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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Don’t Eliminate Staples Arts Coordinator

To the Editor:

At the Jan. 26 Board Of Education meeting, there will be a discussion to eliminate the position of Arts Division Coordinator at Staples High School.

This position is crucial to not only the physical maintenance of the Staples High auditorium and arts facilities, but in maintaining awareness of the needs of the arts when it comes to fiscal and policy decisions. 

For unexplained reasons, the Arts Division Coordinator is the only division coordinator position being proposed for elimination.

The administration intends that all questions regarding the arts would be decided and coordinated by an as yet unnamed assistant principal. 

This proposal means that all those who teach music, drama and visual arts would be evaluated by an assistant principal who may not have experience or training in the arts. 

It also means that the arts would have no representation at the weekly division coordinator meetings. The administration and other departments would be free to make decisions that affect the arts program without input from the people who actually know and teach the arts.

To give you a practical example of the importance of having an Arts Division Coordinator, the fire curtain on the Staples stage fell the week before Staples Players production of “Oliver!” opened this fall. 

If it were not repaired, the Fire Marshal would not have allowed the show to open. It was Arts Division Coordinator Alan Dodd who quickly managed the repair of the fire curtain so that the show could go on.

Without the help of a person whose most important priority is the arts, the show was at risk of being cancelled, obliterating months of work by hundreds of Staples students. 

We are extremely concerned to consider what the future of the arts at Staples will be if we donҒt have a representative who understands the importance of the arts to the educational curriculum.

This proposal is a slight to the arts, communicating to the students and the community that the arts are not as important as other disciplines.

It is imperative that the community speaks out on this important issue before it is too late. Please attend the Jan. 26 Board of Education meeting, or contact its members in advance, to express your concern about the elimination of this position and its ramifications on the arts program at Staples.

Lisa Rhodes
Linda Collins
Westport

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Posted 01/21/04 at 09:29 PM  Permalink



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