What Makes KM Perform Special to You?

Photo courtesy of Klaudia Rixmann

Photo courtesy of Klaudia Rixmann

As students of KM Perform, we are aware that our school is different from most, but are we aware of exactly how special it is? We are building a community of engaged artists that constantly produce innovative and in-depth projects, but, somehow, in the midst of all the creation, we forget the unique institution we are a part of. So, what is the KM Perform identity? What do we think makes it special?

Perhaps the most prominent facet of KM Perform that makes it what it is, is its interdisciplinary learning structure. Mr. Weber, a creator and teacher of KM Perform, says, “…the most important [aspect of KM Perform] is our emphasis on interdisciplinary learning seen through an artistic lense.” To make this style of learning work, KM Perform has become a master of flexibility. Kim Suhr, a member of the KM Perform Governance Council, explains that KM Perform’s constant development sets it apart from the crowd: “KM Perform is special because there are many opportunities for students and teachers to try new things, to say to themselves, ‘What is the learning we are looking to achieve? And what are some different ways we might go about achieving that learning?’and then to follow through on those ideas. Because it is a relatively new school and is constantly innovating and changing, there really isn’t the opportunity to fall back on ‘because we have always done it that way.’” These aspects allow for an environment that encourages students in their academic journey, explains Asher Schleich, a senior writing focus student. “[KM] Perform is very unique. It gives students the chance to take control of their learning and gear it towards their own personal strengths. Students are able to build up their talents and perfect them throughout high school, as well as grow academically.” KM Perform’s interdisciplinary learning and constant development allows students to take charge of their own learning and build themselves into the person they want to be.

Linnea Hietala, a sophomore in theatre focus, shares her personal development attributed to KM Perform’s structure and atmosphere: “Going to high school here has impacted me in many ways. I’m more confident with my acting and knowledgeable of my abilities and their range. It is both humbling and inspiring to be surrounded by so many talented peers. The responsibility of taking credit and learning into my own hands has also motivated me to start individual projects and push myself to improve the skills I have.” KM Perform’s collaborative projects develop not only groups of students, but also the individual. Projects are student-directed, allowing for many leadership, group-management, and self-management opportunities. Ellie Oldenburg, a junior in art focus, explains: ”[KM Perform makes] you have the drive to complete things on your own since you aren’t being led through school by having your hand held by your teachers…this school has really helped me [prepare] myself to not be afraid of things, and show me how to do things on my own to make my own work motivation better.”

So much of this hard work goes to large, in-depth projects. Many students point out that their favorite KM Perform events have included traveling to Japan with Mr. Weber and taking part in Legends and Lore with Old World Wisconsin. Even slightly smaller activities in seminars and workshops have become some of the most memorable moments to students, like the Rube Goldberg competitions or Midnight Sector filming.

It’s the creative and innovative arts projects produced by passionate and hard-working, bright students, supported by inspiring and brilliant teachers, in an interdisciplinary learning environment that makes KM Perform such a unique community.