The Next Proof Point for Jefferson High

by Steve, January 31st, 2008

schoolsNow that the dust has settled after the Mayor’s Week at Jefferson High School, we in the community have had some time to think about things.

When Superintendent Carole Smith’s chief of staff Zeke Smith met with Jefferson community parents late last year, he asked for “proof points” that could be implemented at Jefferson by the start of the 2008-09 school year.

At the time, the only thing I could come up with (besides the idea of funding the school at two to ten times the district average per student in order to restore comprehensive programming) was to tear down the walls between academies.

So far, so good. They’ve announced their intention to do this.

But, like I said at the school board meeting, this is a very small first step in the right direction. (It’s what the community has wanted all along, and it will add teaching FTE at no cost, so it’s kind of a no-brainer for the district.)

In other words, this is not enough. In addition to this move, and the introduction of Advanced Placement (AP) classes, I would like to see the restoration of the music department at Jefferson. It is utterly shameful that a performing arts magnet school does not have a music program. I would like to see at least two FTE positions restored to Jefferson, one choral and one instrumental.

There is some amazing musical talent at Jefferson, but none of these student artists is getting high school credit for it.

But let’s not kid ourselves. You don’t start a band in high school by buying some instruments and hiring a teacher. We need to restore band to the elementary and secondary grades, too. I would like to propose Jefferson cluster elementary and middle bands. The teacher could travel among the eight feeder schools to give individual lessons, and have band rehearsals in the Jefferson band room. So that makes three FTE positions.

We’ve got to get serious in this city about our core curriculum, and music is part of that.

2 Responses to “The Next Proof Point for Jefferson High”

  1. Comment from rubycakes:

    Steve,

    Well said. You have to build from all points at once: elementary, middle and high schools. The facilities are there, there is a large library of music there (or used to be). Not sure about instruments, might be some around but the quality might be wanting. Remember the district last bought new instruments in 1988–it’s time for a capital outlay budget for new instruments district wide (and then put those instruments on a replacement schedule). Staffing will be the crucial issue. Who will hire these people? Who is in control of quality control of educators?

  2. Comment from Zarwen:

    The human resources department and the State TSPC.