Edmonds-Woodway High School Music Boosters

Jen’s Advocacy Blog

April 10, 2024
March 27, 2024

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April 10, 2024
The news from district music departments coming out of Spring Break is not good. In addition to the proposed 5th and/or 6th grade district wide ensemble cuts, there additional cuts in the 7-12 programs:

Current Proposal for a few district schools:
College Place Middle: 3 classes cut: Jazz, 7th grade Band (combining into 8th), Orchestra(?)
Madrona: 3 classes cut: Band, Orchestra and Jazz
Meadowdale: 3 classes cut: Jazz Band, Jazz Choirs, Guitar

At this writing ALL of the cuts, and specifically the proposal for EWHS and Mountlake Terrace is unknown.

All School Board meetings and work sessions are open to the public, for the most up-to-date schedule scroll to the calendar mid-page https://www.edmonds.wednet.edu/

4/16, 6:30-8:00pm – Special Session first reading of RIF Resolution
4/23, 5-6pm – Work Session first reading of Budget
4/23, 6:30pm – Regular meeting with public comment


1. Please WRITE to your School Board members with a cc to Dr. Miner, stating that the budget should NOT be accepted with these severe cuts to the Music Program. Ask them NOT to vote to approve it in the 4/16 & 4/23 meetings.

The Balancing Act showed that the budget CAN be balanced, with NO cuts to music.

2. Write to your building Principal and let them know how important music is to your family.

3. SHOW UP at the 4/16 meeting to observe the budget discussion. Make signs to hold up stating that you do NOT want music cut.

Lastly, you can write to your elected officials that serve in Olympia and let them know that the chronic under funding of schools is placing important foundational programs at risk.

School District email addresses:
Nancy Katims (katimsn@edmonds.wednet.edu)
Hawk Cramer (cramerha@edmonds.wednet.edu)
Carin Chase (chaseca@edmonds.wednet.edu)
Keith Smith (smithk382@edmonds.wednet.edu)
Deborah Kilgore (kilgored952@edmonds.wednet.edu)
Superintendent Rebecca Miner (minerr@edmonds.wednet.edu)
Assistant Superintendent Greg Schwab (schwabg@edmonds.wednet.edu)

Legislative emails can be found on the “Take Action” page on our website.

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March 27, 2024
The nitty gritty about 5th and 6th grade music as I understand it

-Students currently get two periods of music in 5th and 6th grade – General Music, which is a currently offered K-6, and if students choose, band or orchestra

-When students are in General Music, their homeroom teacher gets a prep period. Ensemble students are pulled out of their instructional program to play, which some teachers are not in support of.

-At the 3/26 Board meeting, Dr. Katims reported that the General Music classes are “locked”, meaning that there is a “contractual issue” in the district with making changes to the general music offering.

The Concern

Eliminating 5th/6th grade ensembles would certainly reduce access to instrumental music for many students. This is because students only have one elective choice in middle school; music, language or STEM. The 5th and 6th grade program is available to all students, and without scheduling constraints for them. Data supports the fact that 5th grade is the optimal time to begin ensemble training.

Even more concerning is the future of the 7th-12th grade ensemble programs, if elementary music is cut. With students only being able to opt for one elective; STEM, World Language or Music, there could be less students registering to try music. This would result in more combining of classes across grades and skill levels and further reduction of the program. “Lock” Ensemble Music

It might be important to ask the district what role they see music programs playing in the future of the district? Our award- winning programs have been the cornerstone of our schools for decades. Thousands of students have thrived, learned, and succeeded with the strong foundation of music thru their lives. Hundreds have been inspired to become music teachers or musicians themselves. Even the casual ensemble participant benefits from the collaboration, communication and commitment needed to be part of a musical group. These are major life skills that compliment and augment the regular academic curriculum. We also know that music students are more likely to have better attendance and higher graduation rates than non-music students. These metrics are the topic of many School Board discussions.

The recent Balancing Act exercise has certain spending categories locked. This means they are protected from budget cuts. I propose that ensemble music be locked-at all grades 5-12. I encourage the district to look elsewhere for funding cuts and not dismantle this robust foundational experience that took years to develop.

Jennifer Castle
EWHS Music Booster President

You can click here to TAKE ACTION!!

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