All students deserve an opportunity to learn. The goal of the Opportunity to Learn (OTL) Standards is to provide the basis for students to have the most effective learning circumstances and settings at their schools.
The OTL Standards specify the curriculum and scheduling, staffing, materials and equipment, and facilities that should be in place for the Standards to be realized. The OTL Standards provide vital rationale and support that music teachers and leaders need when advocating for their programs. To provide an example, the following is taken from the General Music (GM) OTL Standards for Grades 3–5, under Scheduling:
- At least 90 minutes of instruction in GM are given to each student during each week.
- Classes in GM are no larger than classes in other subjects of the curriculum.
- When students with disabilities are included, (a) their placement is determined on the same basis as placement for students without disabilities, (b) music educators are involved in placement decisions and are fully informed about the needs for each student, (c) the number of these students does not exceed the average for other academic classes in the school.
Keep in mind that the resources cited in the OTL Standards are not a “wish list,” but are to be considered as guidelines.
I approached Lynn Tuttle, Director of Arts Education for the State of Arizona for further information and asked what she would say to teachers and administrators regarding the implementation of the OTL Standards. Lynn suggested to carefully review the New Core Arts Standards (NCAS) specific to Music. Then it is essential to determine how they correlate with the OTL Standards. She also presented two key points for each of us to consider as we move in this new direction:
What do you do with what you currently have?
Do you have the correct resources to teach the new standards?
One final thought:
How will you as a music supervisor use the OTL Standards to both create high-quality music education programs and defend (or increase) resources in support of your music education program?
–Article by Ruth Argabright