Middle School Band and Orchestra

Picked up the following flyer in our PTO box this morning……
Sherman Middle School Administration has taken upon themselves to move the Orchestra and Band Programs to an “exploratory” optional class that will be offered after the school day effective next school year. MMSD is looking at this as a pilot program at Sherman with idea of implementing these changes at all middle schools in Madison.
Please help us fight this change. Our students have rights to attend these classes during the school day.
You can help by writing to the school board and MMSD administration to voice your concerns before this becomes the norm in the Madison School District.
For more information you can contact Sheryl Trumbower at 243-1005 or 279-2117.”
East High Band Parents Organization

5 thoughts on “Middle School Band and Orchestra”

  1. Mary,
    You say “Sherman Middle School Administration has taken upon themselves” to make the change, but surely the administration “downtown” approved the move, didn’t it?
    And, it must have been planned for a while. I doubt that it just popped into their minds yesterday. Did the school administration discuss the option with students or parents?

  2. I am just the reporter. I assume East High Band Parents just got wind of this info and sent a letter to all the PTO’s in the community. But other than the flyer placed in our box I have no information, I was hoping for some East side parents to clue us in on this information.

  3. The Administration downtown knew about it, but I’m not sure when they “knew”. This plan at the beginning of May was presented to the Sandburg school (and again that is in question, because only one family was at the meeting and there was a language barrier) as a program they where looking into, but the impression was that it wasn’t going to be implemented right away. It even took many teachers at Sherman by surprise. The reason this is such a hot button is that the Administration downtown is excited about this proposal and would like to implement it at all middle schools in Madison. I received this information directly from Valencia Douglas myself so there is no room for misleading or miscommunication on my part. Parents need to be concerned. Performing Music Classes and Foreign Language classes are being downsized. Madison High Schools have excellent Band and Orchestra programs, but they are fighting a up hill battle when you cut the classes at the roots, which is the middle school programs. Another point is that foreign languages are going to be taught for 9 weeks and rotate with Art, General Music and Healthy Living. Explain to me how our students are to retain what they learned when an entire year could pass before they “pick up” where they left off last year. There are many loopholes in the DPI requirements and Ann Yehle and the Admin downtown are getting around this. Parents need to be concerned about this program even if they don’t have kids at Sherman. It will eventually come to your school too. This needs to be fought by parents and students throughout the district. There will be another meeting of concern parents next Tuesday at East High Band Room at 7:00 pm. Please come and attend. This is just not a Band and Orchestra issue. And Yes, Administration is invited to come to this meeting. Ann was invited to last night’s meeting, but she had conflicts. Since this was dropped on us at short notice about the changes, we had to respond quickly and her calendar was already planned for other meetings. It was unfortunate, because I think it would have been beneficial for her to be there. Another meeting was scheduled today at 5:15 with Ann Yehle and parents at Sherman, but Ann had to cancel that meeting because her exploratory team wanted to be there but had child care issues. We don’t know when that meeting will be rescheduled. Hopefully soon. If any one has questions, please contact me through the email address of mscfineartsgroup@hotmail.com. This is an email address that information will be forwarded onto other concerned citizens about the fine arts conflicts at madison school district.

  4. Sheryl – Has Ann Yehle explained why she wants to do this? A few years ago, a principal at one of the elementary schools explored moving the 4/5 strings program to an afterschool program but was told that she couldn’t do that. The reason was that the MTI contract does not provide for strings teachers to work outside the contract day. The district said “no”…end of story. I’m just curious why that wouldn’t be an issue in this case also.
    As an aside, the reason that the elementary principal wanted to move strings to an afterschool program was to avoid losing 90 minutes/week of academic instructional time for those students who were participating in strings but were in jeopardy of failing the 4th grade “No Child Left Behind” testing and really needed to be focussing on academics. What has ended up happening is that kids who aren’t doing well academically are not being allowed to participate in strings, which obviously has some impact on the demographics of strings program participants.
    If one of the issues driving Ann Yehle’s decision to move middle school band and orchestra to afterschool is the demographics of those classes not being representative of the population of the school, then this is all very ironic. What problem is she really trying to solve?

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