| Coordinator of Instructional Technology for Clovis Municipal Schools, Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy writes an education column, published weekly by the Eastern New Mexico News and featured on www.clovis-schools.org.
MUSIC ALREADY IN THE AIR
by Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy
September 14, 2018
Maintaining exceptionally high standards of an already outstanding program – namely, the Clovis Schools music program – is a perpetual challenge. Music in our schools has a long-time, well-established tradition of excellence. So, where do you go when you’ve seemingly reached the top?
A recent conversation with Brandon Boerio, Director of Music Education for the district, helped shed some light. Boerio began our conversation offering accolades to those who’ve gone before: Norvil Howell, Wayne Anderson, Gordon Hart, Alan Dropps, along with others over the last 50 years.
I’d had in mind listing some of the awards we’ve received for vocal and instrumental performances across the district and across grade levels. However, as Boerio shared the list, it became an obviously impossible task to capture it all within the space constraints of an article; a nice problem to have.
Boerio stated: “Stepping into this position, to a system that works really well, we don’t want to change the system, but the general direction.” So, we talked about the broader vision and scope of our music program.
One of the strong underpinnings of our success is having certified music educators from kindergarten through twelfth grades. This is invaluable in providing solid vertical alignment as students advance through grade levels. Developing those early foundational skills and knowledge prepares them for advanced learning, whether in choral music or instrumental.
The pressure to improve is always present. Unlike other subjects, music is completely transparent; the assessment is public performances; there’s no covering up lack of skills and knowledge.
One of Boerio’s focuses this year is ensuring staff members have plenty of support and training for whatever is needed. “Our music educators are collaborative, working closely together across the district. We’re trying to take what we’re doing and do it deeper and better.” Boerio submits recordings to professional musicians and/or collegiate level musicians for feedback. Boerio continued, “Recordings don’t lie, and we plan to use this reflective approach more and more to our advantage. For example, we’ve arranged a professional development day, tailored specifically for us, with Eastern New Mexico’s Jason Paulk.”
Another significant measure Boerio’s implemented is working closely with the CCC Cultural Arts series, so that “all our elementary students have an opportunity to see at least three professional performances over the course of their elementary education.
Sounds like music in the schools is not only alive and well, but thriving in excellent hands for the future.