More time for music, art and gym?Published 11:25am Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Two principals presented the Albert Lea school board with a possible plan for creating equal art, music, gym and media time in the four elementary schools.
It has been an ongoing issue in the district. The district is mandated to give teachers 50 minutes of prep time per day, and historically students spend those minutes with a specialist, the district’s term for an art, music, gym or media teacher. Because of scheduling conflicts, the minutes per week for each specialty are not the same across the elementary schools. A committee was made to look at the issue, and principals Karen Zwolenski and Eric Hudspith presented a possible plan to the school board at its regular meeting Monday.
“The current reality — it’s inconsistent,” Zwolenski said.
She continued to say there are many discrepancies including large class sizes and that only two of the four elementary schools have scheduled time for media. Some of the Zwolenski and Hudspith’s findings:
• Sibley and Lakeview elementary students get an average of 83 minutes per week of gym, music and art time. This means they receive no media instruction.
• Hawthorne and Halverson students get an average of 63 minutes per week of gym, music, art and media.
• Parents at all schools would like their children to have more gym and media time.
• Nationally and statewide it’s recommended for students to have 150 minutes of gym time per week, 100 minutes of both art and music per week and a fulltime media teacher in a building with 500 students.
The proposed plan to standardize specialist time in the district would include:
• 100 minutes of gym time per week, 75 minutes of both art and music per week, and media to be team taught during regular classroom time and to be integrated with lessons.
This plan would increase all elementary students’ gym time. It would be a small increase in art and music for Hawthorne and Halverson students and a small decrease in art and music for Sibley and Lakeview students.
Director of Human Resources and Technology Jim Quiram said the proposal would mean an increase in the equivalent of two fulltime staff, which really means that the plan could add more work time to parttime staff. He said the board indicated Monday they should continue planning the possible change that could start this fall.
“We want to make it consistent across the district for each building,” he said.
Quiram also said the school board had previously said they would like to see more gym time for all students, which is something echoed in a parent survey.