As a final attempt to save this program, which has provided so much for the students of Clarke Middle, I have decided I must resign my position effective February 17th. I feel that this decision will force our school and our district to think critically about how much our fine arts programs mean to the students and to the community. I also hope that this act will spurn change for the better, knowing that my reputation and integrity might still be called into question. Our students deserve positive change, and our teachers do as well.
This story has been getting a lot of attention on social media and in the local news. Thankfully, all comments I’ve seen have been overwhelmingly supportive of the teacher who was forced to make this difficult decision. This is a terrible situation for someone who appears to be a very devoted teacher.
Music teacher quits, says Clarke music, art programs threatened | Athens Banner-Herald
It was the first day of after-school music classes for students in the Santee School District after a decades-long drought.
The district, in partnership with music professor James Sepulvado from Cuyamaca College and Bertrand’s Music in San Diego, just started offering the classes at all of its nine school sites. The Santee School District Foundation pitched in $40,000 to sponsor the classes, pay for instruction and help defer some of the cost to rent instruments, with no enrollment charges to families of fourth- through eighth-grade students.
It’s sad to imagine a school district going decades without any instrumental music offerings, but it’s encouraging to hear about the immediate success of this revitalized program.
Santee making sound progress on bringing music back to school | The San Diego Union-Tribune
When Foehrkolb came to Washington Middle School as principal four years ago, students at the school did not have music classes every day.
Foehrkolb worked with staff and got that deficiency changed by his second year at the school.
“Our students have music classes every day now and we didn’t cut into their other instructional time,” he said. “It was a no-brainer to get that done. Research has shown that having a music class every day improves a student’s achievement in all classes.”
Other accomplishments by the school districts in Washington, IL:
- a $5 million high school music building
- a $14 million middle school music wing
- $120,000 of new band instruments
Five Washington administrators to be awarded at Illinois Music Education Association conference | Journal Star
A 12th-grade student in Pennsylvania has done a rather commendable job of arguing for the inclusion of music education in schools, choosing to focus on its mental benefits in particular:
Unfortunately, too many school officials view music classes as luxuries rather than what they are: absolute necessities. Our schools are on the brink of a serious mental health crisis among young people — 70% of public school students with a psychological disorder are not receiving any therapy whatsoever. Yet, what do school officials do? They deprive students of a music education, which is proven to provide psychological benefits.
Schools need to embrace music’s powerful benefits | lancasteronline.com
The Sunshine State is kicking off the new year with a promising development:
The proposal, Senate Bill 110 and its companion House bill 1123, would establish the Florida Seal for Fine Arts, affixed to the diploma – and the resume – of any student who has met a series of established guidelines, including continued participation in arts programs, solid grades and community art involvement.
Grego stressed that the arts are part of the core curriculum in Pinellas County Schools. “We view the whole educational system to teach the whole child,” he said. “Yes, academics are exceedingly important, standardized tests are exceedingly important … but it’s also important to balance that with life skills for students. The arts accomplish that.”
Official statewide recognition of students’ dedication to the fine arts would be a very positive step toward endorsing the importance of arts in education today.
Lawmakers, educators propose the Florida Seal of Fine Arts | St Pete Catalyst
The GRAMMY Foundation created the Music Educator Award two years ago to recognize exceptional music teachers, who can be nominated by administrators, peers, students, and parents. This year’s award goes to Jared Cassedy, a band director in New Hampshire:
As a tribute to the thousands of outstanding music educators everywhere, I cannot thank The Recording Academy and GRAMMY Foundation enough for helping us to advocate for and to celebrate the importance of music education across the nation.
Mr. Cassedy and this year’s other nine finalists will all receive honorariums for themselves and their schools. Much can (and has) been said about the validity of the typical GRAMMY Awards, but it really is encouraging to see the creation and presentation of this award. The GRAMMY Foundation maintains a large presence in today’s music world, and it’s great to see it using its position to promote music education in our schools.
Jared Cassedy Named Recipient of GRAMMY Foundation’s Music Educator Award
We often hear the saying, “We test what we value.” I would respectfully suggest that exactly the opposite is true. In fact, the things that we value and care about the most are those things that are precisely the most resistant to measurement.
Michigan State University’s Mitchell Robinson provides a wonderful essay on the state and future of the arts’ place in a child’s education.
Focus on STEM overshadows importance of music education | Michigan Radio
“The music community, and especially informal music education, can do wonders for improving children’s self esteem and for helping them build identity and character,” said Swietlik. “All of the organizations did this through different means but they had similar results: The children were becoming more proud and functioning citizens within society. They were kids that could dream, kids that could see a future.”
You can talk about test scores and GPAs and neurons ’til you’re blue in the face, but at the end of the day this is what it all comes down to. Kids that can dream, kids that can see a future.
ASU alum enacts positive change in communities through music | ASU News
The content of this story is a bit murky but the quotes are gold, such as…
“Mr. Bernice inspired me to do better in my classes. He showed me that through music almost anything is actually possible,” Rivera Heredia said. “And I will always keep a smile on my face — like he does — and be happy about life and stuff.”
And my favorite…
“In Venezuela they don’t have conferences about the public value of music education because they’re too busy going to concerts … And their biggest concerts they don’t have in concert halls because there’s too many people — they have them in baseball stadiums.”
Massachusetts Becomes First State To Fund Music Education Inspired By El Sistema | ARTery
Is ear training possible with 7th graders? Sure, you just have to pick the right material:
There isn’t sheet music published for iBand, so Driver and her students write it themselves. They pick up how to play by ear, as well as how to arrange and transpose music.
“That’s what’s so cool, because they’re learning so much,” Driver said.
Seventh-grader Brenda Dominguez arranged “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor by watching a video of the song online, playing along and writing down the notes of the song.
“It wasn’t really hard,” Dominguez said.
Highland Park’s iBand a unique music education | Amarillo Globe-News