SAC Ukulele Proposal

SAC Meeting May 19th at 7PM – UKULELE Proposal

John English has been offered a unique opportunity to have Melanie Doane’s USchool provide ukulele lessons as part of the grade 3 curriculum. This is a program that ran successfully at John English from 2010-2019 and served every student that went through grade 3 during those years. Feedback on the program during those years was positive from both students and staff.

Having USchool come in and teach our students as part of the grade 3 curriculum is an incredible opportunity for those kids to be exposed to an instrument and music lessons outside of something they would normally be exposed to. In addition to the instruction, the students have access to online learning materials and support, and the teachers plan performances at school for the winter and spring concerts as well as opportunities to play in the community.

Many of the children who have gone through the grade 3 ukulele curriculum have continued in the program into grade 5 and 6. USchool has offered lunchtime programs for grades 4+ along the same lines as programs offered by Art In Action and Arts Express. The participation rate in the voluntary offerings beyond grade 3 speaks volumes to the quality of the program and the students’ enjoyment of it. Throughout the pandemic there were many John English students who participated in online classes offered by USchool as a substitute for the in-person lunchtime program.

The cost to John English for the USchool program, as part of the grade 3 curriculum, has been $7500 since 2010 without any increases even though costs for the program have gone up in the last 12 years. The cost of the program has been paid in full by the SAC in previous years.

Going forward, we would like to propose asking families for two $25 instalment payments (Sept/Oct and Jan/Feb) toward the program so that we split the cost with those families participating in the program.

We feel that this is a fair and reasonable way to allow us to offer this program to our students. While we will be asking for this payment from families, no child will be excluded from the program should they choose not to pay for any reason. In addition to asking grade 3 families to contribute to funding this program, we will also commit to running at least one fundraiser dedicated to funding this program.

Given the conditions outlined above, we are confident that we can raise a sizeable amount of money dedicated specifically for the USchool grade 3 curriculum program. In order for USchool to move forward with their planning and preparation for the 2022/23 school year, they have asked us to commit to the cost of funding this program now.

We will be proposing that the School Advisory Council commits to funding the $7500 cost of the USchool program as part of the grade 3 curriculum with the following conditions:
– USchool becomes an accredited TDSB partner or service provider
– SAC will ask for two $25 instalment payments to help subsidize the ukulele program from grade 3 families
– SAC commits to running at least one fundraiser targeted at funding the ukulele program

It should be noted that funding this program will not be to the detriment of something else. We have historically had, and will continue to have, the budget to run this program as well as all of the others that SAC runs throughout the school year.

We will be hosting a special SAC meeting on Thursday, May 19th at 7:00pm via Zoom to discuss and vote on this proposal. All are invited to attend and participate.