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Friday, October 19, 2007

Arts in SPS

This article appeared in this month's Seattle's Child magazine. From the article:

"Bucking this trend, Seattle Public Schools has made the first step in a profound commitment towards ensuring that an arts education is fully fostered and safe-guarded. After a multi-year collaboration, in partnership with the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and the Seattle Arts Commission Education Committee, Carri Campbell was hired in July as the district’s new visual and performing arts manager.

Campbell will head a leadership team, hired over the next five years, comprised of four arts “coaches” representing each major art discipline – Visual Arts, Music, Dance and Theater. The search for the first position – a music coach – is in progress, and the second coach will be hired in the next two years."

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay, so we'll have four new administrators, or is that five? Can I ask, why are we hiring more administrators, when there are music/art/theater *teaching* positions that are getting funded through parent donations? Why can't we do without the coaching, and just hire more teachers (or at any rate pay the ones we've got)? Seems to me *that* would constitute "fully fostering" arts education more than having people in central admin with arts titles would.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

I am torn on this one. Like Helen Schinske, I think this is a huge monetary investment, that I would rather see go directly into classrooms. However, I also recognize that arts in our schools are not offered consistently. Each school has a lot of autonomy in the arts that they offer and how in depth they offer them. Some schools offer much more than others and some offer the same thing (band) but one program is much stronger than the other. Example: Eckstein has a nationally award winning band that drives their entire program, while Hamilton only offers band as an after school "fun" class.

So, I am torn. Perhaps there is a middle ground. Maybe we just hire one art director, to align our entire arts program and make sure that their are equitable options or at least a base line of options available at EVERY school. This will be especially important if we are limiting choice.

Anonymous said...

I am an art teacher and know they have already hired art director already. We do not need more managers and directors in Central. The trend in the new administration is to surround themselves with more people who do little work. So many at the top do very little, they pass the work to the workforce who are over-worked and underpaid. We are being overwhelmed with work. It is time this leadership supports us at the school level by refraining from continuing to grow the senior leadership, which does not do the real work.

It is time the auditors, audit this leadership and their abilities because it seems they are searching for someone to make decisions instead of making the decisions themselves. STOP HIRING expensive people who do nothing for our kids!

Anonymous said...

Off the subject a bit, I apologize, but also in Seattle's Child was Educating Mom's column:

http://www.seattleschild.com/1007-3.htm

I miss her blog, but I've found this one now and enjoy the discussions. I learn a lot here. Thank you all for your work.

Anonymous said...

These are not four administrators. These are coaches on teacher contracts who will become the backbone of a rededication to the arts in SPS, who have arts teaching experience and who will help to bring together all those striving to have the arts viewed as essential for all students.

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me what exactly the coaches will do? Our school, like many others, pays for almost all of our art/music/drama via fundraising. Our teachers and directors are not District employees. Will the coaches provide any services to schools that have art and music that isn't paid for by the District? I can't see what the process would be. Will they work with classroom teachers? I don't see how they could work with parent volunteers and non district employees, am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

According to the article, the coaches are to support classroom teachers in incorporating arts into the general curriculum. They will not, it appears, teach students directly, which is why I referred to them as administrators.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Maureen's question is valid. What about all of the arts that are not school sponsored, but rather, parent/pta sponsored. Our parents pay for band. How will the music director address this? Will they work with the band director that we pay for? Or, is this addressed to help schools that don't have band, get up and running and offer it??

Anonymous said...

I don't get the impression that band directors and such are relevant to this plan -- it's all about the classroom teachers using arts to support the curriculum (e.g., listening to Chinese music as part of a unit on China, that kind of thing -- nothing wrong with it at all, but not the same thing as learning an instrument for oneself).

My hunch, and I could be totally wrong here, is that they're gearing up for the possibility of a WASL test in the arts, which has supposedly been in the works for a while.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

I think the plan is for the arts to be assessed through a state-developed set classroom-based assessments that will be reported back to the state. That kind of "WASL" will require training for teachers to learn how to "score" students consistently. That will probably be one of the responsibilities of the new teacher coaches.