PERRYOPOLIS — The Frazier School District is considering removing from its elementary schedule traditional art classes — which are currently provided only to fourth grade students — to make room for additional core-subject instruction.
Frazier Elementary School Principal Dr. Kelly Muic proposed to the school board during a recent work session removing the weekly, hour-long instruction that fourth-grade students receive from the district’s lone art teacher to allow for more flexibility in the schedule for Title 1 instruction in hopes of improving school achievement scores in reading and math.
Muic said art teacher Amy Roadman, who primarily services the high school, provides art instruction on a limited schedule to the middle and elementary schools. The fourth grade is the only elementary grade to have art class.
“The time of day that we are able to have Mrs. Roadman, it’s a great opportunity for the students but it also locks our schedule,” said Muic. “If we can unlock our schedule so we can free up all grade levels to receive Title 1 services for reading and math, that’s ideally what we’d like to do.”
Muic said with the current structure of the school schedule, it is hard for Title 1 teachers to provide necessary support for certain fourth- and fifth-grade students who required specialized assistance.
To replace the traditional art class, fourth-grade students would take part in creative activities and interdisciplinary projects within the school’s maker education, which emphasizes STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities, said Muic.
Those activities are currently provided by classroom teachers at other grade levels, she added.
“I feel that we adequately provide art throughout K-5. Having more art provided by an art instructor would be ideal, but at the current time we’re unable to do so,” Muic said.
School director Deborah Vargo Alekson said as a parent of a fourth-grade student who enjoys art class, she is hesitant about such a move for the elementary curriculum.
“I’m struggling with this, and I’m struggling with eliminating any arts or humanities opportunities within the elementary school, period,” said Alekson.
No action was taken by the school board at a subsequent voting meeting that followed the work session. Superintendent Dr. Bill Henderson said the district has not yet made a determination on the fate of the elementary art program, which will likely be determined by the board.
In other business, the board:
n Approved a three-year renewal agreement with Software as a Service at an annual cost of $11,500.
n Approved the purchase of a surveillance and security system through Horizon Information Services at a cost not to exceed $75,000.
n Approved the following extracurricular staff for the 2019-20 school year: Mandy Hartman, head varsity volleyball; Larry Mikesell, head golf; and Karen Babyak, assistant band director.
n Hired Monica Argot as a one-on-one aide at the contracted rate of pay with no benefits.