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K-12 Music Staffing and Program Plan

Final Plan

K-12 Music Staff / Programming

 2018-19

 

Issue:

The District in the last two years has added two additional sections in the early elementary grades, dividing Kindergarten and 1st Grade into three (3) sections instead of two (2).  This presented staffing and scheduling challenges for what we refer to as “special” courses in these elementary grades:  music, art, physical education, and computers. 

 

  1. As the number of sections of PE, music, art and computers increased, it was no longer possible to staff those programs with the same number of full-time staff.

     

  2. As the number of sections increased, it became a challenge to schedule time for these specials into the school day.

 

6th Grade Move:

The Board of Education in February voted to move the 6th grade from Eastland Elementary School to Eastland Jr/Sr High School starting in 2018-19.  This change made it possible to staff the specials courses in Eastland Elementary with the same number of full-time staff.  However, additional help was needed for some courses at the Jr/Sr High School.  

Jr. High Band/Chorus/Music:

With 6th grade moving to the Eastland Jr/Sr High School, the current 7-12 Band/Choir Director (Ben Randecker) would not have time in his schedule to pick up 6th grade Band/Choir.  He is teaching a 1 period overload in his current 7-12 role, so adding 6th grade Band/Choir was not an option. 

Proposal of the Music Teachers:

Brandon Bull (Elementary Music Teacher) and Ben Randecker (7-12 Band/Choir Director) proposed the following plan for future staffing / programming: 

            Brandon Bull:

                                    K-5 General Music

                                    Gr. 6-8 Vocal Music (Chorus)

 

            Ben Randecker:

                                    Gr. 6-8 Instrumental Music (Band)

                                    Gr. 9-12 Instrumental and Vocal Music (Band/Choir)

Rationale:

 1.   Both teachers felt it would be important to keep 6th grade band/choir separate from 7th-8th grade band/choir. 

  1. The band room is already approaching max capacity with just 7th and 8th grade let alone adding the 6th grade class which is generally going to have more participation in music than the 7th and 8th grade classes.

     

  2. The second problem with a 6-8 grade band/chorus is the significant skill gap between the lower 6th grade class and the 8th grade.

 

When grade levels are combined for band or chorus, the music must be easy enough to be achievable for the beginning students but hard enough to challenge and push those who are more advanced.  Adding 6th grade students to the Jr. High band would increase this challenge dramatically.  Overall, the program would suffer because the younger players would become discouraged and lost, and the older players would become bored and under-challenged.  The vigor of the course would decrease, frustration would increase, discouragement would increase, therefore decreasing the quality of the program, and decreasing the participation in the program.  Simply put, 6-8 grade band/chorus would not set the program up for success, and the consequences down the road would be a poor quality, low-numbered Eastland High School Music Program.  This would be like putting all the 6-8 math kids in the same class and expecting them to understand the same math problems. 

2.   This proposal assigns Mr. Randecker primarily to instrumental music (his educational area of emphasis) and Mr. Bull primarily to vocal music (his area of emphasis).  This proposal plays to the strengths of the two music instructors currently employed by the District.  This is a change that the two instructors had proposed or contemplated previously, but which is now possible and necessary because of the 6th grade move to EJSHS. 

3.   In this proposal, Mr. Bull will no longer have time in his schedule for 5th grade beginner band.  Instead, 6th grade will become the beginning band level.  Because of the additional sections that have been added, something had to be discontinued.  The instructors recommended this change based on their belief that it would have little impact on upper level outcomes, and might actually result in higher levels of participation.  Students in grades K-5 General Music will still be introduced to various forms of instrumental music, but will not begin playing a specific instrument, at least for school purposes.  Another advantage to this proposal is that in the current program model, 5th grade students only have time for band during the Intervention time at Eastland Elementary.  This literally means that students who were in 5th grade band, and who needed extra help in reading or math, did not have time in their schedules to receive those targeted instructional interventions.  This conflict is eliminated in this new proposal.