The ABW believes firmly that eliminating the 7th period from the Analy bell schedule will have a bad impact on the band program and on electives in general. Here is a deep dive in to why.
Electives are Essential to Quality Education & College Applications
Upon graduation, students need to be college ready and career ready. Losing the 7-period day will reduce access to Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, such as Agriculture and Computer Programming. It is also well-established that robust Music programs lead to higher graduation rates and higher SAT scores (on average 107 points higher). The arts, including drama, cater to different styles of learning, and engaging students who might not otherwise take significant interest in academics. Additionally, research indicates that drama courses and performance have a particularly positive effect on at-risk youth and students with learning disabilities.
Further, college admissions are more competitive than ever. Meeting the minimum requirements of the UC and CSU is no longer enough. A student that lacks a well-rounded application is less likely to be admitted to impacted programs, which now includes the entire UC system. This is especially true of students looking to apply to colleges for a particular program. For example, an Art student’s transcript must necessarily show four years of art. Similarly, Music and Agriculture students must show participation in their respective programs for all four years in order to be competitive. The proposed change creates a huge disadvantage to our District’s students.
Lack of Access to Education
One method of addressing a student’s inability to obtain necessary classes and electives, i.e. both academic and CTE, has been to encourage students to take an online class through one of the available online high schools that are accredited and accepted by the universities. For some kids that means dropping in-school language classes, and instead signing up for online classes. For a UC accepted class, for example, the cost is $270 per class for a total of $540 per year. Notwithstanding the issue of students not all having reliable online access, this cost is a serious access to education problem as many families simply cannot afford these classes. We’re supposed to be helping close the income gap; not contribute to it.
Electives are Essential to Attract Students to Declining Enrollment District and Cuts Will Negatively Impact Those Programs
As we know, the District has been plagued with declining enrollment. We have well-respected and active programs, such as Ag, Music, Art and other CTE programs. With the already successful programs in place we can attract more students and build these programs even more (provided we ever get out of the spiral of cuts and bad press related to the same).
In contrast, cuts will negatively impact existing programs. Certain programs like Ag, Drama, Band, and Choir, rely on students participating in their program for all four years. These students need room in their schedule to take both their respective 4-year elective and all the graduation and/or college requirements. There’s simply not enough room in the schedule to do both without the 7-Period Day.
Committing to the programs for 4-years is part of what makes them so successful. For these students, these programs, the teachers that teach them, and the students that participate in them become their family. A home away from home. It’s their community and it’s the reason why they go to school. It is also the reason why students in these programs achieve more both in school and in life. Moreover, the programs themselves benefit from widespread participation, such as Band, Agriculture, and Drama. The more students, the better the program.
Cutting the 7th Period Does Not Save Money
6-period with zero period option only saves the District $300,000 (or 1.2% of the $25M budget), and does NOT guarantee that certain programs will not be reduced or eliminated altogether, e.g. Jazz Band already occupies the zero period time slot. Instead, it’s quite possible there will be a net loss to the District as students will leave for programs at other schools. Maria Carrillo has a great music program. Rancho Cotati has 8-periods and many electives to choose from. Cardinal Newman has a competitive baseball and football team, in addition to great academics. There are simply too many options for alternate high school attendance available. Therefore, in cutting programs, the District needs to consider the loss of additional students in determining whether there is any net benefit.
For all of these reasons, the ABW strongly opposes cutting the 7th period and essential electives. We hope the community and school board trustees agree and that another solution can be found to the district’s budget problems.
With your help, we can Save 7th period AGAIN!
Thank you, Analy Band Wagon
Here’s a video produced by WSCS Community Action Coalition, https://www.facebook.com/wscscommunityactioncoalition, created in support of the 7-Period Day: