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Middle School Art Instruction

Posted: Sat May 16, 2009 9:55 pm
by Cathy Aldrich
In case you missed it, buried in the middle of the Garfield Gazette May newsletter was the following:
“…Staci Peltz, one of our art teachers, as she will no longer be with us at Garfield next year…[b]Unfortunately due to this change not all students will receive art at our middle school since we will only have one art teacher…â€

Posted: Mon May 18, 2009 8:27 am
by Danielle Masters
I just wanted to let you know this is not just an issue with Garfield, Harding also has the same issue. The first year of the middle schools the students had 5 rotation classes. It is my understanding that because the schools are set on a quarter schedule the five rotation classes in a year was not feasible. So this year the students have four rotation classes and not all students receive art. The five rotation classes are health, art, consumer science and two computer courses. I am not sure about the two computer courses but my son has assured me that they are two distinct classes. I am not sure as to why Harding has two art teachers, I do think it could be related to Harding being a larger school. I would love to see every student take an art rotation every year also and I do think this should be addressed but I did want everyone to be clear that this is an issue at both Garfield and Harding. Perhaps a feasible option would be to have both schools share an additional art teacher, who serves part time at each school. It would be nice if the schools put out a statement to the parents letting them know ahead of time about these types of issues.

Posted: Mon May 18, 2009 6:02 pm
by Heather Ramsey
I think it'd be nice if they could choose whether or not they want Art amongst that rotation of 5 classes - I seem to remember Art really bringing down my average back when I had to take it and wasn't too upset when I could take other things instead, so I'd have just taken the other 4 options.

I don't think I took Art past 6th grade (Emerson), but could be wrong. Perhaps it was substituted out since I was in Choir and Orchestra (and then only Orchestra because we were no longer allowed to do both)?

Regardless, I do think it should be available to everyone.

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 10:59 am
by Kristine Pagsuyoin
Hi Heather,

A Garfield parent addressed the Board on Monday night regarding this issue. She was referred to Jeff Patterson and so she and I both spoke to Mr. Patterson after the meeting. After speaking with Jeff Patterson, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education, I learned that students are permitted to choose their own rotation. Therefore, if a student is not scheduled for Art they can request to have their schedule changed. The problem seems to be that this was not always communicated to students and parents. As they prepare for next year, a letter or some form of communication ought to be sent to parents so they know their children have this option. The reason that Harding will have two Art teachers is because their enrollment is higher. However, they have the same rotation offered as Garfield—the programming is identical.

I do believe that providing classes in all of the arts is vital to a child’s overall education. The issue of Art being taught to everyone all year can be an issue that parents may decide is important and will want to further discuss. For example, in the elementary schools art is only offered for one quarter. Personally, I think it should be offered year around. Some may say we don’t have the budget for that kind of programming and that we are already under budget restraints. My response is that as a community we can decide what we value and choose to make cuts elsewhere.

That aside, I think the Garfield Art issue worried so many parents and put them on the defensive because of how the article was written:

“…Staci Peltz, one of our art teachers, as she will no longer be with us at Garfield next year…Unfortunately due to this change not all students will receive art at our middle school since we will only have one art teacher…â€

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 11:03 am
by Heather Ramsey
Thanks for the info, Kristine!