Thursday, January 24, 2002

Glen Este, Amelia highs combine music

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION TOWNSHIP — Glen Este and Amelia high schools in the West Clermont Local School District will combine their music programs this fall and hold them after school.

        After much hand-wringing, the school board approved the change Monday night by a 3-2 vote. Board members Jo Ann Beamer, Barbara Hartman and Cynthia Petrey voted for the change; John Gray and Jeff Burgess voted no.

        The change is another step in the district's high school redesign, which begins for about 3,000 students this fall. Combining the music programs will strengthen them by bolstering the numbers of participants, the district says. About 25 percent of the students participate in music programs at each high school.

        This fall, the 10 small schools will be on different bell schedules, preventing music programs from being held during the day as they are now. This fall, band, chorus and strings will be held on alternating days in 90-minute blocks after school.

        “I have a lot of concerns about some of the logistics,” Mr. Gray said. “How are we going to handle all of the other activities?”

        “Students will have to make choices,” said Superintendent Michael Ward. “They cannot be in everything.”

        Still, some parents are unhappy their children won't be able to participate in music if it's after school.

        “My son likes to sing,” said Cheryl Weyant, whose son attends Amelia High School. “He won't be able to sing and play football.”

        Glen Este music students said they'd made it work if the programs are offered after school and spoke in favor of combining programs.

        Keeping programs at both schools would have resulted in a lopsided numbers of participants, said Mandy Walker, a Glen Este freshman.

        “You'll wind up with two mediocre programs instead of having one large, wonderful program.”

        Mr. Burgess wondered why the district couldn't try harder to schedule the programs during the school day, but some teachers warned that would require redesigning the small schools again.

        In other action, the board:

        • Voted 3-2 to keep the kindergarten entrance age at 5 years old on or before Sept. 30.

        • Postponed a decision on converting elementary and middle schools to trimesters of 90 days each. The board approved trimesters for the high schools in December.


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