit and exuberance of elementary students at #43 School. The remainder of the week, I traveled to four different sites to deliver instruction to students within the Youth and Justice Program. One of my sites included the Monroe County Jail. Other sites were Project New Beginning, Watertower Academy, and Rochester Educators and Parole Officers, It was an interesting and quite frankly, sobering assignment. I would start the week engaged with the youngest of children who were eager to learn and thrilled to express themselves and grow in positive ways. I would end the week with older students who must have started with that same bright potential, yet went down a path that they were now hopeful to correct. My core belief that artistic expression has intrinsic value for all of us, no matter our stage or station in life, was further solidified.
   I am now in my second year at World of Inquiry School #58, delivering instruction to students in Kindergarten through 6th Grade. Once again, there is so much to learn! I am impressed with the Expeditionary Learning model, especially that this model is built upon the Ten Design Principles. I am thrilled that the students receive such high quality and active instruction from such a dedicated staff. It shows! The students are eager to explore and express their emotions and ideas when in the art classroom and have impressed me with their ability to articulate their thoughts and to listen to one another with mutual respect. I enjoy their energy, their spark and their innate abilities as seekers of beauty and meaning. I feel fortunate to teach in an environment with such strong parent support . I know that I will continue to grow alongside the students as we learn together and as I fine-tune my craft as an educator. I look forward to guiding them in directions that are helpful and healthful towards their creative and mental growth.