Board to Discuss Future of BSD Music Program

The School District Board of Trustees meets Tuesday night.

The Burlingame Elementary School District Board of Trustees will discuss the future of music education in the district at its meeting Tuesday night.

Board members will hear a report on the recently changed music schedule at and discuss whether to keep the proposed program in place.

The change in the program occurred due to budget reductions, which resulted in decreased music staffing at the middle school. The decision of cutting music staff was made because of the small number of students in the program and a plan for students still being able to participate in music classes with fewer sessions.

In an e-mail message sent out by BIS principal Pam Scott, she emphasized her goal to maintain a broad array of music classes appealing to many students, but noted that the music teacher, Mr. Simon, now works part time at BIS and part time in the elementary schools, instead of full time at BIS.

Scott said she was left with the task of cutting back from five music classes to three during the school day. She said current enrollment in each class and availability of classes to each student were taken into consideration in the decision.

For the 2012-2013 school year, 6th grade Concert Band, Guitar and Choir will be offered at BIS during the school day, as they are open to all students.

Intermediate Jazz Band and Advanced Jazz Band will continue to be offered but meet outside the regular school day, like 7th/8th grade Concert Band and 6th grade Jazz Band have done in the past (and will continue to do so).

All 3rd, 4th and 5th level students will have chorus for 30 minutes each week and 4th and 5th graders are given the option of instrumental music.

The board meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the district office.


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Mary Gambertoglio September 11, 2012 at 05:37 PM
We need to realize how important music is to the well-rounded complete child/education. I do not agree with any of the cuts. There are other school districts on the Peninsula (San Mateo/Foster City, for example) that still offer music to all grades at all levels. They do not have any more money than Burlingame does, probably less. This all boils down to where our priorities lie and how hard we are willing to work in order to keep music.
Jeni September 11, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Here's a parent review of BIS from the website greatschools.org: "The Principal and Vice Principal are incompetent and fear the students. They have a significant lack of experience. They fail to communicate with parents and establish rules to bully the children. They have created an environment of fear because they cannot earn the respect of the students. They use a bullhorn to herd the students at lunch (take a look for yourself!) and are completely out of touch with the needs of the middle school student. The only reason they have a prayer of keeping their jobs is because the talk a good story to the PTA mommies who are more concerned about appearance than successful instruction. The test scores are good because of the K-5 instruction before middle school. The proper leadership would make this one of the top middle schools in the state. Otherwise a few key teachers carry the rest. —Submitted by a parent" Perhaps the administration of BIS should focus on the students' needs and offer more music classes. So sad to deprive students of taking these classes.
Miriam Finder (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 12:58 AM
To clarify, middle school classes are not being eliminated, rather moved to outside of the regular school day.
Jeni September 12, 2012 at 07:40 AM
That makes sense....but if a school goes from 5 music classes offered each day to THREE, then obviously those classes will get full and many students will not be able to take them as electives. Thus, school will not be as "fun" and those students will be deprived, as the above comment by Mary stated. Second, many students cannot meet afterschool, and that's what it is, afterschool/extracurricular. It's no different from extracurricular sports. Some students might have other afterschool commitments and won't be able to take the proposed intermediate and advanced jazz band classes. All students are "free" during the hours of 8-3, so taking a music elective during that time works for them. But many of them might not be able to take an afterschool class. So sad!


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