Wildwood School LSC mulling restarting music program
by BRIAN NADIG
The Wildwood School Local School Council at its Nov. 7 meeting discussed the possibility of restarting its music program and providing more professional development for the staff.
LSC chairwoman Wendy Auffant reported that the school community would like to see the return of band and choir at Wildwood.
"As chairperson, it’s what I hear most from families. They stop me on the street," she said.
Acting principal Elena Savoy said that band and choir could start as after-school programs in the near future, as the school would be working with Merit Music and the Chicago Children’s Choir. She added that Friends of Wildwood is looking into funding the programs.
Some LSC members also asked about having choir and band during the school day, but teachers on the council expressed concern that in the past students were pulled out of their classrooms for music programs, forcing them to miss instructional time in the core subjects.
Savoy said that the school could look into providing more special offerings during the school day, such as band or coding.
Currently, Wildwood offers gym, art and Spanish as "specials," according to Savoy. It was reported that some elementary schools have as many as nine total specials, with different offerings each quarter in some instances.
Meanwhile, Savoy said that more funds for substitute teachers must be allocated so that teachers can attend training. "There is a need and request (from teachers) for targeting professional development," she said. "We need ‘sub buckets’ to free teachers up for the (development)."
The cost for a substitute is about $175 a day, Savoy said.
Savoy also said that the need for additional instructional materials, especially books for the school’s guided reading program, is the main priority for classrooms.
Also at the meeting, Chicago Public Schools Network 1 Chief Julie McGlade distributed several budget documents to the council and answered questions.
McGlade said that the school is not losing any of its student-based budget funds this year despite a drop in enrollment but that funds will be taken away next year if the school is below enrollment projections. She added that an unfilled staffing position must be closed so that the remaining funds for the position can be reallocated.
Also, the council is preparing to restart its search for a new principal and will be advertising for the position. Last summer’s search resulted with no applicants being chosen.
Mary Beth Cunat resigned as principal in June and was later appointed the principal of a private school in Rockford.
Savoy, who retired as Wildwood’s principal in 2010, is expected to remain as the school’s administrator in charge until a new principal is selected.