Music Program Review

The SD83 music program is long-standing and valued, reported external consultant Sandra Jones in her recent review of the SD83 music program. This report was presented to School District No. 83 Board of Education at its meeting on Tuesday at Pleasant Valley Secondary School in Armstrong.

Trustees, and a delegation from NOSTA, also voiced their support of the program.

The Board received Jones’ report for information during its meeting and, after some discussion, passed a recommendation that the senior leadership team consider re-instating the vice-principal position from the current district music co-ordinator, as per Jones’ recommendation.

The Board will be taking part in an in-depth education session on the music program and further considering the consultant’s report later this school year.

Christina McDermott

The music program was also the topic of a delegation from the North Okanagan-Shuswap Teachers’ Association (NOSTA) at the meeting. President Christina Mcdermott and past president Brenda O’Dell stated their support for the “robust, exemplary and unique music program” and shared the history of music specialists covering teacher preparation time was established in the 1988 collective agreement and was begun in earnest in 1991. In 2002 it was stripped from the agreement and was returned by Supreme Court decision in 2016.

“Any decision you make will need to consider that current language as it has been restored,” noted O’Dell.

See the delegation’s report here

The “deep dive” program report for the Board was completed by Jones, a former Superintendent of Schools and a music teacher. She was brought in to evaluate the program as educational paradigms have changed considerably, thus promoting the district to examine the effectiveness of the program as determined by stakeholders in light of the new curriculum and the SD83 Strategic Plan.

Increasing preparation time allotments (from 80 minutes a week at the outset of the program to 110 minutes in 2019/20) and the practice of preparation time being covered entirely by music specialists and whether some of this time might need to go to other curricular areas, especially in light of the new curriculum (provides for a unified Arts curriculum K-8/9 that includes a variety of areas of Arts experiences – Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts – rather than a single discipline. The new curriculum includes “traditional and contemporary Aboriginal arts and arts-making processes.”) was part of the considerations. The district music program should be recognized for its excellence generally. All stakeholders who were interviewed expressed a sense of pride in the work that is being accomplished.

Both parents and students were invited to provide commentary for this report in addition to teachers and principals. In her report, Jones noted that all parents and staff interviewed recognized and reported on the deep and treasured place this program holds in the school community and the community at large. Students reported generally positive experiences. “The significance of this informs much of the content of this review and cannot be understated,” she commented in her report.

Read the complete report here:


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