As music leaders and educators, we often share instructional and management supports with each other. The diversity of our positions, within districts and across the country, triggers the need to be flexible, efficient, and creative in our work. It helps to know that at this very moment, NAfME is involved in producing two major resources that will become essential in teaching and evaluating music and its teachers.
On June 30, the first draft of the National Core Arts Standards for Music will be released. These new, voluntary grade-by-grade web-based standards are intended to affirm the place of arts education in a balanced core curriculum, support the 21st-century needs of students and teachers, and help ensure that all students are college and career ready. The arts standards emphasize “big ideas,” philosophical foundations, enduring understandings/essential questions, and anchor/performance standards, all of which are intended to guide the curriculum development, teaching, and arts literacy students need and deserve. The music writing team is well-represented by NAfME members that include program leaders, teachers in the field, and higher education. The current release includes standards for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8, and is available at http://nccas.wikispaces.com/NCCAS+June+30th+Public+Review. (A public review of the comprehensive draft PreK-12 standards, including high school and model cornerstone assessments, will begin in January, 2014.) I highly encourage your participation in the public review of these music grade-band drafts or the overall standards structure.
Another much-needed resource is the Workbook for Building and Evaluating Effective Music Education. This workbook combines the multiple requirements of national supervisory processes, translated into music-friendly expectations, practices, and rubric guidelines. The NAfME Task Force on Music Teacher Evaluation shared a draft copy of the workbook at an earlier division conference, and received favorable and constructive feedback from those in attendance. The Task Force will be “rolling out” the finished product at the Teacher Evaluation and Music Assessment Pre-conference this October in Nashville. October 25 and 26.
These resources represent current, rigorous, and respectful desired states, both for music students and teachers. I invite you to take part in this exciting work by getting involved in your organization’s vision for music education in the 21st Century!
Dr. Johanna J. Siebert serves as Director of Fine Arts for Webster Central School District, Webster, NY. You may contact her at Johanna_Siebert@websterschools.org.