I was curious about how other districts handle the supervision of art and music. I wanted to either feel better about what our district has proposed, or else prepare myself for how bad it could be. You might be interested in what I found:
Of the Top 20 NJ high schools (according to New Jersey Monthly in 2008):
10 have combined Art/Music Supervisors
7 have separate Supervisors of Art and Music
2 are unknown (couldn't find the info)
Of the 15 high schools attended by award winners in the 2009 duCret School of Art Juried High School Art Show for New Jersey high school students:
9 have combined Art/Music Supervisors
2 have separate Supervisors of Art and Music
4 are unknown
I wanted to compare districts of 5,000+ students (similar to our size), but I couldn't find a quick way to isolate that list. I also considered looking at all the J districts, but I decided to focus on high-performing districts, in whatever quick way I could identify them. (And, yes, I know I've criticized the NJ Monthly rankings in the past but for this purpose, we can assume that the schools on the list are among the best in the state.)
I realize that Ridgewood is special and what we have built over the years in terms of art and music is special. I am deeply concerned that what we have will not remain special. I am certain that in the best of all possible worlds, having separate supervisors of visual art and performing arts is preferred. My little bit of research is unscientific, but I think it shows:
A) Combined art/music supervision may not be a guaranteed "death sentence" for the arts
B) There are other variables that determine the success of art and music programs (and the success of students in those programs)
C) Ridgewood would not be going out on a limb alone if these positions were combined.
Obviously this doesn't answer all the concerns and worries. Just because some other schools have been successful, doesn't guarantee we will be. But likewise, there's no guarantee that our quality will go down, either. The predictions spoken about at Board of Ed meetings (and, regretfully, to students during school hours) are coming from fear -- I understand that. Maybe fear -- as one of the great motivators -- can help drive all of us come up with creative ways to cope.
Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org