Lisa Ostop 0

Hire Hand Theatre Teacher

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The Students of Hand High School deserve a more comprehensive, educationally-based Theatre Program. Our middle school students already enjoy and benefit from such a program, therefore, I am writing to show support for hiring a Theatre Arts teacher for Hand High School. In Madison, the Theatre Arts program is part of the performing arts curriculum starting in 5th grade. As you know, students choose in 4th grade whether they want to participate in Band, Choir or Theatre Arts. They stick with this program for four years through Brown and Polson Middle schools. The kids in Band and Choir are able to go on in high school to a program that continues their performing arts education. They are able to continue to learn and broaden their musical skills. As of this year, because the Hand Theatre Arts teacher retired and was not replaced, all of the students who have taken Theatre Arts through middle school no longer have the opportunity to extend and continue their theatre education. They no longer have an option for performing arts in school.

Theatre Arts’ students need a safe place to grow, learn, and practice theatre skills. Students in a classroom setting have richer experiences, as the classroom is educationally founded. For example, the less talented student who typically ends up in the chorus or in the crew, might not be cast as Macbeth in the school production, but in class will be given the chance to play the part in scene or monologue work. In Theatre class, all of the students participate in all of the exercises under the direct supervision of a teacher. For many students, these opportunities in Theatre class are the reason they look forward to coming to school.

Madison has one of the best school systems in the state and as a town we support the arts in events like the Sculpture Mile, arts presentations at the library, symphonies on the green and the Madison Arts movie theater. We live in an area where people support Long Wharf Theater, Ivoryton Playhouse and the Kate; Broadway is a two-hour drive. I cannot understand why we would drop the ball when it comes to the performing arts education of our high school students. There are many other school districts that have exemplar high school theatre programs which are in similar socio-economic groups like, Greenwich, Glastonbury, Westport, and Simsbury. Madison should be included on the list of districts leading in the area of performing arts education – not in taking away a performing arts program that is already on the books.

Do not take away this opportunity for our children. Please rehire a Theatre Arts teacher for our high school students, continue the theater curriculum and support performing arts in our schools.

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