Superintendent's Blog: Laying Foundations
First, there’s a community that values the creative arts. You can stand downtown and throw a rock in any direction and hit a building that reflects the priority that we place on the arts, from the Paducah Symphony to The Carson Center to the Yeiser Art Center to the America Quilt Museum to the Paducah School of Art and Design. The Carson Myre grant is a reflection of our community’s willingness to put their money and time into nurturing the creative arts.
Next, there are parent of our students who want their children to participate in band. They encourage their kids to sign up for band, they buy the instruments, they get their kids to practice and they show up at the concerts and performances.
Next, when our kids enter elementary school, music education is an integral part of the curriculum. We’ve got some of the best elementary music teachers in the state in Kim Davidson, Dale Julian, and Natalie Krupansky. Their dedication to sharing not only the skill of music but also sharing a joy of music lays the basic foundations for understanding music.
So when our students arrive at Paducah Middle School, they have seen the value our community places on the arts. Their parents have shown them the importance of learning music. Their elementary teachers have taught them rudimentary skills and encouraged them to take those skills to the next level by enrolling in band or orchestra at Paducah Middle.
There’s all this momentum behind them pushing them in the direction of continued growth as musicians, and the enrollment numbers reflect that. There are five classes with 212 students in middle school band. There are 50 students in orchestra. With a total enrollment of around 600, that means 44% of our middle school students are involved in band or orchestra. Under the capable direction of Lindsey Willams and Doug Van Fleet, we get to see the end results of a long process of musical education that reaches maturity as our students progress through Paducah Middle to Paducah Tilghman.
As I’ve said before, our school district is mirror image of our community- a community that values education, extra-curricular activities, and the arts. So the next time you see the Band of Blue, think about all the foundation that’s been laid by our community, our parents, our elementary schools, and our middle school. When we all work together on behalf of our students, great things will happen.