Comments by rational

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Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to contacs1:

No, the teaching methods you listed are not new. Ft Craig has been doing them successfully for 13 YEARS!!!! They are new and progressive compared to the old methods of teaching, which the other elementary schools still cling to. Sure, the other schools have taken bits and pieces of the ITI framework and used them to probably a noticable improvement to the "old ways." You can thank Ft Craig for that - without Ft Craig showing that new can work, you wouldn't have that in the other schools. However, this school system and many like it refuse to let go of the past and embrace what works and reinvent teaching to the 21st Century.

As you state in a later post, you've seen integrated teaching work. So you can't say it's ineffective when your youngest learned multiplication tables ahead of everyone else because of integrated teaching.

I don't thank Ft. Craig for integrated teaching. It just naturally occurs when teachers in the same building have a mutual respect for each other, time to talk to each other and desire to cooperate. It can occur through a natural conversation of "hey, we're doing X this week can you reinforce it in your class?" That attitude I sense in your post of "we're better because we do the Ft. Craig way" just really rubs me the wrong way. I think its great to have pride in your school but this pride in Ft. Craig seems to have evolved to superiority. That superiority undermines the cooperation. I think cooperation really important in a school system.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

I don’t know what they are using the statistics for. At MIS, band, orchestra or study hall are the only 3 choices for one period. The kids who chose band/orchestra are already doing well in their course work. If they are not, they need to be in study hall. So band/orchestra isn't increasing achievement scores. Their achievement in years past gives them to ability to choose music.
In response to your other question, I personally think that 3 days/week for band is great at 6th grade. It gives kids band exposure and also time to see what other subjects may interest them. Balance and variety of classes are great to the extent that the budget will allow. I don't think the amount of time in a particular class matters as much as how effective students & teachers are with that time. Yes, you can be effective in 75 minutes of math. I got involved with this discussion because I took offense at negativity I was reading. I don’t think personal attacks are necessary and I think all the schools are doing a great job and deserve more recognition from the media than what they are receiving.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

I'm not discouraging them. I'm not saying don't be involved in music. I'm saying let's promote balance. Let's encourage a variety of activities. Music, band, orchestra, choir, listening to music, music theory, arts, 2D arts like drawing, painting, and 3D arts like ceramics, theater and Athletics, all kinds - you get my drift. Then while in those classes, purposefully draw academic connections. Learn songs that relate to the academic classroom - don't learn songs ONLY for the sake of performance or a concert.
Without studying the data, I still think that kids who are successful in music or who are drawn to music at the Middle School/HS Level are students who already have some math ability. The concept of octaves, and fractions comes easier to them or they were introduced to music before Public School even began. Its not to say that determination, motivation and hard work doesn't overcome ability at some point. Data probably suggests that the 50% of 8th grade students who are below proficient in math have been low since elementary school. If they are below proficient in 8th grade have they been gradually increasing or stayed flat? If you are at 20th percentile in 3rd grade but 30th percentile in 4th grade you are still below proficient but improving. Actually if you stay at the 20th percentile year after year you are improving but only at the same rate as you peers. I don't know what the specific data is on these kids and I would assume the public data doesn't identify specific children either - it would be a confidentiality issue.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

Music is such a vague/general term anyway. What specific music instruction strategies correlate to higher achievement? Do my kids remember the 50 Nifty United States if they sing the song? Yes. Does it help some kids stay focused if classical music is playing in the background? Yes. Instead of focusing only on band/orchestra why not look at specific teaching strategies that help achievement. Integrating music, art and PE into the academics seem to be a better way to boost achievement rather than a separate band class. There is a teacher at SHE that does basically open gym in the morning. But if a child wants to do pull ups, or shoot baskets instead of counting his shots or pull ups by ones, he tells them they have to count by 8's that day or whatever. So 3 pull ups would not be 1, 2, 3 but 8, 16, 24. My youngest child knew his multiplication tables by the end of kindergarten. Its not about having separate isolated music and arts instruction but integrating different teaching strategies into academics.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to sunshine:

Local statistics. 50% of 8th grade students below proficient in math. 30% of music students below proficient in math. 65% of nonmusic students below proficient in math.
Now maybe these numbers are just correlational, but would you really want to make all those music parents who moved her for Maryville City Schools programs angry enough to move away? They would take all those students who are talented in math and science with them. Then where would the schools be? Maryville City Schools will soon be accused of false advertising if they continue to chisel away at the music program.

If you continue to state that instruction in music CAUSES an increase in math/academic achievement you will be providing false advertising. It does not. There is another variable affecting the fact that 50% of 8th grade students are proficient in math and 70% of music students are proficient in math. I'd have to look at the demographics closer to make an educated guess as to why that may be the case. If music parents want to pull their kids out and go somewhere else, its their choice. I don't know where they are going to go.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

I'm not arguing that music instruction is bad. I'm just asking at what point and at what age have we maxed out the benefits received from music? The research above indicates that the most benefits are received if you introduce music instruction before kindergarten. If you are arguing that music should be offered because it causes an increase in academic areas, aren't there other ways/methods to improve math, science, reading scores? Are there more time efficient ways to improve the scores? It seems to me that 3 days/week for 6th grade is plenty. I do this this topic is severe enough to have parents at "cresendo pitch".

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

Since Bluefish writes that she is impressed with the data, here is some to think about. “Robert Cutietta, PhD says that research indicates that music instruction improves everything from foreign language skills to self-esteem. But the strongest findings show that if a child is learning to read notes while learning to read words, word-reading improves. Cutietta says evidence that music aids math abilities is not as conclusive.” All the research I can find shows correlations between math and music not causations. You may ask what the difference is between correlational and causational data. Here is an example. Data shows that murder rates increase during the same months that ice cream consumption increases. Can you conclude that eating ice cream CAUSES murders? NO, the data is correlational data. There is another variable affecting the increase in ice cream consumption and murders. The same is true between the music and math connection. There have been multiple comments about getting rid of Stephanie Thompson because she is not “progressive”. What exactly is progressive? There is new research that shows electric shock treatment causes an increase in math. Do you want that type of “new” progression in the schools? People have touted the new progressive teaching strategies of Ft. Craig. I challenge you to find any research that shows the integrated, thematic, multiage, whole language strategies of Ft. Craig are new and progressive. It is an effective strategy but not the only effective strategy nor is it new. Furthermore these strategies are used in all the elementary schools. The biggest advancement made in teaching has been the integration of smart technology and promethean boards into the classroom. Here is another article. http://www.blounteducation.org/2008/0.... Wasn’t Stephanie Thompson the Director of Technology? Don’t we want someone in charge with a background in implementing technology? I wish newspaper would cover more of the positive/progressive strategies going on at all the local schools – not just rumors and perceived facts. I also think they need to cover more activities at ALL the schools. Ft. Craig is not the only school with good students, good teachers and good things happening. They are all good and have unique qualities about them. As a community we need to value and respect ALL that they do for our children.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to 3rdShifter:

I agree with what you have said. My 5th grader was given the choice of band/orchestra or study hall. Not much of a choice. I'm ok with music in schools, just not a dominating position. I feel the same way in regards to sports.

The choice of study hall or band for 5th and 6th graders is a poor choice. My son was in band. While he was in band, he said the study hall kids got pizza and extra recess on Friday. His complaint was . . why should I have to work my rear end off in Phase 1 classes, have 1-2 hours of homework every night, and play band when the other kids can get their homework done in study hall and still have time to play? I realize that 5th grade logic is not the strongest, but from his perspective this was a BIG deal. His other complaint was that sometimes in band class he would sit for 1/2 or whole period doing nothing while the instructor worked with another group of instruments. I'm hoping that if band instruction is 3 days/week they might have another aid or instructor in there to help manage working with other sections or the class will be more focused to help them accomplish more in less time.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

I said the need for tutoring is minimal. I don't think it should be a policy that it HAS to be available at the beginning of the school year. If your child runs into issues, the teacher IS going to work with you. Every teacher I've encountered in this school system is great. If you have a problem, they will work with you to find a solution. I think the trick is to work with the teacher. I didn't blame anyone when my child got behind on his work. I didn't point fingers. I just asked for help. I think you catch my flies with honey than vinegar. The school WANTS children to be successful - they will work with parents.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to sunshine:

But they're not offered tutoring until they're failing their math class at the end of the first 9 weeks. People with money can go ahead and sign up with a tutor.
These must be the only comments you have read, because the facebook page and direction given to those concerned about music have directed NO comparisons be made to athletics.

That's not true. My son missed 1 week of school due to sickness in Late August/Early September. He was having trouble getting caught up with missed work. I asked if he could stay for tutoring and it was no problem. He said there was only one other person there. This was at MMS. He wasn't failing.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to sunshine:

There was only one mention of FC on this page until you came along. What you SHOULD be worried about, though, as an elementary parent is the crowding that will take place when four elementary schools become three. The high school will be in good shape as far as student population, but the elementary schools will still be in the gray or red zone. This is according to the MCS numbers. Be guided less by your fears and look at the facts.

