The second thing that's happened? Budget cuts at my district. The very good news about this is that it appears that my position will not be affected in any way. In the last 10 years, whenever there were cuts, a majority of them happened at the elementary end, so they plan on cutting more at the high school end. The superintendent sent a list of discussed cuts that was created at the last board meeting, and I was not on there! Whew!
There are two positions that are retiring this year that won't be filled, and it looks like they are offering an early retirement package to three others with the anticipation that they won't be filled, or at least won't be filled at full time. Unfortunately, though, for the art department, (which was second on the cut list), they are looking at cutting art electives. This really stinks because I was hoping to become full time after the art teacher retired so that I could try and liven up the high school end with some new electives!
It's not really known yet if I will become a K-12 teacher next year, but I'm guessing not. It will depend on if the art teacher in the high school takes the early retirement package or stays on for another year. If she decides to stay on, she'll be cut down from full time. :-/ At this point, I don't think they could get away with making me teach K-12. I've done a little research and found the NYS requirements for art (when I talk about "the arts," this encompasses visual arts, music, dance and theater).
1. Pre-K and Kindergarten programs must only include activities that revolve around the arts. These can be done in the classroom.
2. Grades 1-3 must receive instruction in the arts to the equivalent of 20% of the week be devoted to visual arts, music, theater, etc. In 4th grade the time allocated must be 10%. It is only recommended that a certified Arts teacher give this instruction
At the rate they plan on cutting positions, they would have to hire someone on just to teach these younger levels if I was made 5-12 art. Right now art is used to give these teachers their daily free periods. Because they're planning on cutting at music and gym as well, it would be impossible to pick up the slack if art class was eliminated from these younger grades. Also, at the rate they need to cut, the aides will be taking over duties such as lunch detention, lunch monitors and in-house detention, duties that were rotated between high school teachers. Now with the lower number of high school teachers per subject area, these teachers will lose their duties and gain another class or two.
3. Grades 5 and 6 must receive 10% instruction in the arts taught by a certified arts teacher.
4. Grades 7 & 8 must receive instruction according to the NYS art standards. 1/2 the study must be art and 1/2 the study must be music. Guidelines recommend that both be taught to students in 7th and 8th grade, however it can be split. (In my district, 7th grade receives art for 1/2 a year only. There is no 8th grade art. Most students cover the music aspect by participating in chorus or band.) Certified art teachers must provide the instruction at this level. If AIS services are required, these amounts may be lessened, but the arts cannot be eliminated.
5. All students in grades 9-12 are required to complete one unit of art study in order to graduate with a diploma and must be taught by a certified art teacher. All public schools must provide students with the chance to participate in a 3-unit or 5-unit sequence in arts starting at grade 9. The three unit gives students a chance to receive a regents diploma. The 5-unit gives students a chance to receive a regents with advanced designation. Now this is the part that interests me...if my district gets rid of art electives, none of their students will be able to graduate with a regents diploma. I only say this because they are also talking about getting rid of music electives as part of the cuts (aside from band and chorus). I don't think that the students can fulfill the arts requirement by only taking music courses past Studio Art...any NYS art teachers know about this? Phyl, you mentioned something about this in my last post.... Plus, this makes students have to take music/band/chorus even if they don't want to in order to earn a regents diploma!