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Expanded Music Programs
Tops School Board Meeting

October 21, 1999
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana

By Karen Lyncoln
For the Pathfinder


"I'm please to introduce the new music teacher. She's expanding the music program and using new teaching methods", said Tom Larson, Principal of the Seeley Lake Elementary School, as he introduced Bev Evans to the members of the Seeley Lake Elementary School Board of Education at their October 12th meeting. Larson was the music at the Elementary School before he became Principal last month.

"Music is really important training", said Evans. She noted that research indicates that if students learn music by the fifth or sixth grade, they do better in math in later years.

Evans described the Orff Schulwerk Method that she is using in Grades K-4. It's a system of teaching music using a variety of other creative ways such as movement and poetry that may be more familiar to the students. The rhythms the students make up are then transferred to musical instruments or voice.

Evans teaches Choir in Grades 5 and 6. Grades 7 and 8 have Choir on Mondays, and six students are involved in a rock band on Wednesday - a type of music that Evans says is a new challenge to her as a teacher.

"We're all working on a premiere Christmas program for this year," announced Evans. The program will be based on The Night before Christmas.

Superintendent John Hebnes reported on the Safe Schools Workshop that several school staff members attended. Hebnes explained that in the coming weeks, a new program will be introduced to the school designed to reduce the number of unknown people on school grounds during the school day.

All permanent staff and regular volunteers will have badges identifying them by name. Visitors will be required to sign in and wear a temporary badge while on campus. Board Chair Bart Peterson suggested that a sign be posted at the school's entrances making sure that parents and other visitors know that they have to sign in and get a badge before they can visit classrooms.

"It would be nice if our only job was education - teaching reading and writing - and not having to worry about safe schools," said Dave Spence, a teacher at the school who attended the Safe Schools Workshop.

Zero tolerance for fights and zero tolerance for violence will be part of the school's policy. Board members and staff also discussed the new Discipline Policy, and Board Member Loren Rose asked that staff and teachers identify other policies to improve safety at the school.

In other reports to the Board, Hebnes announced that the Monday Snowmobile Club has volunteered to provide breakfast snacks to the children in Grades K-3.

He noted that the K-3 playground was completed and that there is money available from the County for playground equipment. Pam Pittman, Board Member, suggested that rules for the playground be clearly posted for non-school users.

Board members also discussed the status of the Claiborne/Ortenberg Grant for this year, monies that are used for training, computers, and afterschool and community programs.

All five members of the Board attended the meeting: Bart Peterson, Loren Rose, Mark Williams, Pamela Pittman, and Vicki Jardine. The next meeting is scheduled for November 9th at 6:00 p.m. at the Seeley Lake Elementary School Staff Room.

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