LETTER: Greenwich Public Schools 2020 Proposed Scheduling is Insufficient for the Performing Arts

Letter to the editor submitted by Cathy McGovern Dillon , Old Greenwich Resident, Musician, Music Educator, Alumni and Alumni Parent, Aug 19, 2020

I am deeply concerned that the proposed schedule for the Middle School Students has ALL Grades 6,7,8, students assigned to general music and there is nothing scheduled that would maintain the ensemble groupings for Band, Chorus, and Orchestra students. We must not allow a 3 year gap like this in the sequential PreK-12 curriculum of the performing organizations.

Those students are completely unsupported and deprived of the opportunity to continue in their selected specialty areas. In the event that the district needs to jump back to online only, those students will STILL be denied these special groupings because it is near impossible to think that the schedule will be changed mid year to accommodate them.

I believe that this scheduling of only General Music would be devastating to the upward trajectory and caliber of the performing groups because a lost year removes a level of achievement upon which the final product is built. Each area of our comprehensive and standards based music curriculum has a sequential and specific set of skills, achievements, and benchmarks. In future years, a lack of cohesive development of these MS students would be an enormous handicap towards achieving the excellence in Music and the Arts of which our students and community are so proud to display in the beautiful new auditorium at GHS.

For social emotional learning there is no better way to foster leadership, respect, cooperation, sensitivity, expressiveness and communication skills than maintaining one’s membership in a sequential, well established, mixed grade level, multi year stable program that already exists: Band, Chorus and Orchestra. We must not allow a schedule that would dismember the performing groups for Gr 6,7,8 as they are at the center and the heart of the PreK-12 program.

Sincerely, Cathy McGovern Dillon

Old Greenwich Resident, Musician, Music Educator, Alumni and Alumni Parent