Appendix I - August 2001
Sable's memo to Lightyear and parents (excerpt)
A need for additional Fine Arts Classes, "Mastery" of the intricate Master Schedule and District Support for an Arts Enriched Education in the District
L. head counselor, told me that we (the Fine Arts Department) needed to create some more Fine Arts classes because the counselors had no place to put the students who needed Fine Arts credit. The school district "killed" two art classes, a Theater Arts I class, and did not provide Songwriting in the schedule or a second guitar class in Fall of '01. And they used Technical Theater and Piano Lab to place students who were hard to place. In one instance, a special needs student took precedence over a music major and the music major dropped piano. Many students were placed in Technical Theater and even Theater Arts I who did not ask to take those classes.
And yet the school district will not pay for sections of Fine Arts that the Fine Arts teachers want to teach and the counselors need to accommodate the Captain Dewey High students who needed a Fine Arts credit.
The school district is reviewing the "formula" that was the basis for so many problems (large class sizes; classes not allowed to "make") around the school district. One of the local problems with Captain Dewey High's master schedule is said to be a lack of PE classes 7th period. Other problems with the master schedule are probably even more difficult to understand. It was a new software program and a new person assigned to the task for fall, '01, so naturally problems could (and did) arise.
Losing the classes and curriculum we have worked hard to create and that counselors say we need was a blow to us this Fall, '01:
Songwriting - 26 students registered, but not put in the master schedule
A separate Classical Guitar class for advanced students - no teacher, even though the students were registered
A section of Theater Arts I and at least one of Visual Art I - no money provided for teachers to teach the class, even though they were willing to teach them
An accelerated Art I class exclusively for academy art "majors" who showed a portfolio to be accepted - ten non-auditioned students were added who needed Art I
Advanced Art Classes that are not so large that the teacher cannot get to help a student but every third or fourth day
Fall "fight" to keep 3 separate orchestra classes for the new full-time teacher
Dance Classes that were scheduled with no regard to the dancers' levels
How do we address the surprising attitude expressed by local administration that Dance and Art and Theater Arts students do not deserve to be placed in the correct classes or classes that were a reasonable size?
Who can best advocate for re-instating these classes in Spring Semester of '02 or at the latest, Fall of the following year? PTSA President and Lightyear were not successful. The Fine Arts teachers and the Fine Arts coordinator were not successful. But in the instances where parents got involved (in the cases of Orchestra and Visual Art), classes were saved and funding was "found."