A ceramics curriculum is the BEST thing you can have in a school in my
opinion. Clay is magic. It is very relaxing and therapeutic in a
striking way because it provides an alternative way of art leaning. I
think you should without a doubt do what you can to have a ceramics
program. The kilns you describe having are either used for jewelry,
enamel or small test firing. You cannot even dream of using these for a
whole class, let alone a school's work.
If you have no previous experience with kilns and firing, call Ceramic
Supply in Lodi, NJ. On the telephone they are very helpful in terms of
your choosing a kiln, making sure your building is wired for it
electrically, locating it for fire safety, etc... (There is a lot to
think about. I would get the catalogue first to look while you are on
the phone with someone. They will come to your school and set up the
kiln for you, as well as service it later on and provide whatever phone
help as you get familiar with things. A lot of other places will
basically drop the kiln off on the back step and say, "see ya!"
Once you have a kiln set up safely, etc... It really is simple to
operate, so don't worry. F.Y.I, I have a Skutt electronic automatic kiln
with an enviro-vent which mounts to the bottom of the kiln and vents out
like a clothes drier would, through a hole in the wall (or a window will
do). I really like it a lot.
All the best,
Robin in Bridgehampton, NY