Mrs. Jennifer Zera » Fine & Applied Arts, Business & Computer Science

Fine & Applied Arts, Business & Computer Science

Our Visual Arts Department offers a variety of classes from Foundation basics all the way through AP study, including a robust ceramics program. Students participate in state-wide programs as well as having their work promoted by the department at school events such as the Minnechaug Art Show. The department aims to  seek a world-view for their students through participation in programs such as, “The Memory Project”. A project that provides handmade, heartfelt portraits as special memories to children around the world facing many types of challenges.


Technology is an integral part of everyday life; and, to survive in the future, a student must be more than simply “technologically literate.” Although the term technology is often used to simply indicate a use of computers in the classroom, technology education is much broader in scope including invention, innovation, problem-solving techniques, mechanical processes, and production methods. Technology education must also examine the effects these advances have on society with the thought that future technological developments must maximize the benefits and minimize the problems. Technology Education is a key element in an overall comprehensive education and is in the unique position of being the only department wherein all Massachusetts education standards can be addressed, combined, and applied. The technology program at Minnechaug is based on the Massachusetts Science and Technology/ Engineering Curriculum Frameworks, and the current curriculum includes the following course; Technical Design & Engineering Basics, Computer Aided Drafting Design & Engineering One and Two, Graphic Communications One and Two, Electronics and Robotics One and Robotics Two, and lastly Wood Technology 1 and 2.

The band and strings program offers a variety of performing ensembles and elective classes for music students of all levels and abilities. Band starts with Symphonic Band where students expand their understanding and practical application of fundamentals learned at the Elementary and Middle School levels. Wind Ensemble is an honors level ensemble where students aim for mastery of their skills through a variety of performances, private study and challenging repertoire.

String Ensemble is a performing ensemble where students demonstrate growth and mastery of skills learned from 3rd - 8th grade in their respective string studies. All band and strings students have the opportunity to audition for honors level district, state and regional ensembles and to participate in local enrichment programs offered through institutions such as UMass Amherst and the Community Music School of Springfield. 

Elective offerings include Intro to Acoustic Guitar and History of 20th Century Pop Music. These electives afford students the opportunity to start from scratch on a new instrument and learn about the fundamentals and requisite skills needed to perform on that instrument. 20th Century Pop affords students the opportunity to take a musical journey through world and American history and how the events of the time shaped the music industry.


The Minnechaug choir experience consists of the study of music through individual singing and ensemble singing.  The primary focus is on musical elements such as tone production, technique of breath control, diction, repertoire and interpretational skills.  Students learn how to breathe properly as well as to apply support from within as they sing in unison and in two to four or more parts.  In addition, students learn sight-reading techniques, rehearsal techniques, performance etiquette, music theory (such as rhythm/note-value, scales, intervals, chords, chord progressions, cadences, modulation, transposition and musical terms) and study music history each semester.  Students are also expected to learn to sing in many different languages.  Repertoire of music consists of folk, world music, jazz and blues selections, classic choral pieces, broadway tunes, classical numbers, festival pieces, major and minor works, collections and holiday favorites, etc.  Most importantly, students find new bonds in friendship, while sharing the challenges their vocal experiences provide.


There are many performance opportunities for the Minnechaug choral participants.  These include three major concert events which are the Winter Concert, Pops Concert and Spring Concert/Awards ceremony.  In addition to these major events,  students are encouraged throughout the year to perform at other events.  These events include the talent show, open mic opportunities, National Anthem performance at the home Football games and other sporting events, the Veteran’s Day assembly, Memorial Day parade and ceremony in Hampden and Wilbraham as well as other opportunities that come up throughout the school year.  There is also an annual Broadway musical field trip to New York City.


The performance groups at Minnechaug consist of 2 performance ensembles which are Honors Camerata and Mixed Choir.  There is also an after school A cappella performance ensemble called Vocal Vibe.  This is a student run group that works on selected repertoire once a week and prepares for performances at the major concerts throughout the year. 

The Business and Computer Science program offers a wide range of classes starting with introductory level courses, and in some cases ending in AP level courses. The Business section offers introductory courses in business, accounting, and marketing, as well as more advanced courses in these disciplines. Students in introductory business classes will get the chance to create business plans and compete against one another in a yearly contest. 

The most important aspect of computer science is problem solving, an essential skill for life. Students study the design, development and analysis of software to solve problems in a variety of business, scientific and social contexts. Because computers solve problems to serve people, there is a significant human side to computer science as well. 

The computer science department currently offers AP Python, Intro to Java, and Web Design to start students off with a strong foundation in the computer science field.

Mrs. Jennifer Zera
Teacher, Fine Arts