MEREDITH — The Inter-Lakes School Board unanimously agreed Tuesday night to adopt a proposed class schedule change for the high school which will allow the band, chorus and jazz band to hold practices during the normal school day.
Currently those groups are limited to one hour after-school practices, which are cut short by the need for half of their members to leave on the junior high school bus, which cuts practice time by 20 minutes.
The schedule change which will be implemented by the school administration will see the block schedule changed from four to five blocks by shortening the current "blocks" and creating a 40-minute ''Office Hours'' period each day which students will use for competency completion, mentoring and the band and music programs.
The proposed change was outline in a report to the board by I-L High School Senior Hannah Crosby and was accompanied by a petition signed by over 100 high school students supportive of the change.
Crosby, who was invited by Superintendent of Schools Mary Ellen Ormond to sit at the table with school board members during the discussion, wrote that her research had shown that sports practices meet for an average of 10 hours a week while the entirety of the music program meets for only three hours a week.
She said that participation drops in the music programs offered by the school district after middle school because there are conflicts on after school rehearsals and there is not enough time for the students to become well prepared as musicians.
Her proposal was strongly endorsed by Ormond, who said she couldn't think of a program she would like to see implemented more than the one proposed by Crosby. ''It brings us one step closer to helping kids direct their own learning path. It's one of the best steps forward we can take at the high school.''
High School Principal Patti Kennelly wrote a memo outlining how the so-called ''Office Hours'' program would work and said that she could see great benefits to adopting the program, which she said would meet the needs and interests of all students, not just those in the music programs.
She said that all of the details haven't been finalized and that she is sure that adjustments will be required along the way but that is a worthwhile program which will work well for the students and the staff.
School Board Chairman Richard Hanson said that he was at first reluctant to bring the proposal to a vote at the meeting but realized that it meant either scheduling a summer board meeting or delaying its implementation into the next school year.
He congratulated Crosby for her proposal and said that ''it may bring significant positive change in our high school.''
Her proposal was strongly supported by fellow students and parents who turned out for the meeting.
I-L student Allie Smith said the school's jazz band needs the change in order to attract more students and said that the way the schedule change works will depend on each student's needs.
Another student, Jackson Williams, said that his research had shown that over 60 percent of the students wanted to see arts programs like music offered during the school day.
Crosby wrote that her research had shown that other schools in the area like Laconia, Franklin, Moultonborough and Kennett all have music classes during the normal school day.
Hannah Crosby, Inter-Lakes High School senior, discusses a proposed schedule change at Inter-Lakes High School which would add a 40-minute period which would allow band and chorus practice during the school day. The Inter-Lakes School Board unanimously adopted her proposal. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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