March Right Up
Bubaloo’s grade 9 music class was cancelled. One of the three classes that is an option for the mandatory arts credit grade 9 students are required to take.
It started off as a class with 4 kids in it and I was surprised they offered it in the first place. More kids joined during the first two weeks of school bringing the total to 7, but that wasn’t enough, and 1/4 of the way through the semester it was cancelled. Aside from what I think is a huge administrative mess up (how can you shut a class down this late in the year and then feed kids into alternate classes and expect them to catch up on 1/4 of the curriculum), this was a disaster for us.
See, for the first time in his life, Bubaloo actually likes going to school and is engaged. He’s doing his work, he’s putting in some discretionary effort, and we’re not having any behavioural issues. Music is a big part of why he’s successful. And that was our intention with the high school we chose to enroll him in and the course plan that was mapped out to be a “high engagement” program to keep him from dropping out of school.
We knew that we had 24 hours to have the music decision reversed. We found out at 3:30 pm mid-week about the cancellation. Only Otto had a work meeting and I was solo parenting. We figured it out, we emailed (re: I nagged Otto who is brilliant at this sort of thing) and less than 24 hours later we had a solution. It’s one that will work for our family, but it’s not ideal in the larger sense.
Since Bubaloo is enrolled in the learning disabilities program, he will now do music theory independently in the resource room and on certain days her will work on percussion with an Educational Assistant. He will still get to play music, the teacher:student ratio is even better, and he’s still engaged in school. Score one for the advocate mommies.
My problem is that the six other kids in the class aren’t IPRCed and have not been given this option. They won’t get grade 9 music and they’ll have to catch up on some other class. For the larger music program, a key feeder year for all other band programs has been cut. The music teacher, who is lovely, is also going to be personally impacted. He’s no longer a 1.0 FTE, has been reduced to a 0.6FTE, and he has a baby on the way this week.
I feel good that we advocated and we got what our kid needed. We were able to achieve what was in HIS best interest.
But I feel pretty crappy that what we achieved isn’t in the other kids’, or the community’s, best interest. In fact, we actually unintentionally undermined it.