12-12-18 Celebrating the Arts

Choir (2)

Small rural schools across America struggle with ways to implement the arts.  It is not a wonder that many have decided the arts may not be as important as other content areas.  With declining school budgets in Colorado, many small rural schools no longer have the same programs that once existed fifteen years ago.  I too have questioned the feasibility of providing classes that celebrate the arts.  I am sometimes questioned as to if we really need that program any longer in our school.  These are tough questions to answer and even tougher programs to find teachers willing to be so versatile with the required demands.

Honestly, I can sympathize with those schools who have decided to make these programs a thing of the past.  Every year these programs are reviewed for their viability in a school budget that needs to meet the needs of growing student demands in other areas.  However, last night at the Sanford School Winter Concert, I celebrated with parents as students performed in both chorus and band. The last band number of the evening featured students in grades five through twelve.  My comment on social media, “combined 5th through twelve grade band #onlyinrurualAmerica”.  It was a wonderful evening that was well attended and appreciated.

The Sanford School District continues to value arts by offering music to grades K-4, band to grades 5-12, an elementary honor choir, chorus to grades 7-12, and a drama club that will perform the musical “Annie” this coming spring.  It may not always seamlessly fit into the class schedule.  It may be difficult to find teachers with the skills and tenacity to accept such assignments.  It may be questioned in the budget or the importance of arts in education.

My response? If you find yourself wondering if the arts belong in a small school, I invite you out to the next performance.  I believe these wonderful students under the direction of an accomplished instructor will change your mind.  As long as rural America continues to accept the struggles associated with keeping arts in their small schools, they will continue to celebrate with parents when these amazing students perform and smile at the crowd’s rewarding applause.  Thank you to all who work to keep the arts alive in small rural schools.

Welcome to My Blog.

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Hello, I’m Kevin Edgar, Superintendent of Sanford School District 6J.  In this blog, I will discuss, celebrate, explain, and share the many happenings that take place at Sanford Schools.  I hope to help others see the value and benefits of rural education and how educators are tirelessly working to prepare our students for their next steps in a big world.   We will also discuss the challenges that we face as a rural Pk-12 school.  I hope you find time in your busy schedule to take a few minutes and learn about our mission, vision, and many accomplishments.  Welcome to our journey!


Dancing With the Preschool

Today I spent a few minutes dancing.  I know this is not what you would expect from a school superintendent, but honestly, it was the highlight of my day.  Needing to get out of the office and remind myself of the important things that our school is about, I found myself in the afternoon preschool classroom.  They were getting ready to dance to the “Peanut butter and jelly” song.  Movement is important to learning.  They may have been using this song and dance as a way to get a few wiggles out but as I watched, I just could not help it and found myself dancing along.  The children laughed and their engagement level was at the top of the charts.  Of course they were being led by a couple of professionals, they call “teachers” and I refer to as “educators”.  I could not begin to keep up with these two ladies enthusiasm and movements but I gave it a good attempt until I realized a senior student who helps each afternoon as a student aide was laughing at me.  She was sworn to secrecy.

Too often, I find myself not celebrating the little things, the good things, the successes, or the positives.  It is very easy to focus only on the problem and lose sight of the good that surrounds us.  My visit to the Sanford Preschool, allowed me a few minutes to celebrate the little things.  Some of these young students are receiving their first academic experience and while they are focusing on numbers, letters, social behaviors, positive interaction, and other important skills, they are being taught how important it is to take the time to dance.

If you have never visited the Sanford Preschool, I encourage you to set up an appointment and visit.  The energy in that classroom is contagious.  You may find yourself celebrating the little things.  After all, everyone needs a few minutes in the day just to dance.