The award-winning music program at Oakland’s Claremont Middle School is a big source of pride; the band started up a few years ago with only eight students, and its ranks quickly swelled to over 100. I wrote about this success story last year.
That’s why some families were dismayed to see “music exploration” printed on their child’s class schedule last week, instead of band or orchestra. Some said they were told at orientation that band would be part of the after-school program from now on, instead of a class, but no one seemed to know what “music exploration” was. The Oakland teachers union got involved.
“Clearly, this is not going to stand,” said Betty Olson-Jones, the union president.
The 400-student middle school is undergoing some big changes this year: a new principal, Kenya Crockett, a new bell schedule, and “houses,” or groupings of students within each grade-level.
So why mess with something that’s working?
The school’s leadership has apparently decided not to, according to a memo given out at Monday night’s PTA meeting that says band will continue to be a part of the school-day program:
Claremont Middle School
PTA Executive Board Meeting
Claremont Middle School moved into the current “House” structure in an effort to best equitably serve each and every CMS student. The “House” structure allows students to receive instruction from teachers which the State of California has recognized as “Highly Qualified” in each academic period of the day. This structure also allows space for cross curricular instruction to occur more easily and supports rigorous data to be exchanged by all “House” teachers. Through the “House” system we will be able readily utilize EDUSOFT and run multiple Cycles of Inquiry throughout school year.
Claremont Middle School will offer BAND and ORCHESTRA, during the regular school day throughout this entire school year.
Claremont Middle School will offer LUNCH one period per day, everyday. This change was made in an effort to better provide consistent supervision by Claremont staff members. Through cutting down on the number of lunches, our schedule now allows for more staff and Claremont administration to directly provide supervision and a adult presence during the lunch period.
The Claremont Middle School administration is currently seeking to bring on a computer animation teacher. …