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posted: 5/31/2013 5:30 AM

Parent questions art, music changes at Batavia school

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A Batavia parent is upset with how the school district intends to teach art and music at H.C. Storm Elementary School next school year.

The school district will be using the art and music rooms for regular classrooms next year. An increase in enrollment in the third and fourth grades at Storm means the district will be adding the full-time equivalent of 1.5 teachers, said Brad Newkirk, the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Ellen Knautz told the school board Tuesday plans to have the music and art teachers move from classroom to classroom, instead of having their own dedicated rooms, was unfair. Batavia's other elementary schools dedicate rooms to the subjects, she said.

Former Rotolo Middle School teacher Dottie Solomon also criticized the change. Music teachers won't be able to address different learning styles when they have to move from room to room, she said. For example, students who are visual learners will not be able to see bulletin boards decorated with notes and other musical graphics. And she said she doubted whatever sound system the teachers will be able to carry will be as good as the stereo system in the music classroom. She expects students will have less opportunity to use instruments,

Knautz asked why the district's bilingual kindergarten, first- and second-grade program couldn't be moved to another school. This year, the kindergarten program is at Hoover-Wood Elementary School. The first- and second-grade program has been at Storm for 10 years, Newkirk said. He said it makes sense to have it there because 50 to 60 percent of its participants live in the Storm School attendance area.

Newkirk agreed with Knautz that the district cannot guarantee the loss of the music and art rooms is a temporary thing.

Knautz also suggested the district could drop its agreement with the park district -- which runs a kindergarten enrichment program in Batavia schools -- in order to make room at Storm.

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