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Survey: Back to School 2012

Mike Lawson • Archives • August 16, 2012

With preparations for the 2012-2013 school year already well underway, this mid-summer reader survey takes a look at some preliminary expectations of the coming year. Read on to see how music educators from around country weigh in on areas of concern and reasons for excitement, likely trends in funding, program size, and overall performance level, and tips for starting the year off on the right foot.

For the 2012-13 school year, I anticipate the number of students in my program will:

“We have had great success retaining students between middle school and high school this year.”

Greg Borsz

West Genesee High School

Camillus, N.Y.

 

“I’m in a shrinking district. By my numbers staying the same, I actually show an increase in percentage of school attending music classes”

Dan Johnson

Philomath High School

Philomath, Ore.

 

“As I recruit throughout various regions I have noticed that the programs are becoming smaller and the talent level is decreasing as well, especially in the inner city.”

Michael Hendrix

Grambling State University

Grambling, La.

 

For the 2012-13 school year, I anticipate the funding my program receives will:

“Most of the funding for the program has stayed the same over the past few years. The exception is an increase in the part of the budget that goes toward uniform cleaning costs, which is just now starting to catch up with the growth of the program in the last five years.”

Brent Barnett

Rutland High School

Rutland, Vt. 

 

“Although numbers are increasing, the amount allowed in the budget will most likely stay the same. To me, this is better than a cut. The students and I will have to work on making up any extra funds via fundraisers.”

Stacey Hartman

Seaford Middle School

Seaford, Del.

 

“We will see a 10-25 percent decrease from District. Last year’s cut was about 30 percent. Boosters are maxed out.”

James Irving

Tigard High School

Tigard, Ore. 

 

For the 2012-13 school year, I anticipate that the performance level of my students will be:

“Our performance level seems to increase with every passing year. I expect the level to jump up again this year since we were able to add another band director to our staff. It is going to be a happy year!”

Tony Luzzi

Searcy High School

Searcy, Ari.

 

“I have young groups across the board this year – what could be better than building them into something special?”

Marianne Ball

La Salle High School

Yakima, Wash. 

 

My biggest concerns for the 2012-2013 school year are:

“Funding is tight across the state, it seems. It is also very difficult to fundraise in a rural area up against other school activities, such as clubs and athletics. Eventually the well seems to run dry.”

Mike Palmer

Charles B. Aycock High School

Pikeville, N.C.

 

“I always worry about recruitment/retention. I want to graduate more then 10-15 percent of what started as 5th graders. I want to be better. Schedules always seem to change just a little – in order to make things better – but sometimes they don’t.”

Bill Thomas

Shawnee Mission West High School

Overland Park, Kan. 

 

“Despite having the largest class offered at our school, band is still not a scheduling priority. That’s why I volunteered to be on a schedule committee for the coming year. You can’t complain if you don’t offer any suggestions for improvement!”

Ross Schumaker

Mid-Prairie Middle School

Kalona, Iowa

 

For the coming school year, I’m most excited about:

“I think anyone who teaches long-term does it because of the students – they are a life source of energy, joy, and teen/tween issues. Being almost a 30-year veteran, I find my enthusiasm bounces back from the kids in their energy and enjoyment of music making. I thrive on the challenge of finding new ways to be super successful with the kids’ understanding and skills, plus new music is always exciting for us all.”

Anne M. Watts

Discovery Middle School

Granger, Ind. 

 

“The excitement of teaching beginners in their first few months never gets old – their enthusiasm is contagious!”

Carole Smith Grooms

Freedom Intermediate and Middle Schools

Franklin, Tenn.

 

“We received a small grant to implement some iPads into the band and orchestra curriculum for the fall. I look forward to that technology becoming available and to being able to pilot some new elements to the band program.”

Steve Stenzel

Lake Zurich Middle School North

Hawthorn Woods, Ill. 

 

Do you have any tips or suggestions for starting off the new school year on the right foot?

“It’s all about the attitude – be positive! Anything you screwed up last year is water under the bridge. You have the opportunity to make it better this year!”

Chuck Silloway

Mountain Ridge Middle School

Colorado Springs, Colo. 

 

“Take the time needed to get to know your students and set clear expectations for management of the classroom, behavior, and so on. Music should be secondary to establishing positive relationships and mutual respect during the first week or two.”

Mark McCrady

Whitefish Public Schools

Whitefish, Mt. 

 

“Establish clear goals for each ensemble and communicate those goals to each student. Plan for the entire year, not just for immediate start of the school year. Establish solid communication lines with parents and maintain those lines of communication.”

