The new 2020-21 Immersion Program, which rolled out in the fall as a complement to this year's hybrid schedule, provides cross-curricular experiences in the core academic classes of all grades. Inspired by Falmouth Academy's signature program, Arts Across the Curriculum, the Immersion Program brings five disciplines in the arts and social sciences into the academic classes to provide immersive experiences in music, drama, studio art, photography, and RIISE (Respecting Individual Identities through Social Engagement) that highlight the subject matter and curricular aims of the class. By the end of the year, 50 immersion classes will be delivered in over 100 different classes across the middle and upper school academic classes.
For example, Photography teacher Susan Moffat teaches students in Liz Ledwell's 8th-grade English class about Depression-era photography. This class reads to To Kill a Mockingbird which is set in Maycomb, Alabama during The Great Depression. Students study Arthur Rothstein and Dorothea Lange and the Farm Security Administration. French V students learn about the poetry and imagery of Surrealism in the 1920s and engage in an aleatoric drawing game popularized by Andre Breton. Groups of three take turns drawing on a single sheet of paper without looking at each other’s work using colored pencils. The resulting images are often bizarre and nonsensical, only vaguely resembling something life-like. Poet Nicolas Calas described these works as revealing the “unconscious reality in the personality of the group.”
Through lessons specific to diversity, equity, and inclusion, students in a RIISE class learn the skills and terminology necessary to feel comfortable and competent engaging in thoughtful, courageous conversations about race, identity, systems of power, and intersectionality.