Letter to the Editor: Arts de-emphasized in Capital district

Capital School District residents need to have certain facts before April 3.

As you may be aware, the Capital School District wants to have a referendum to build two new middle schools. Once school is to be a STEM school (Science, Technology, English and Math). The others school is to be an arts school. That sounds very encouraging until you see how the arts are no longer important in the Capital district.

Being a retired band director in Capital after 40 years, I’ve seen the drastic decline. John Rinker and I would put 250 Central Middle band members on the street. Now I think there may be about 75 in the CMS seventh- and eighth-grade bands. Paul Dunford came to the Capital district office and decided the periods at CMS needed to be lengthened.

He accomplished this by increasing the periods about 11 to 13 minutes longer and eliminating two of the seven periods each day. English, math, science and social studies are given four of the five periods. This new schedule costs students two electives per day, where they could choose three, now they only may have one.

The electives; Visual Arts, Consumer Sciences(Home Ec), Computer Science, Agriculture, Band, Chorus/ Strings, PE / Health and Foreign Language have been practically removed.

In a meeting with Mr. Dunford, I questioned how he thought that would impact those programs. His response was to make Central Middle go to an A-B-C schedule, permitting three electives as before, however the elective classes meet every third day. Previously, we in the related arts would see the students 20 times a month. Now with this new schedule we only see the students six times a month.

My undergraduate and graduate professors emphasized the importance of repeating instructions, students need to hear it often. How can students have a chance of acquiring and retaining skills if they see that teacher six times a month? Do you really expect a foreign language to be learned with six classes a month?

The question of the Arts school is, “who will attend the school?” The district may respond with, “look what we offer at DHS.” I will admit there is an Academy of Arts and a full-time band, choral and strings teacher. However, at CMS there is only one band and one choral/strings teacher. At WHMS there is only one band, one choral/general music and a strings teacher that has been contracted from the Delaware Music School to come one day a week to teach beginning and second year strings students.

This show that Capital is “top heavy” because what is happening at DHS now is the result from what had happened in the middle schools. I sub at the high school and many students share their concerns that incoming freshmen do not seem to have the skills these upperclassmen had when they were freshmen. With only six classes a month, there is no foundation at the lower levels.

The district claims this will be a magnet school, drawing students from other districts. Don’t depend on others to attend if you can’t guarantee your own students will be interested in attending. With a history of the unimportance of arts in the district, why would others want to come?

Capital residents, you are being sold a school that will raise taxes, but has also proven as unimportant by the actions of Capital district administration. I have not addressed the waste of money which are I made obvious at a school board meeting last October. That is for another time.

Eugene M. Moore

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