CK School Board might consider dropping elementary school band

"Along with field trips and earthquake-preparedness drills, non-instructional music programs were identified Wednesday evening as disruptions to instructional time for elementary students.Allen Hughes, director of elementary education, briefed the Central Kitsap School Board on steps being taken to ensure students were making the most of their six hours of instructional time per week.Breaking the average school week into 1,500 minutes per week, Hughes informed the board that elementary students participating in band are pulled out of other classes for 30 minutes per day for rehearsal.The major difficulty with this, Hughes said, is what to do with the students who don't take part in the non-instructional music programs. With about 60 percent of fifth-graders and 46 percent of sixth-graders participating in band, schools have had to find ways to educate the remainder of the class.Woodlands Elementary, Hughes said, uses test results from the Washington Assessment of Student Learning exam to identify a student's specific needs, and then provides additional instruction in those categories. In the same manner, Clear Creek Elementary schedules time for students in the school's technology lab, where they are taught specific skills and topics.Board members Robert VanDenburgh and John Farbarik said that unlike high school - where band is an elective class - students were being pulled from classes designed to prepare them for the WASL.Ten percent of our available time per week is being utilized for instrumental band for 50 percent of our students, VanDenburgh said. This 10 percent could be put to more effective use for 100 percent of our kids. But others insisted band practice provided students with a way to relieve stress and learn more than basic educational skills.Is schooling today all about WASL, or is there more outside WASL, asked Steve Chappuis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.VanDenburgh suggested holding band practice either before or after school, so that it would not interfere with class time.Hughes and Chappuis told the board they would present alternative approaches to the non-instructional music programs at a later meeting."

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