Glenn Northern

Penn High School

Mishawaka, Ind.

 

“This is my 33rd year of starting over. If there has been any success throughout my career, it has been because of developing relationships with students in as honest and open an environment as I can possibly make it.”

Casey Cropp

Rocky Mountain High School

Fort Collins, Colo.

 

“I’m in a shrinking district. By my numbers staying the same, I actually show an increase in percentage of school attending music classes” Dan Johnson Philomath High School Philomath, Ore.

 

“As I recruit throughout various regions I have noticed that the programs are becoming smaller and the talent level is decreasing as well, especially in the inner city.” Michael Hendrix Grambling State University Grambling, La.

 

For the 2012-13 school year, I anticipate the funding my program receives will:

“Most of the funding for the program has stayed the same over the past few years. The exception is an increase in the part of the budget that goes toward uniform cleaning costs, which is just now starting to catch up with the growth of the program in the last five years.” Brent Barnett Rutland High School Rutland, Vt. 

 

“Although numbers are increasing, the amount allowed in the budget will most likely stay the same. To me, this is better than a cut. The students and I will have to work on making up any extra funds via fundraisers.” Stacey Hartman Seaford Middle School Seaford, Del.

 

“We will see a 10-25 percent decrease from District. Last year’s cut was about 30 percent. Boosters are maxed out.” James Irving Tigard High School Tigard, Ore. 

 

For the 2012-13 school year, I anticipate that the performance level of my students will be:

“Our performance level seems to increase with every passing year. I expect the level to jump up again this year since we were able to add another band director to our staff. It is going to be a happy year!” Tony Luzzi Searcy High School Searcy, Ari.

 

“I have young groups across the board this year – what could be better than building them into something special?” Marianne Ball La Salle High School Yakima, Wash. 

 

My biggest concerns for the 2012-2013 school year are:

“Funding is tight across the state, it seems. It is also very difficult to fundraise in a rural area up against other school activities, such as clubs and athletics. Eventually the well seems to run dry.” Mike Palmer Charles B. Aycock High School Pikeville, N.C.

 

“I always worry about recruitment/retention. I want to graduate more then 10-15 percent of what started as 5th graders. I want to be better. Schedules always seem to change just a little – in order to make things better – but sometimes they don’t.” Bill Thomas Shawnee Mission West High School Overland Park, Kan. 

 

“Despite having the largest class offered at our school, band is still not a scheduling priority. That’s why I volunteered to be on a schedule committee for the coming year. You can’t complain if you don’t offer any suggestions for improvement!” Ross Schumaker Mid-Prairie Middle School Kalona, Iowa

 

For the coming school year, I’m most excited about:

“I think anyone who teaches long-term does it because of the students – they are a life source of energy, joy, and teen/tween issues. Being almost a 30-year veteran, I find my enthusiasm bounces back from the kids in their energy and enjoyment of music making. I thrive on the challenge of finding new ways to be super successful with the kids’ understanding and skills, plus new music is always exciting for us all.” Anne M. Watts Discovery Middle School Granger, Ind. 

 

“The excitement of teaching beginners in their first few months never gets old – their enthusiasm is contagious!” Carole Smith Grooms Freedom Intermediate and Middle Schools Franklin, Tenn.

 

“We received a small grant to implement some iPads into the band and orchestra curriculum for the fall. I look forward to that technology becoming available and to being able to pilot some new elements to the band program.” Steve Stenzel Lake Zurich Middle School North Hawthorn Woods, Ill. 

 

Do you have any tips or suggestions for starting off the new school year on the right foot?

“It’s all about the attitude – be positive! Anything you screwed up last year is water under the bridge. You have the opportunity to make it better this year!” Chuck Silloway Mountain Ridge Middle School Colorado Springs, Colo. 

 

“Take the time needed to get to know your students and set clear expectations for management of the classroom, behavior, and so on. Music should be secondary to establishing positive relationships and mutual respect during the first week or two.” Mark McCrady Whitefish Public Schools Whitefish, Mt. 

 

“Establish clear goals for each ensemble and communicate those goals to each student. Plan for the entire year, not just for immediate start of the school year. Establish solid communication lines with parents and maintain those lines of communication.” Glenn Northern Penn High School Mishawaka, Ind.

 

“This is my 33rd year of starting over. If there has been any success throughout my career, it has been because of developing relationships with students in as honest and open an environment as I can possibly make it.” Casey Cropp Rocky Mountain High School Fort Collins, Colo.

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