October 2, 2016
To the Kent Community:
During the 2016-17 school year, our instrumental music department is piloting a new strategy for beginning band and orchestra. This fall, students will start their band and orchestra experience in the sixth grade instead of the fifth grade. This change is a reallocation of resources in order to more effectively serve the needs of our students.
During the past several years, time allocated for fifth grade band and orchestra varied in different elementary buildings. Some students received as little as 20 minutes of instruction per week. Elementary state assessment schedules during the months of March and April limited instructional time even further. For example, several fifth grade band students received only one lesson during a six-week period last spring.
This was not an effective way for our students to begin their band or orchestra experience. Both students and their parents became discouraged at the lack of musical progress. Therefore, our instrumental music teachers spent time researching alternative plans and discussing the options available. They consulted with school administrators and received approval from the Board of Education to try something new. We believe the result of this two-year pilot program will be a better learning experience for students.
Beginning this year at Stanton Middle School, sixth grade band and orchestra students will receive daily instruction in like-instrument groups for a period of 44 minutes. In just two weeks, we exceeded the total amount of band and orchestra instructional time that any fifth grader received last year. We believe that consistent daily instruction will lead to higher achievement and a greater rate of student retention in our instrumental music programs.
Looking ahead, instrumental music teachers will work with classroom teachers and administrators at the elementary schools to expose students to music opportunities and help fifth graders choose an instrument. This is a crucial step in our new plan, and we want every student to have a positive experience. We will communicate with parents throughout the two-year pilot program process.
Instrumental music is a significant element in students’ intellectual and creative development. The Kent City School District has a long tradition of effective music education for our students. Our goal is to enhance the beginning experience of our instrumental music programs for students.
Thank you again for your support of the Kent City Schools.
George J. Joseph
Kent City Schools
Join me for Coffee and Conversations with the Superintendent on November 30, 2016
Please join me for future coffee and conversations at Little City Grill, 802 North Mantua from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. It’s a great way to learn about future school events, share ideas and ask questions. The following coffee and conversation times are scheduled for 2016-17.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
George J. Joseph
Superintendent of Schools