To The Daily Sun,
An open letter to the Laconia School Board, Laconia High School Principal Jim McCollum, Superintendent Dr. Phil McCormack, Laconia City Manager Scott Myers, the Laconia City Council, and Laconia Mayor Edward Engler:
The Laconia School District's motto is "Ensuring success with every student, every day, in every way." I feel that this motto is being overlooked for their agenda in the near future. There is too much money and focus spent on programs that can only affect a certain kind of student.
For instance, the high school recently built that very expensive football stadium, and a new track, and a brand-new weight room. The athletics programs in this district are impressive and needed for many students. However, the district also needs to dedicate and spend more time, effort, money and focus on the arts and music education.
Next year's plans affect a very successful music program that has brought Laconia community and school district a lot of pride over the years. A good number of students in the Honors or AP classes who require more academic rigor and bring such accomplishment to the district, are music or art students. The administration is planning on pushing band to an after-school activity program. Band, jazz band, guitar, and numerous other musical/arts offerings are being discontinued during the school day next year. They plan to offer high school band from 2 to 3:30, as a "fifth" block. This will be a huge mistake.
The students are too tired at that time of day to put the amount of focus needed to be successful in band and academics, too. This time period is after students have had a full day of classes. It is when the students often have other responsibilities, commitments, jobs, homework, etc. Or they are simply over-stimulated from working hard to achieve academic excellence.
It just won't work and is ridiculous to even consider such an endeavor. It takes a lot of focus to play an instrument. It is also statistically proven to help students achieve better in school when they are performing and learning music/arts on a regular daily basis. Music programs are a vital part of a child's education.
A majority of Laconia students are students who require more guidance and understanding when they struggle with the many issues that they face at home or in the community. These students deserve the motto to be working for them as well.
There should also be more time spent on the students who need guidance and understanding, who are not likely to be athletic or high honors students. Some face extreme challenges at home.
This is not the time to be dropping the successful band program which many children consider family. It is a highly valued program among many members of our community. The band represents the city of Laconia in numerous events and their influences reach as far as Florida or Toronto, Canada.
My children attended the Laconia School District and both were very involved in the music department, that fact was what made them such great students! They succeeded because of the music program and the expert and professional direction they received from music director, Debbi Gibson, daily.
Mrs. Gibson taught them how to push themselves to practice and work with the rigor and determination needed to succeed in the 21st century world. If not for the guidance and insight from these classes: symphonic band, jazz band, and pit orchestra they would not have been as successful as they were in their high school careers. They studied music and were taught about priorities and the value of personal integrity, professionalism, and dedication to excellence.
It is a disgrace and terrible shame that Laconia School District does not plan on keeping this important and crucial curriculum, plus time-honored tradition alive when Debbi Gibson retires next year. The music students are driven to be successful in music and academics during high school and throughout their lives as respectful citizens.
I would be more than willing to pay a higher tax as long as they kept important and proven, programs alive for our students in this city. It is wrong that the residents of Laconia don't have a lot more say in what happens in our schools.
I respectfully ask the powers that be: "Please reconsider these hurtful cuts and decisions." Thank you.
Rosemary A. Davis
- Category: Letters
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