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Re: middle school instructional time-long

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From: Jerry & Mary B (gregjuli_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Mar 22 2003 - 11:00:25 PST


We are in the middle of changing our scheduling. I have been on the
scheduling committeefor 4 years . It has been very frustrating, since
the admin. wants one thing and we ( all related and fine arts teachers
,except one) want to keep our original schedule. We have looked at tons
of other school schedules and visited other schools. Our district is
anxious to get us in to electives. We currently have 2 periods a day(43
min.) ( out of 9) that the students attend a related or fine art. My art
classes are 6 week sections. it is a crazy pace BUT all 6-8 graders
have art.. This means they take foreign lang. Consumer Ed. ,music,
health, tech ed. ,gym business ed. and art every year. Band , chorus
and honors art are held during study hall time. Some kids go these
specials and some have study hall. We in the related arts / fine arts
at our school rarely agree unanimously on anything ,but this we do. We
love that fact that the students get to try everything and are not
forced to choose between art and music or art and tech ed or foreign
language, ect. Many schools I've visited music rules. At one school the
kids must take music/band every other day all year with gym. Another
school had the kids choose between foriegn lang. all year or a realted/
fine arts class (8th grade).
So guess what the make-up those classes were like?! All the college
bound took the foreign lang. ( 80% of 8th grade!)
Our district currently feels that the 8th graders especially should be
able to choose, because it will ready them for high school. But freshman
year hardly allows any room for choices! Middle schoolers are still
learning about themselves and should try all the areas of learning ,
THEN in high school make the tough choices. It is not that we in our
rel/ fine arts do not want to change, we feel the kids should experience
all the areas. Teaching every 6 weeks isn't easy, but all the kids in my
school come to experience art every year! But we will probably be
changing due to what ultimately is a financial decision.
Good luck on whatever happens at your school. 4 years of arguing about
schedule changes has not been fun. And theonly one teacher out of the
over 20 related /fine arts teachers in our building who wants electives
is the other art teacher in my school. It makes for a very interesting
situation.
MaryB

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