School board approves new marching band course

New pilot program will go into effect for 2019-2020 year

Members of the Ann Sobrato High School marching band, seen during an April 5 session, can opt to take a PE/Marching Band course for physical education credit next school year.

Before an enthusiastic audience of marching band proponents, Morgan Hill Unified School District’s Board of Education unanimously approved a new two-year pilot class that will allow high school students to receive physical education credit while participating in marching band.

“This pilot course is a result of staff putting the needs of students above all else,” said Supt. Steve Betando. “Our music instructors went the extra mile to obtain a PE credential along with developing a Band/PE course outline that includes all the standards for both content areas.”

The year-long class, which offers five credits in each Visual and Performing Arts and Physical Education, was developed by band directors Jason Locsin of Live Oak High School and Greg Chambers of Ann Sobrato High School. It is taken during the school day.

“If it opens the doors to future creative opportunities (for our students), then that’s great,” said Board President Mary Patterson. She noted that parents of high school seniors who won’t even be able to take advantage of the new pilot class spoke in support of it at the April 2 meeting.

“That really made an impression on me,” Patterson said.

Betando thanked the parents for pursuing the option—which put the idea on the district’s radar—and also “the students for advocating for the course even if some of the student speakers won’t reap the benefits of the course because they have already taken or are currently taking second year PE.”

The PE/Marching Band course will be offered to students who have already completed one full year of a traditional PE class as freshmen at either Live Oak or Sobrato High Schools.

“This generation of students seems focused on finding ways to make the world a better place for those who follow them and this is another example of those efforts,” Betando said.

New courses are developed and submitted for consideration to add to the course inventory from time to time, according to the staff report. Such courses are to respond to student needs and interests or to changes in state frameworks, graduation requirements or college-career readiness goals. They are developed and reviewed by teachers through the secondary curriculum council process that includes discussion at the site leadership level, review by council members and a one-week advisory balloting process.

Courses with favorable recommendations are further reviewed by Educational Services to prepare a recommendation to the governing board.

The PE/Marching Band course was one of two new courses approved by the school board April 2. The other was “Advanced Video Production,” a Career Technical Education class developed by William Row at Live Oak High School. Both classes will begin at the start of the 2019-20 school year.

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