RANDOLPH, NJ- On Tuesday morning, an email was sent out to many Randolph families regarding the music programs in the schools. This email pleaded for 500 silent parent protesters and was signed from the Randolph High School Band Parents Association, Randolph String Parents Association and Randolph High School Choir and Theater Booster Association.
This email was then posted to Facebook, where it created a social media frenzy and widespread concern about the future of the Randolph music program by many parents who assumed the information was factual. Al Matos, the President of the Randolph Board of Education, responded to this email by releasing a formal statement on Wednesday. The response by Al Matos is below the initial email.
Email to Randolph Music Parents
Dear Randolph High School and Middle School Choir, Orchestra, and Band parents,
The Randolph School District administration is planning on massive changes to the Middle School Music Department for the 2017-2018 school year. These changes are terribly damaging to the scheduling, staffing, and educational philosophy of the entire Randolph Music Department. The proposed cuts would result in a significant loss of instructional time for the middle school music students. Furthermore, the position of the retiring Dr. Sampson will not be replaced.
In the proposed cuts, the young musicians at Randolph Middle School would have their weekly music instruction time cut from the current three periods per week to two periods per week. This loss will result in a 1/3 reduction of instructional time per year compared to the current schedule. What this translates to: Over the course of three years’ time, students will lose the equivalent of one full year of music instruction.
The decision to not replace Dr. Sampson's position upon his retirement is evidence of an administrative decision to potentially eliminate vertical teaching. Vertical teaching is the decades old commitment of the Randolph Music Department teachers to teach in their specialty throughout the District, and it is one of the program's hallmarks. Producing State and Nationally Renowned Choirs, Orchestras, and Bands takes this vertical teaching commitment. The cuts for next year eliminate the ability of the students to learn from specialists on the various instruments, which is one of the music program's greatest strengths. For instance, in the proposed schedules, Middle School Band Directors would be scheduled to teach String lessons, and Orchestra Directors would be scheduled to teach Band lessons.
The help of ALL MUSIC PARENTS is desperately needed to remind the administration and Board of Education that you support the music program. Reducing music instruction from three periods a week to two periods a week is not enough instruction time to maintain this high quality program. The Music Department's staffing and teaching philosophy should not be changed to accommodate these cuts in staff and instructional time.
We need you to attend the next Randolph Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, March 7th from 8:00PM to 9:30PM in the Randolph High School library. This is our last hope to save this outstanding program!
We are looking for 500 silent parent protesters to attend the meeting in support of the music department. One music parent from each ensemble will speak directly to the Board during public comment. Please be a part of the massive and silent audience to support your organization and Music Department.
--------If possible, could all parents of the household attend the meeting?
--------Please consider changing your personal schedule in order to attend the meeting.
--------Bring a friend or two with you, buy them dinner and bring them to the board meeting.
--------If you have it, please plan to wear all of your CHOIR, ORCHESTRA and BAND clothing to the meeting!!!
If you would like to come early to hear some of the results of the current music program which highlight the Vertical Teaching model, the RHS Percussion Ensemble will be performing that evening at 7PM in the RHS Commons. The performance will conclude in time for you to attend the Board of Education meeting.
Thank you for your anticipated support to maintain this high quality music program,
Randolph High School Band Parents Association
Randolph String Parents Association
Randolph High School Choir and Theater Booster Association
Response to Misinformation Regarding District Music Program
Board of Education President Al Matos has issued a formal response to untrue statements and rumors about the district music program:
In response to incorrect social media and emails circulating in District, I provide the following to help set the record straight.
Please know that the Randolph BoE has no plan or desire to diminish the music program in Randolph. It is unfortunate that some are spreading untrue statements to excite or manipulate parents for unknown reasons. I hope that this statement clears up the misinformation being disseminated by people who do not have the facts. That said let me provide you the facts.
First and foremost, the Randolph BoE has no plan or desire to diminish the music program in Randolph. We have, on the record, stated our high support for the music program and continue to do so.
Second, while the BoE has had no discussion on this matter, the Education Committee is aware that our Superintendent, Ms. Fano, is reviewing the scheduling at the middle school, as this is an annual review. She has also asked the administrative staff for a collaborative discussion with the valued music professionals for the best overall educational experience for our students and this is on-going. When Ms. Fano has completed her due diligence, she will report to the BoE.
No schedule changes have been determined in any of the districts departments and a review of programs and schedules occurs throughout the district, not just with middle school music. Further, apparently, an email from a non-district person was sent to music parents inviting them to the March 7th BoE meeting to address apparent decisions made by the BoE and containing a number of falsehoods. As President of the Randolph BoE, I set the agenda and can tell you that no discussion on this topic is on the agenda since we are very early in the review process.
Third, we currently do have an unfavorable issue at the middle school where band students are being pulled from three instructional periods per week to receive instruction and missing out on the classroom instruction. Ms. Fano has asked the administrative team to explore options for the 2017-2018 school year to reduce the impact on instructional time for these band students. Once this due diligence is complete, Ms. Fano will report to the BoE but we are early in the process.
Fourth, as a matter of process, when a teacher retires, the administration reviews the need to hire a replacement after reviewing if capacity is available with existing staff without reducing the quality of teaching delivered to students. Note that the teacher’s union, REA, and the district have in place a binding contractual agreement that defines the maximum teaching periods and capacity to deliver a high-quality education to our students. The Superintendent, Ms. Fano, is reviewing this with her administrative staff and no conclusion has been made to date.
It is unfortunate that some have or are spreading untrue statements to excite or manipulate parents for unknown reasons in social media. A great way to get the facts is for parents to follow the chain of command and have parents address concerns with first the teacher, building principal, supervisor, director, superintendent and then the BoE.
Lastly, I want to repeat the Districts commitment to our students/parents with our high educational delivery, successful athletic program and exceptional performing arts at Randolph. We are very proud of this.
Randolph Board of Education