Music for our kids, Please!

A letter to the Board from the Call to Action has been shared! Write yours today!   Please consider writing the Jeffco School Board (board@jeffco.k12.co.us) before Friday, March 11th and request that they approve the addition of Elementary Instrumental Music to the teacher contract.

 

To the Members of the Jeffco Board of Education:

Last week at the JCEA contract negotiations, an article amendment was proposed to add Elementary Instrumental Music teachers to the teacher contract. This amendment (see below) affects a small population of teachers (about 20), but has a broad-reaching impact for our elementary school students and the entire instrumental music program in Jeffco.

Currently, every 5th and 6th grader in Jeffco has the opportunity to learn a musical instrument in school. This has been a district program for many generations, and we hope to see that continue. It was heavily supported by our community when 3A was passed in 2012. We understand that one of the goals of Student Based Budgeting is to give principals and communities autonomy with regard to decisions around budgeting. Elementary Instrumental Music is unique among those budget items because of its significant reach. Unfortunately, with the current model, the program is left vulnerable at individual schools, and extremely so in our Title 1 schools.  If the program were to be cut by one principal, it would cause a ripple effect throughout that articulation area. Students from that school would enter middle school with little to no instrumental music education, and would be two years behind their peers. That one school could have a major impact on the quality of the high school instrumental programs as well. There is some interesting research being conducted by one of our colleagues that shows the already severe discrepancy in contact time between Jeffco’s 7th graders and successful instrumental music programs in Colorado, but that is a discussion for another day.

As a point of clarification, this amendment is NOT designed to impact any budgetary items–no additional funding is needed. There was confusion during negotiations around a proposed travel allotment, but we are simply requesting that the contract address the discrepancy between current district practice and SBB funding from individual schools.

We are not asking for workload stipends, just contract language that accounts for the very real logistical issues that we face when traveling to so many buildings every day. 20 Jeffco teachers, traveling to 2-5 schools per day, are developing high quality programs in every elementary school in this district–talk about bang for your buck! As a beginning band and orchestra teacher in Arvada, I’ve taught “Hot Crossed Buns” to thousands of students in my 15 years in Jeffco. This amendment helps to keep our programs viable and consistent in every school. It was written solely by music teachers, not negotiators or lawyers, so the wording may need to be adjusted for clarity. Please consider supporting the spirit of this amendment and adding the Elementary Instrumental Music program and teachers to the 2016 JCEA Negotiated Agreement.

Sincerely,

Amy Woodley

www.MrsWoodley.com<http://www.mrswoodley.com/>

Arvada Area Band Teacher
Arvada K-8, Fitzmorris, Foster, Hackberry Hill, Lawrence, Peck, Secrest, Swanson and Thomson Elementary Schools

 

AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE 8

Elementary Instrumental Music (band and orchestra) will be offered at every elementary school and funded with a minimum .2 (two-tenths) FTE at every elementary school.

*   EIM curriculum must be offered during normal school hours.

*   Budgeting committees should consider funding needs for, music, supplies, instrument repair and replacement when building budgets.

*   FTE allocation is appropriate to class size, space availability, and Student Based Budgeting considerations.

*   Special considerations should be given to schools with exceptionally large band or orchestra classes and schools with high populations of special education and gifted students.

*   EIM teachers assigned to nine buildings will receive a .1 travel allowance from the district

*   Instrumental music teachers assigned to multiple levels (elementary, middle and high school) will receive adequate travel allowance (FTE) from the district to accommodate their schedule.

*   Collaborative decision making regarding weekly schedules, building pairings, facilities, resources, and budgets with all stakeholders (EIM teachers, administrators, curriculum coordinator, etc.)

*   EIM and Classroom schedules should be built with the students in mind to give students their best opportunity to be successful in all areas of their learning.

*   Adequate teaching facilities to maximize effective learning opportunities and educator effectiveness

*   Clean, organized classroom or temporary building space with room for all students assigned to each section

*   Classroom-sized whiteboard

*   Music stands and chairs for each student

*   Dedicated wall space for visual aids and educator effectiveness criteria

*   Technology access: tablets, document camera, smart boards.