Unhappy with the current elementary school instrumental music program, parents are expected to bring their concerns to the School Committee at its meeting tonight at 7:30.
"The overall objective is to have music reinstated into the school day - free and equally accessible for all 4th and 5th graders," said parent Cheryl Elkins in an email to parents.
"There has been much discussion within the (school) district over the past few months of how to "reinvigorate" the elementary band instruction program. All agree having band instruction be offered in school, at all elementary schools. is the objective," wrote Elkins.
Elkins is a parent of three children - a high school junior who plays flute/piccolo, a middle school student, who plays percussion and a second grader, who plays trombone.
"This allows for many things, most importantly, equal access to the program for all students in the district," wrote Elkins, who has been organizing parents to advocate for the return of the former elementary instrumental music program.
through the and pay for the classes.
The numbers of students taking instruments in the last two years has declined. Some elementary schools, in the first year of the afterschool pay-for-lessons program, did not have enough students to hold its own concert. F while students at Dunning, Stapleton, Hemenway and
But even the schools that had enough students paying to learn an instrumental in the first year are struggling in the second year. A good percentage of those who paid for lessons as fourth graders at chose not to take lessons as fifth graders.
And both the and are worried about the numbers of students with instrumental experience coming to their programs, especially with fewer students opting to try anf or stick with a musical instrument.
Elkins, in her email to parents, said it was her understanding that next school year, there is a proposal by the school district's band directors to have the Performing Arts Center of MetroWest offer instrumental music lessons before school, as opposed to afterschool.
The proposed change would allow the district band directors input in the elementary instrumental program, which will help ensure staffing is aligned with the district expectations.
The change would also make make it easier for parents to have their children participate, as they will drop them off on their way to work and the children move directly into the school day; and it alleviates conflict with other afternoon extracurricular activities and mid-day transportation issues.
Richelle Harrod, a McCarthy Elementary mom, is one of the parents who plan to attend the meeting and address the School Committee. She said several McCarthy parents are unhappy with the current instrumental music program offered.
"This is an interim, stepping-stone measure," wrote Elkins to parents. "The goal is still to reinstate instruction into the school day as soon as feasible."
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Editor's note: My daughter is a fifth grade student at McCarthy elementary. She is in her second year of instrumental music lessons via the Performing Arts Center of MetroWest.