Dear Parents and Guardians of Future Strings Music Students:
Dallastown Area School District is proud of the fine arts programming offered to our students. During a time when both financial and academic accountability pressures are increasingly placed on districts, Dallastown is striving to find a balance. The purpose of this letter is to inform you about the way in which we are seeking that balance: Transitioning third grade string instruction to the fourth grade beginning with the 2017-18 school year.
The reasons for this change are two-fold: (1) Academic accountability requirements and (2) Consistency with the band and choral programs. Academic accountability standards require the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) to be administered in the third through eighth grades. In our elementary schools, those standards are assessed in only one grade: Third grade. Although the PSSA is but one measure of a school’s performance, it is a critical set of scores nonetheless. Moving strings instruction to the fourth grade, although difficult for some, will allow for the strengthening of our K-3 core academic program. District band and choral programs begin in the fourth grade. Moving the strings program to fourth grade will provide consistency among the three performing music programs.
The transition will only impact students interested in learning a strings-based instrument. For those families and students that are impacted, please know that the strings program will continue to be a vital part of the Dallastown Area School District experience, and no further part of the program will be impacted.
It is our goal to ensure a smooth transition of the program from third to fourth grade.
Thank you, in advance, for your understanding as we refine the program offering. Please contact your child’s school principal should you have questions regarding the upcoming transition.