Engaging with the community is highly valued in the Vancouver School District. Active and engaged school communities and stakeholders help inform decisions with the ultimate goal of improving student outcomes. Guest writer Chris Stanger, Director of Instruction, shares with us the elementary music programs.
Elementary music programs have been delivered in myriad ways over many years within the Vancouver School district. Over time, there have been requests from stakeholders to re-examine music programming in order to increase student access to music education. In the 2019, the District conducted a music review (pdf), which concluded four broad recommendations should be implemented in three phases, within a ten-year timeline.
In April 2021, the Student Learning and Well-Being Committee(SLWB) approved a staff recommendation to design an engagement plan to help determine a shared mission, vision and strategic direction for K-7 music programs. Following this decision, an ad hoc committee made up of District staff, the Indigenous Education Department, Vancouver Elementary School Teachers Association, District Parent Advisory Council and Vancouver Principles and Vice-Principles Association was formed in October 2021.
The Ad Hoc committee reviewed stakeholder feedback from the 2019 music review and feedback from SLWB meetings from 2019-2021. Common themes and priorities were identified, which formed the foundation for a draft vision statement:
The VSB aims to provide an equitable, comprehensive K-7 Music program because:
We believe that music is a universal language which honours diversity while allowing students to explore their creativity, express who they are, and connect to each other and their communities.
We believe that music is a fundamental human experience, and we have a responsibility to ensure students have access to music education that allows them to thrive regardless of cultural and economic background, or geographical location within the district.
We believe that music brings richness to learning, enhances life-long learning experiences and contributes to the holistic development of people.
Next, the committee examined key design features of the BC Fine Arts Education curriculum, viewed examples of what K-7 music looks like within Vancouver schools and developed broad descriptors of an equitable, comprehensive music program. This background informed mission statement.
The VSB K-7 Music program’s mission is to provide all students with:
A consistent, robust, inclusive, experiential music program based on active music making including Indigenous musical opportunities which respect cultural protocols and nurture the unique and diverse culture of each school community.
Thanks to the efforts of the ad hoc committee through this engagement process to create an enduring vision and mission statement was for K-7 music programming. Stakeholder committee members’ came together with a spirit of positive collaboration and the commitment to articulate common beliefs and values about why providing music is important for elementary students. The group was also able to sift through music learning and instruction details and focus objectively on identifying the broad but essential ‘what’ of a K-7 music program. The District is grateful for the committee members’ contributions, and proud to present the vision and mission created through this engagement process. Find out more about the music review (pdf).