Music Program Gets Fair Hearing: School Committee Hits the Right Notes

You have to admire the way the Winthrop School Committee responded to the well-orchestrated presentation by Winthrop High sophomore Kelly Russo, who is proposing that music classes added to the high school curriculum.

The committee could have said, “Let’s study her proposal and consider it for the next (2012-13) school year.” But School Committee member Mark Rotondo basically said the future is now and why wait when there seems to be significant interest from several students in getting a music program of some kind up and running this year. Mark’s fellow committee members seemed to be universally impressed by Kelly Russo’s remarks and the enthusiasm shown by the other students and parents in the audience at the meeting. It was evident that several students at Winthrop High would participate in some sort of music class, after-school club, or band if it were offered at the school.

A big question that was raised was whether the music program or club should be open for students ranging from grade seven to grade 12. Town Council President and School Committee member Jeffrey Turco raised a very pertinent point relative to an issue being debated in many forums: Should seventh graders be invited to join a music program or band at the high school? Turco said that in his travels throughout the town when he discusses the issue of whether Winthrop should build a combined middle school/high school complex, some people feel that seventh graders shouldn’t be housed in the same building because of the large age differential.

It was a good point and Council President Turco showed a lot of courage in raising the issue in front of an audience clearly in favor of Russo’s idea. Superintendent of Schools John Macero, who also deserves credit for inviting Russo to speak before the committee, will report back to the committee at its next meeting about the music program and he’ll surely have an answer as to whether the program should be for high schoolers exclusively, students in grade 8-12, or grades 7-12.

Bit it was good to see that our School Committee recognized the importance of the issue and delved into it without hesitation. As Kelly Russo told the Sun-Transcript this week, “They (the School Committee) were so nice. I can’t believe how well it all went.”

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