This is a letter from Sherman Principal, Ann Yehle via Superintendent Rainwater to school board members regarding NOT moving Band & Orchestra to “8th Hour” for the upcoming year. I do have a copy of her original rationale to why she wished to do it. I will send it to anyone who wishes to read it. No changes will take place in the 2005-06 school year.
There appears to be lack of a clear understanding relative to what constitutes the school day as well as what bell schedule changes require a waiver and what bell schedule changes do not require a waiver from the state DPI. From communications with other principals in WI who have performance music at a zero hour, over lunch, or during an “8th hour” there isn’t consistency on whether a waiver from DPI is necessary. At this point given our most recent email communication from Mike George at DPI, there is a possibility that DPI would require us to obtain a waiver. While the reasoning we would provide on the waiver would meet the criteria necessary to get a waiver, align with MMSD strategic plan, Sherman CSR work, and while there is precedence for this move in other WI districts, a public meeting in front of the BOE is necessary. The timing on this would present a challenge for next school year. Furthermore, even though we may not need a waiver, I believe the course of action I outline below to be in the best interests of Sherman Middle School students, staff, families for the 05-06 school year.
Members of the Sherman Middle School Exploratory team worked on adjustments to 8th hour over the weekend and then met again this morning. Based on our weekend work and today’s meeting, we have decided to proceed as follows.
1. We remove the performance music courses of band and orchestra from 8th hour and offer them between 7:40 and 2:40. We allow students at each grade level to take a performance class regardless of whether or not they took a performance class the year before. This should help with access. It appears as though we are getting some commitment from parents to come in and work with these students during what we would still call 8th hour. We will contact East High Principal Alan Harris and determine whether or not it would be feasible for East High students to come to Sherman during 8th hour and serve as music tutors to our students. In addition, we will still offer a variety of elective offerings during 8th hour such as drumming, technology, Sherman Musical, etc.
2. Students in the lit lab can take music lessons during 8th hour and Sherman music teachers and parents will help facilitate this. These students would be allowed to perform during concerts and would be treated as members of the performance group.
3. Our exploratory team will meet with parents next school year. We will use this as a forum to get support for all exploratory courses and assist parents in supporting these courses as well as performance music courses. In addition, we will explain to parents that through working together if we are unable to address the concerns of the exploratory team, we will continue to explore moving performance music classes to 8th hour in 06-07. This would give us time to address any waiver needs with the state DPI as well as determine if intermediate steps could address the present concerns of our exploratory team.
4. Parents will work with the exploratory team to hold an exploratory week that will culminate with our school-wide musical next year.
5. We can work to engineer heterogeneity in performance music classes next year. With new teachers I will require them to address the standards in a more culturally competent manner. It does appear I have some parent support to help with this as well.
6. We will work to continue to educate all of our parents on what is a middle school. Although we have been working to do this, it is clear folks needs some additional information.
7. We will send a letter home with students today via backpack mail detailing the adjustments to 8th hour. We will send this letter out electronically to our Weekly Recap list. We will also send it to our feeder elementary principals and Loren Rathert and Alan Harris at East High.