Plea for more music teachers at Jonathan Alder

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(Posted May 16, 2018)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

Two mothers of band students at Jonathan Alder Local Schools made a plea at the May 14 school board meeting for more music instructors.

Hilary Frambes presented figures showing that 249 students were involved in band in the 2014-15 school year. That number is projected to be 444 next school year. The figures include students in fifth grade through 12th grade.

Frambes said, “(Student musicians) don’t fit on the Monroe (Elementary School) stage, and at Canaan, they’ve outgrown the band room for practice.”

As for her children’s involvement in the music program, Frambes commented, “It’s what gets them to come to school.”

“A request for a full-time music instructor was not approved by the administration,” said Megan Shoat, the mother of two young children who are just beginning to play instruments.

Assistant Superintendent Misty Swanger pointed out that two years ago, the district added a half-time position by hiring Jessica Lewis.

Among those rehired at the May 14 meeting were Justin Hennig as band director and Lewis, Nicole Manring and Scott Jones as assistant band directors.

Shortly after the last bell rings for the 2017-18 school year, several Jonathan Alder teachers will return to the classroom for the third annual Summer Innovation Workshop.

The two-week program begins May 29 and offers courses on a wide array of topics, from writing to school law.

“So far we have 87 of our teachers signed up, taking two or more programs,” Swanger said.

The program is not limited to Jonathan Alder teachers. Teachers from nearby districts also can participate.

Swanger also reported on the status of various funding sources, noting that federal funds for some programs have decreased, especially Title IV-A which was used for student support.

“We used the $10,000 for mental health support,” she said, adding, “There are rumors it will increase. We’ll have to wait and see.”

She also said the 21st Century programs have ended, but she has applied for a new round for Monroe Elementary.

“These funds now are for five years and a step down every year,” Swanger explained. “The money can only be used for before-school and after-school programs.”

At the beginning of the meeting, Kim Miller-Smith with the Ohio School Boards Association presented Tom Bichsel and Steve Votaw with certificates of appreciation for their 15 years of service on the Jonathan Alder school board.

The board’s next meeting is June 26.

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