Highline Public Schools currently offers excellent education in music to students in K-6th grade at the elementary school, with every student having access to general music and band at every school. In Highline middle schools, however, not every student has access to the same opportunities in music. Some schools offer band, choir, orchestra, and general music. Some schools only offer band. The offerings are not equitable across the district, and depending on where a student lives, that dictates what music opportunities they have access to. This also applies at the High School level, because (for example), if there is no middle school choir/orchestra, it is impossible to have a thriving high school choir/orchestra program. Middle School should be the gateway to music ensembles, but to many students in Highline, these gates are shut.
As 6th graders are entering middle school in the 2019-2020 school year, we have a unique opportunity to create equity in music offerings across all Highline middle schools without costing the district a single dollar. The Beginning Ensemble Pathways Committee has proposed that the funding being used to pay for 6th grade music classes (general music & band) be conserved and stay with those 6th grade students as they transition to middle school. If we continue to serve 6th graders with the same amount of funding (specifically, Full Time Equivalent or FTE) at the middle school level, we would create instant equity in the district in music education. Every school would have a minimum of 2 full time music teachers who would offer Band, Choir, Orchestra, and General Music at every school, with certain programs having several sections of classes to meet the educational needs of their students (e.g., Intermediate Band/Orchestra, Advanced Band/Orchestra, Men's Chorus, Women's choir, Mixed choir, Guitar, Drumline, Mariachi, etc.). If this FTE (funding) is not conserved with the 6th graders during this transition, that means we are removing opportunities from 6th graders in music, and actively continuing inequity in music education in Highline Public Schools.
It's not too late! These decisions are being made in the next weeks and months, and it is crucial that the district hears our voices that creating equity in music education is a priority for our community and our students. Every student deserves the right to choose the kind of instrument and ensemble they'd like to explore & grow in, no matter where they live. Sign this petition to show that you support this conservation of funding with 6th grade music students!
The Highline Arts Coalition
PS: If you'd like to join the Highline Arts Coalition to support Highline students in their education in the arts, find us on our website: highlinearts.org