The Ottumwa Courier


April 20, 2013

E-B-F reduces hours for para-educators


Student Emma Haselhuhn told the board that her elementary school teachers inspired her to a love for music, which led to her to a leadership position in high school band.

“I remember being in elementary school and being so mad that I couldn’t go to music more than twice a week. I beg of you to not cut that music position,” she said.

Parent Linda Lunsford told the board that cuts such as these would stretch teachers too thin. She noted that studies show that music enhances the learning process and helps under-achievers.

Parent John Van Zante added that reduced fine arts classes may cause students to lose focus, which could result in more behavior issues when students can’t express themselves in creative ways.

While parent Robert Farnum told the board that the successful E-B-F music program draws families to the district saying, “That program is a magnet for open enrollment. This may seem like a very small cut on paper, but the effect will be magnified greatly through the years.”

Curriculum Director Joellen Breon told the board that teachers are requesting more time to teach core classes and this proposed schedule will provide that time and reduce travel time for special teachers shared between buildings.

Friedman took issue with associating each class with a certain day of the week. For example, one elementary building will have music only on Mondays. He noted if there happens to be snow days or holidays a couple Mondays in a row, students at that school might go without a music class for weeks at a time.

However, Breon responded that teachers and parents want consistency, they want to know which day of the week students will have physical education, for example, so that they know how to dress for that day.

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