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Monday, January 25, 2016

Changes* revisited

Plus ca change!
The more things change, the more things stay the same.

You've read previously about my travails and issues with the Norristown (PA) Area School District and their mishandling of various things, from too few seats at the newly constructed stadium, to the attempted dismantling of the performing and visual arts departments, to the ineptness and bumbling of the superintendent, the human resources department, and school board. I point to the recent posting for an extra-curricular marching band director (http://www.nasd.k12.pa.us/Page/116 for those playing along at home), and offer Dr. Samuels, Mr. Smith (NAHS principal) and anyone within earshot the following questions for consideration:

1) While the job description does state "...(the successful candidate) will function as a team member of the NAHS Music Department" it goes on to say that the successful candidate "will report to the NAHS Principal or designee".  Who is that designee?
2) "Lead staff preparation and pedagogical employment of a technique program for wind and percussion instruments". Can we assume that this is done in cooperation with existing NAHS instrumental music staff?  A common terminology when dealing with students across ensembles is desirable, and anyone who joins the staff should assimilate. 
3) "Order, organize, and maintain all equipment and supplies". Is this a line item in the existing instrumental music program's budget or will this be independent of that budget? What is the funding source?
4) "Select appropriate competitive circuit(s) and complete all necessary paperwork for chosen circuit(s)". Wow. This leaves a lot unsaid.

For those who aren't familiar with the various high school marching band "competitive circuits", here's a brief (and I hope accurate) list of organizations. Typically, high schools and colleges host competitions with classifications based on band size and school enrollment.
h    http://www.pimba.org/pimba/site/main/ Pennsylvania Interscholastic Marching Band Association
      http://www.njatob.org/                            Tournament of Bands
      http://www.musicforall.org/who-we-are/bands-of-america Bands of America
      
      Corps-style marching is the predominant style in these organizations.
     
      In my limited research, I only know of one state--Texas--which has a competitive division for show-style bands. There may be others--North Carolina for one, and Illinois has been considering it--but the style first popularized in HBCUs has made its way down to the high schools, and there are those who will at some point organize a competitive circuit for show bands here in the Northeast.

      5) "Work with Music Boosters to establish a student quota"
      Please elaborate.
      6) "Attend monthly Music Boosters meeting...Attempt to contact the family and redirect all communication to the Music Booster officers in instances where financial contributions have not been received from students"
      Again, I have to ask--what is the funding source? If this is referring to fundraising by the students and their families, how much is expected?
      7)  "Date Posted: July 30, 2015". Really? Posted where? It's not on PAREAP, and it hasn't been on the district website until now. What does the PA Department of Education require regarding job postings?

      I really hate to be Debbie Downer here, but we expect better of our district administration.
 Onward and upward--I hope.

*--David Bowie, Hunky Dory, 1971.
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