CCA art teacher brings out inner creativity for learning
Dreon Olivetti enjoys developing content for CCA’s new learning management system.
The parents said their son wasn’t artistic. CCA art teacher Dreon Olivetti asked what the boy liked to do.
The answer: build things from scrap wood.
With that in mind, instead of asking the boy to draw a superhero, she let him choose the medium. He crafted a scrap-wood superhero turtle. It was the best project Olivetti saw all year.
“It’s our job to facilitate learning and to let learners know how creative they are,” Olivetti said. “They’re all artists. They’ll find their way, and we’re going to give it to them in every means possible.”
Olivetti’s years of teaching around the globe and in many settings converged when she developed the art courses for edio, CCA’s innovative new learning management system. The new system allows students and their families to easily communicate with teachers and the school to create a more personalized, tailored curriculum.
A native of Mechanicsburg, Olivetti took a dramatic turn in her life because of rugby. She was swimming for Kutztown University when the organizers of a new women’s rugby team invited her to join. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in crafts, she launched a successful career as a fine artist.
But Olivetti, who continued to play rugby, had a desire to teach and considered going back to school – somewhere near a beach.
Her rugby coach, a native of Australia, pointed her toward the University of Sydney. After earning her master’s degree in teaching visual arts, she stayed in the bright, sunburned country and taught art in a performing arts school.
After five years in Australia, she returned to the U.S. with her two young children. She taught and managed in preschool and a Montessori school, learning about the role of brain function and development in learning. She taught at Christian and Catholic schools. Finally able to apply her Australian experience toward a teaching certificate, she substituted in public schools.
In 2013, CCA called.
“How do you teach art online?” she wondered. Then she answered her own question: “I don’t know, but they’re doing it. Let’s do it.”
At CCA, Olivetti infuses her classes with projects to enhance art theory and history with hands-on experience. She created an art club in the same spirit.
When CCA began designing edio, Olivetti accepted the challenge to custom-build in-house courses based exclusively on the needs of CCA families and teachers.
“Students need to know they can make their own life,” she says, adding that it allows students to explore the many paths to answers and knowledge. “Edio is built on a conscious understanding of learning styles.’
“CCA allows us to make our own schedule and follow our own timeline,” Olivetti said. “It just allows you to be who you are and not spend four years of high school where everyone’s trying to fit you into a box."