Morgan Slutzky New Jersey 0

LHS Music Petition

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Mr. Antonio Padron has been instrumental music director at Lawrence High for the last three years, during which time he has been actively improving all fronts of the music program. These efforts played a key role in Lawrence being named one of the best communities for music education by the NAMM foundation in 2015. However, it has recently come to the attention of the students, parents, and community members in Lawrence that Mr. Padron has not been recommended for tenure and his contract for the 2015-2016 school year has not been renewed. Consequently, he is slated to leave the district next year, and the instrumental music department will be searching for its third director in just the last five years. Mr. Padron's indefatigable efforts have massively improved the music program at Lawrence and in light of these accomplishments it is clear that he is the right man to lead the department and to continue its impressive growth and development.

The music class offerings since Mr. Padron has become instrumental music director have grown and been refined and enriched under his supervision. He has instituted a second, auditioned tier of performance ensembles: qualified players now have the ability to advance from Concert Band to Wind Ensemble or from String Ensemble to String Orchestra. The difficulty level of the music each group plays is subsequently more tailored to the skill levels of the players that comprise it, resulting in greater musical growth all around. Mr. Padron's expertise as a percussionist allows him to effectively lead the Percussion Ensemble class, which this year almost doubled in size. He has also added a third concert, the holiday concert, to the standard winter and spring performances. This year, Mr. Padron stepped in to teach AP Music Theory and save the class from not running for its third year in a row and constructed a now-indispensable keyboard lab for students to study in. Finally, he planned a successful trip for the music program to Disney World in the spring of 2014, creating even more performance and learning opportunities for his students.

Under Mr. Padron's leadership, the Red Scare Marching Band has raised the level at which it performs and competes, expanded its presence in the local community, and improved significantly as an ensemble. With Mr. Padron as its director Red Scare competed at Steinert's Music in Motion competition as well as competing in 2014 for the first time at a second show, Hamilton West's Cavalcade of Bands. New community outreach initiatives including a greater online presence also netted Red Scare performances in the community, including an appearance at Special Olympics. Finally, Mr. Padron has driven Red Scare's ongoing transition into a more traditional and competitive marching band on par with those of other schools in the area by creating the position of assistant captain to allow for juniors to gain leadership skills, introducing dot books for more efficient learning of field shows, allowing eighth graders to practice with the band, and even upgrading the band's uniforms.

Mr. Padron is also active in a number of other extracurricular musical activities. He is the advisor to the Tri-M Honors Society; under his guidance the society has continued to run its bimonthly Coffee Houses as well as introduced musical performances at Student of the Month breakfasts and even meetings of this board. He has directed the Pit Orchestra for the last two years and these two shows have received tremendous praise from the community. He also assists in directing the Jazz Band, which in spring of 2014 participated in its first ever competition at Steinert High.

We, the students, parents, and other community members involved in the Lawrence High School Music Department, object to the nonrenewal of Mr. Padron's teaching contract. We call upon the Lawrence High School Supervisors and Lawrence Board of Education to:

acknowledge the arguments presented in this petition

review this decision

Written by:

Morgan Slutzky, Red Scare Captain, Tri-M Secretary, Jazz Band member

Karoline Dapprich, Red Scare Captain, Tri-M Historian, Jazz Band, Pit Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble member

Ariel Drossman, Red Scare Co-Captain, Tri-M, Wind Ensemble, and Pit Orchestra member

David Connelly, Red Scare Section Leader, Tri-M, Wind Ensemble, Pit Orchestra, and Jazz Band member

Sophie Slutzky, Red Scare, Pit Orchestra, Jazz Band, and Wind Ensemble member

Susanna Dapprich, Red Scare, Pit Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble member

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