RANDOLPH, NJ – After weeks of discussion and receiving feedback from parents, the Randolph Board of Education revealed the new schedule for the middle school music program at Tuesday’s meeting.
Superintendent Jennifer Fano reminded the public that the administration had not finalized the schedule, like many of the other programs.
“I will clarify before Mr. Perrone begins that this schedule is not finalized, as many schedules are not finalized, since it’s a pull-out project it really doesn’t need to be much further finalized before we can move along with other parts of this decision,” Fano explained. “There are elements of this that may impact the outcome of the final schedule in a positive way, but it will not take away the things that we’re going to share with you.”
“There’s some speculation that maybe we were trying to skirt the situation. We really were working very, very diligently and consistently on refining all the things we had to weigh: staffing, enrollment, student interest, looking at the whole child,” Fano continued, stating this draft schedule was reviewed by the education committee, the middle school music staff and then different levels of music teachers in the district, “just to make sure that the foundation of it is solid. We’re sure about that.”
Supervisor of Visual/ Performing Arts Frank Perrone presented the new schedule and its differences from previous years. The current music schedule pulls from a student’s schedule three times a week, specifically twice from the Physical Education & Wellness core courses and once from an elective course.
“Our elective period is our small group lesson, and our wellness period is our sectional time and our whole group session,” Perrone detailed.
“Some of the highlights that come out of the schedule: we do have 150 minutes of instruction; we have the ability for our vertical teaching; the ability to double, which is something we really look to continue, because it’s important for those students to be able to be in choir and orchestra or choir and band as they are continuing to explore those options,” he said.
Perrone continued by walking through the draft schedule which will have only one session taken from Wellness, one from Elective, with an added before or after school session for the whole group ensemble rehearsal.
“With our draft schedule here, we still have three sessions,” he assured the public. “With that, we’re able to maintain that 150 minutes of instruction, we’re able to maintain that vertical teaching, maintain the ability to double, and we’ve even seen some opportunities where we can enhance that vertical teaching through some co-teaching, especially with our large ensembles where we can have multiple teachers”
A few aspects of the schedule remain unfinished, such as identifying where the elementary and high school music staff can assist in the middle school program, as well as transportation options for the before school session.
Board member Christine Aulenbach asked if the communication of this change had gone out to parents of rising sixth graders. “I’m assuming that they are still under the assumption that they will not be having any after or before school rehearsals, is that correct?”
Fano instructed Perrone to share the information with these parents; however, they still cannot say whether the sessions will take place before or after school.
The administration wants to ensure students can double instruments, “that has to do with when these whole group sessions are scheduled, either before or after school. In the current iteration that we’re working with, we actually could have ‘triplers,’” Fano stated. “Until we identify whether we’re moving any of those around or shifting them, we won’t know if they’re before or after.”