There it is already, a lovely condescending "SHOULD". Am I not entitled to an opinion if it differs from yours? Even if they fire all the Ft. Craig teachers, which they are not going to do, the Ft. Craig population will add 2 students to each classroom.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

The Ft. Craig issue is not a dead issue. You are obviously still hurt by the decision and its driving your current/future distrust of the school board and decisions. The decisions do effect my children. My youngest is very disappointed that he won't get to spend 4th grade at Sam Houston. Furthermore, my biggest fear, (with the closing of Ft. Craig) is the integration of those kids into the other schools. I'm fearful that the Ft. Craig parents still have a chip on their shoulder. I'm fearful that they are going to come to school with an attitude of "should be doing". My child's teacher/principal is going to be consumed with justifying why they are doing what they are doing and its going to consume their planning time, effect their instruction time, rock their self confidence, and negatively impact my child's school day. Then, there will be the self-fulfilling prophecy and the "I told you this wouldn't work mentality." I just would like to see some cooperation in trying to make this work for the good of the whole system before the negative energy takes over. To state this is a dead issue is ignoring the elephant in the room. The comments I have read include rude personal attacks. But you are correct, I have not seen the FB page, but I have tried to keep up on the news in the media. But if sports wasn't "said" it doesn't mean its not an undercurrent of the discussion. Sincerely, Rochelle B.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

Having band, orchestra 3 days a week in 5th grade is A LOT more than most schools provide. I think kids at that age need to be exposed to a variety of educational opportunities. At that age, kids are trying to figure out what subjects, interests, sports they are passionate about. Passion translates to success/achievement or more motivation to succeed. I do not think the music parents have gone out of their way to avoid comparing athletics and music at least from what I've read. I do not believe that there is a cause/effect relationship between math & the arts. I think kids who have a natural math ability are naturally better in the arts and the two interests feed off each other. I think art class and geometry goes hand in hand like algebra and music class go hand in hand. I do think sports enhance a child's academic ability. The determination and perseverance you learn carries over to the classroom. If 75% of the reduced/free lunch kids are below proficient in math, I don't think its because they don't have enough music in their lives.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

I am defensive. I do feel that the opinions and news articles are very "Chicken Little" and dramatic. Even the headline of the article is very dramatic. I also feel the comments are polarizing. The comments lead me to believe that some parents believe that its them against the school system or music vs. athletics, or all Maryville City elementary schools vs. Ft. Craig. We're all on the same team trying to work together to provide the best education we can for our kids. So, let's work together. I am responsible for MY childrens' education. The teacher is responsible for the group of children in their classroom. The school board is responsible for the education of the children as a whole system. I am offended at the approach some of these commenting parents are taking not necessarily what they have to say. I am personally very happy with the system and the education my kids receive. I would guess that most of the parents who chose to put their kids in MCS are happy. That's not to say there isn't room for improvement. I think the comments I have read reflect a vocal minority. I think a lot of the parents expressing concern over music are still hurt because of the Ft. Craig decision. But in my opinion, the Ft. Craig approach to education is not a new approach. Whole language, looping, multi-age classrooms have been around for a long time. The approaches may change names every 10-20 years but they are theoretically the same. Teaching is an art, not a science. The Ft. Craig teachers will not lose the essence of how they teach within the elementary schools. Its not going to be a negative transition unless you make it one. I do not think athletics needs a bigger piece of the pie, just part of the pie.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

I agree wtih Rational1. I am disappointed and disgusted with the unprofessional, personal comments. I have 3 children in the Maryville School System all with varying sports, music and academic interests. I was involved in band when I was in school and my oldest child is in the band and wind ensemble. I had 20 years of piano lessons and was also an elementary school teacher before I had my own children. I support increased time on core academic subjects. The TCAP has become more difficult and the children need to spend more time in core subjects. I think the need for tutoring during the first 6 weeks of the year is minimal. Most children don't need or want to go to tutoring until they see that they aren't progessing as quickly as their peers. The need for tutoring won't become noticeable until 6-9 weeks into the school year anyway. The PE class should be as accessible as music classes. Any extracurricular music and/or sports can be after school and I support adequate facilities for as many varying activities that the budget will allow. I'm disgusted with the people who state that sports doesn't teach as much as music. I do think sports/athletics are very valuable to a school system. The values of hard work, dedication, perseverance, cooperation and TEAMWORK are NOT taught in many places outside of sports. You do NOT consistently learn those skills in music like you do in sports. You learn many life lessons playing sports that I think people take for granted. You learn how to work with others, use people's strengths and weaknesses to help the WHOLE team win. I think more people in the work place need to use the values taught in team sports. Music is valuable, but do not underestimate the traits gained from team sports.

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