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Catalyst Chicago Magazine - News and Analysis

Monday, June 14, 2010

The scoop

At the meeting; the district gave information and requested our input on the new ALC instrumental music program and we gave it.

  1. half hour lessons
  2. more than one teacher at each location; at least 2 teachers at 4 hours each
  3. phone number for the new program asap -- transparency is a must
  4. quality control, and performances
  5. instrument rental and collection details
  6. start a pilot program first then expand
  7. teach fewer instruments 
  8. recruitment can not be limited to after school
The district could not, or did not have, answer these questions:
  1. What is the total budget?
  2. Who are our partners?
  3. Who will be hired?
  4. Who will do the hiring?
  5. Are music experts involved with the above decisions?
  6. If we spps music teachers give input will it be used?
  7. If we spps music teachers give input will it be paid for?
  8. How will quality control be implemented?
  9. If the layoffs are stopped will those music teachers positions be restored or will they become TOSA's? 
  10. How is one TOSA going to create quality control for 30 plus weekly locations and 3 Saturday locations? 
  11. Will schools that retain daytime instrumental music also have an ALC instrumental program?
  12. How will this program be integrated with the elementrary school experience?
  13. How to maintain continuity.
  14. Explain what is our, the remaining music teachers, or the perspective ALC music teachers buy in?
  15. What is the time line to have all details in place?
  16. How do you address all the different needs of students who want and need instrumental music?
  17. How many teachers will be in each location and how long will they work?
  18. Who will recruit and when? 
  19. How will instruments be distributed and collected, inventories maintained and protected?
  20. What are the student costs?
What did we find out?

  1. The $150,000.00 figure will not be used for instruction but will be use to find outside partnerships. Also it may or may not be used to fund the new TOSA ALC instrumental music director. 
  2. Instrumental music will be part of several different enrichments added to ALC to give it more variety. (So whats bad for the schools is good for ALC)
  3. There may be a partnership ahead (My bet--MacPhail -others say Walker West)
  4. ALC will fully fund the program for its complete length.
  5. ALC requires fully licensed staff, but they might be able to bend the rules a little. ( Bus funding requires licensed staff to teach)
  6. Local control of the program will devolve to each particular ALC school lead teacher.
  7. The program will take place at all ALC locations and at 3 different locations on Saturdays.
  8. I infer that the program will not be centralized.  In any event the ALC instrumental music director will be hard put to create uniformity at so many locations at once. 
  9. The ALC music TOSA has not yet been hired.
    Sorry to say folks I was almost in tears after the meeting.  SPPS have no plan just space and an idea and limited funding. That might be enough yet it is not clear that there is any cost savings to be realized from this proposal other than the use of the different ALC budget line (An anonymous source mentioned the SPPS was looking for volunteer music teachers).  Nor is it clear that a viable replacement standards based music program up and running by September can be developed in this manner. 

    Paul said this new program is a joke as there is no workable model to be found. Or its a strategic maneuver to make it look as if SPPS were keeping the instrumental music program intact.

    Stay tuned for more info.


    Dr. Phil

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