I am a part-time visual arts teacher at Cooperative Arts Magnet High School (Co–op), an inter–district magnet high school. I teach two Photoshop classes. These classes combine visual arts and technology as well as Art History, Graphic Design/Advertising and simple web animation. Unlike the most of the other visual arts teachers, I teach students from all of the different arts. Approximately 65% of the students are from the city of New Haven and 35% come from surrounding towns. The students are accepted to the school via a lottery system. At Co–op, each student chooses an area of the Arts to study. He or she will continue in this area of study for all four years. The students may choose from music; choral or instrumental, visual art, theater, creative writing, or dance.
Students who are not from New Haven come from the surrounding districts, rather than attending their local high schools, to attend Co–op primarily because they are interested in studying the arts in a smaller setting. Co–op has approximately 624 students enrolled in grades 9–12. The student population is 65% of female and 35% male, 49% Black students, 24% Hispanic, 26% White and 1% Asian American students. The main languages spoken are English and Spanish with 1% English language learners (ELLs). The school has 7% students with special education needs. The proportion of students eligible for free or reduced price lunches is 66%, which is higher than the state average.
Co–op is located one block from two of Yale University's museums, the Yale University
Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art. Teachers often take their students on mini field trips to the galleries. Co-op also has a working relationship with Yale University and Shubert Theater.