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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Music teacher resigns amid elective concerns

Jan 18, 2017 03:32PM ● By Rubina Halwani

Parents create CSD Schedule Changes Facebook group in response to potential cut of aArts electives in middle school. (CSD Schedule Changes Facebook)

By Rubina Halwani | [email protected]

Keith Davis, orchestra and band teacher at Butler Middle School, submitted his letter of resignation, effective Jan. 13.
This comes amid concerns over potential cut of arts electives to fulfill additional state requirements for sixth and eighth grade students. The two newly required courses include digital literacy and college and career prep.
There is currently a proposed schedule change from a six-period day to a seven-period day for the Canyons School District (CSD). If the proposal passes, the change would begin fall 2017. However, the shift might not include accommodation for arts electives.
“What that means is that it will pull an elective away from the kids’ sixth grade year and eighth grade year,” said concerned parent Laura Rupper, speaking to the PTA members at Canyon View Elementary earlier this month.
Rupper noted that the change would mostly affect students in dual-language immersion and music classes, for continuity.
Rupper also voiced her concerns at the Canyons District school board meeting held on Dec. 6, 2016. Davis also addressed his concerns to the school board, uncertain his position would remain full time in the subsequent year.
“For me, trading the electives is a horrible swap,” Rupper said.
In an open letter to the Butler Middle School community, Davis expressed his gratitude for his four years of service.
Davis wrote, “This has weighed on my soul for four years now and it has taken its toll on me personally. Every year I have had to worry about whether I was going to have a full time position here at Butler. Last year, I technically did not have one… Needless to say, with a family to take care of and a daughter in college, this worry was weighing me down something big.”
Davis explained that he accepted another full-time teaching position.
Parents throughout CSD are actively voicing their concerns through various face-to-face and online channels. They are reaching out to PTA groups, starting online petitions and rallying support for the arts using social media.
One online petition posted to was initiated by parent Kerstin Olcott. The petition garnered over 850 signatures. Olcott is also one of 11 parent administrators who formed the Facebook group, CSD Schedule Changes.
“We have a Facebook group where you can find much more information as well as a sense of how parents are feeling about this,” said Monet Rupp, a joint administrator.
As of the latest Utah state board meeting held on Jan. 12, a measure was raised to waive the required mandate for the 2017–18 school year.
The next board meeting addressing the proposed changes in CSD was scheduled for Jan. 17.