Band trips should be school-sponsored

Published Oct 16, 2013 at 11:39 am (Updated Oct 16, 2013 at 11:39 am)

Last week I attended Bethel Park School District’s Pennsylvania Common Core Standards meeting for parents/families. At that meeting, Ms. Aloi Rose, Dr. Stark and Ms. O’Rourke all spoke to these facts concerning our students:

• need to be more competitive in their preparation.

• need skills to connect in the real world through experiential learning.

• need skill-based instruction in order to know what they can do, persevering, processing, using tools and knowing why.

• The state has established certain bench marks for learning, but Bethel Park expects to “be” and “do” more in order for our students to be successful in college and on the job ... leading them toward success.

• Our rigorous curriculum will challenge every child to move past adequate yearly progress and grow toward successful achievement for life beyond school.

Here are the facts about the high school band trips:

• The rigorous curriculum of the music department teaches our students on a collegiate level, and challenges each to go beyond expectations.

• Students learn in class and practice continuously after school, evenings and weekends for the trip each year.

• The trips are national competitions.

• These competitions include rigorous expectations, evaluations and practices while the students ready themselves for each event.

• Our students continually amaze with the level of performance, musicality, expertise and skill.

• They represent themselves, the district, and the community with pride, dignity and honor.

• They bring home more “superior” and “excellence” trophies, awards and ratings than the school has room to display.

Unfortunately, none of these facts were included in the Almanac’s Sept. 27 article. To state that the band trip is “not related to the curriculum,” is false. Anyone who has witnessed the competitive performances knows the truth.

To state that the trips are “out-of-state excursions, tours or adventures” is misleading. It is an immense amount of work by our students, families, community and staff, particularly related to the expectations of the music curriculum. Many other high school groups travel, compete and go on “field trips,” through school sponsorship.

“The decision about the music department trip was made in order ‘to be consistent with the policy of non-curriculum based trips being non-school sponsored,’” by Ms. Aloi Rose is a mistake. If she could recall her words from Oct. 1: “clear goals ... confident and prepared students ... looking at the growth of every child toward success ...” Why not come on the band trip and see for yourself?

Loretta Uhlmann

Bethel Park

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