To the Editor:
As parents of recently graduated Newtown High School Orchestra students, we were shocked to hear that one of the orchestra teacher positions is being eliminated at Reed School. This position has been cut from the proposed budget for Reed Intermediate School’s upcoming year. The elimination represents a decline in the school population, and the ripple effect is a reduction in the number of students in the orchestra and band programs.
On February 1, the Newtown Board of Education approved the 2018-19 budget, thereby approving the loss of this orchestra teacher position.
So why should we care and what effect does this have on the quality of the Reed Orchestra program?
*There are only two orchestra teachers at Reed. By losing one position, it will now be the responsibility of the other teacher to teach all of the orchestra students. Students will lose individualized attention, since there will be little or no time for one teacher to dedicate to students’ needs.
*Orchestra teachers usually collaborate before every orchestra concert, or preparing for events such as “Music Expo Night” and “String Jam Fest.” All of this will be a tremendous burden on one orchestra teacher’s shoulders.
*Orchestra programs in surrounding districts begin lessons at an earlier age. Maintaining music staffing at Reed Intermediate School is crucial if we want our students to be competitive when they go to regional, state, and college auditions.
What can you do to stop this loss from becoming a reality?
*Attend upcoming budget meetings to state your concerns.
A public hearing is scheduled for this Thursday, February 15, at 7 pm, at the Newtown Municipal Center, 3 Primrose Street.
*Contact Anne Uberti, Reed School’s principal, and share your feelings about this budget cut.
*Contact Michelle Hiscavich, director of music and fine arts for Newtown Schools. Let her know that this loss is unacceptable.
*Contact Reed School’s PTA and let them know your concerns for your child’s orchestra program and the future success of your child’s orchestra instruction.
*Send your thoughts via The Newtown Bee editorial page and other newspapers.
Let us speak up now and make our voices heard that this is unacceptable in keeping intact the wonderful orchestra program in the Newtown schools, especially for our youngest musicians in Reed Intermediate School.
Cate Gosselin and Denise Rodriguez
Coordinators of Newtown Orchestra Parents Group
20 Elana Lane, Sandy Hook February 14, 2018