The McPherson USD 418 Board of Education accepted recommendations on pep band made by Superintendent Randy Watson Monday.

The McPherson USD 418 Board of Education accepted recommendations on pep band made by Superintendent Randy Watson Monday.

The recommendations were made in response to a group of parents who attended the Feb. 11 board meeting and expressed their concerns with a recent change in the high school pep band program. The parents had been informed pep band would switch from voluntary to required. Refusal to attend would negatively affect students’ grades.

Parents said in a prepared statement they thought the expectations of the pep band were unreasonable and asked the board consider reversing the policy.

Since this meeting, Watson researched board policy and offered recommendations. He did not find the changes violated any existing policies. He also found evaluation of the program within board policies.

Watson reported the curriculum guide at the high school defines band participation as a year-long commitment, including pep band.

The policy states pep band is part of a total instrumental music experience. It also assumes the board has the expectation, though not in policy, that the pep band will be of a high quality as determined by the administrators. These administrators are changed by the policy to evaluate the program.

Although the board took no action, Watson recommended better communication and collaboration between students and parents.

He recommended McPherson High School Principal Bret McClendon and himself speak to the students and acknowledge their efforts in pep band. He also recommended band members be made aware of the importance of the pep band to the overall instructional band program.

Those who participated in pep band after the change was implemented will be recognized for their efforts in their grades, but the grades of those who did not participate will not be affected.

A committee will be formed, which will be comprised of students, parents and administration to study the program. Its purpose would be to determine requirements for pep band for the 2013-2014 school year and beyond. Recommendations from this committee is expected to be made in the spring or summer.

“I think the biggest issue was communication that broke down, and I think the parents and the board both have the same goal in mind,” Watson said Tuesday. “I believe the committee will address the concerns of both parties.”

Director of Bands Kyle Hopkins said he did not wish to comment at this time.

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