Summary of Emails to the Board
Jill Humphries of Gilbert Music Matters went to the district to review the emails sent to the school board regarding elementary schedules. Here is her summary:
I was very interested to find out what was the public input to the governing board on the five-day elementary schedule proposal, so I made a request for information and went to the administration building to study the emails that the board received. I have to say that I read many well-written and articulate emails too the board on this topic. The first group I looked at were received from January to March 1. Of the emails I read, 43 supported music and the six-day schedule. Two people, including an ASU professor, wrote expressing their support for the PE schedule. One of these expressed concern that cutting PE to one day a week would not give children enough time in PE. One librarian wrote to express concern that, in the 5 day schedule, librarians will spend too much time teaching and will not have sufficient time to run the library and have open check out. She also expressed concern about cuts to music under the pilot program. One person wrote that, in her experience as a substitute teacher, the five day schedule did not work that well and she preferred the six day schedule.
Eight people wrote emails supporting their experience with the five-day schedule and its benefits. Most of these said that it was easier to remember specials, that they wanted the kindergarten students to have specials, and that music was not as important to them as academics. Most of these were parents from Mesquite Elementary. One parent, however, said that while she enjoyed the convenience of the pilot schedule, she would rather music not be cut. One regular classroom teacher wrote to support the new schedule as being easier for teachers, who are feeling overwhelmed. One special education teacher wrote that she felt the five day schedule would work much better for the special education students.
The other group of emails I looked at were from November and December 2009. Eighty emails were in support of the importance of music and its benefits. Many writers detailed what participation in music from elementary school through high school meant to them or their children. There were a handful of emails that spoke of the importance of other classes such as math, German, debate, and Academic Decathlon. Certainly, your music-loving constituents are very dedicated and passionate.