J.A.C.K. VanGOGH field trips bring art-related workshops to life for CCA students

​CCA's mobile classroom, J.A.C.K., is a mobile classroom that offers PA cyber school students the ability to learn different art mediums each month.

Each month, students will learn different art mediums during events with the mobile classroom.

J.A.C.K., CCA's mobile classroom, recently pulled up and parked at John Rudy Park in York, where he eagerly waited for students and parents arriving to participate in the first J.A.C.K. VanGOGH field trip. Teachers trickled in to set up for the day’s lesson, experiment and hands-on activity, all while sporting CCA T-shirts with abstract designs.

To an outsider, the numerous CCA staffers setting up in a park, under a pavilion named “Eastern Hemlock” while wearing bright-colored shirts, might have raised an eyebrow. But for the 40-plus CCA students and parents who signed up for the kickoff event, the teachers were wearing examples of the tie-dying method the students would be learning that day. The effort CCA put behind the event was evident from head to toe on the staff.

Melinda Curran, family involvement coordinator in the south-central region and field trip division, was excited to see this event take off. "With a teaching background, I’ve always thought it’s really important for kids to get out and kind of explore what’s around them and be able to do things hands on," she said.

J.A.C.K. brings educational opportunities to CCA students all over Pennsylvania. J.A.C.K. VanGOGH is a new, statewide event. The mobile classroom will travel to a different part of the state for students to participate in hands-on learning opportunities exploring art-related fields.

"We try to pick fun activities that complement the subject matter we are covering, whether it's science or art, and have some sort of project associated with it that’s hands-on, so students are learning although they may not think of it as learning," said Jordon Taylor, CCA high school art teacher.

For the first event, middle and high school students interacted with CCA teachers and their peers to experiment with primary and secondary colors using M&Ms and cups, as elementary school students took a lesson inside the mobile classroom. The two groups then switched places and later rejoined to make tie-dye shirts using a nontraditional method involving permanent markers and alcohol. Using the examples the teachers were wearing, students picked out colors and created their designs while they made new friends. Parents made friends at the event, too.

Kim Klein of Harrisburg has three kids at CCA, and they are active when it comes to participating in field trips.

“The top three reasons we make sure we attend field trips frequently is because the students get to experience very different things, many times activities we’d never even think of, because it gives the kids a break from the schoolroom in the house to get outside, and because the kids have made tons of friends through field trips and I have gotten to meet fellow parents, too,” Kim said.

Laci Pinckney of Mount Joy, a first-year CCA parent of twin boys, said even after just five weeks at CCA, she can’t see how they ever went to a traditional school. She said for once teachers see her boys as two individuals who like different things and learn in different ways. Seeing the planning and effort that CCA’s teachers and field trip coordinators put into this event reassured her of the family setting and caring environment CCA creates.

"It’s a great all-around experience for families to get to see each other and get to reinforce what they are learning in their house in their LiveLessons," Melinda said. "And everyone seems to really enjoy it."

To give students settings where they can learn while enjoying an activity with fellow CCA students, J.A.C.K. will be journeying to an event near you. The J.A.C.K. VanGOGH field trips will be happening in other regions across Pennsylvania.


Commonwealth Charter Academy


November 15, 2017


Learning Lab

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