Concerns raised about band program enrollment decline in Prince Rupert

Concerns about the state of the band program in Prince Rupert were raised at the November 8 school board meeting.

Concerns about the state of the band program in Prince Rupert were raised at the November 8 school board meeting as declining enrolment in the grade six program.

“There has been in excess of 100 students lost from the band program at the middle school level,” said Joanna Larson of the Prince Rupert District Teacher’s Union.

According to superintendent Lynn Hauptman, part of the problem is coming up with a schedule for the middle school given it is the first year there has been one in Prince Rupert.

“When we did it, the administrators made it clear that the school’s timetable would be a first draft and would be a work in progress. We didn’t think it would answer all questions or address all concerns…Band is one of those tweaks that may be being looked at,” said superintendent Lynn Hauptman, noting that the numbers provided include a grade five program that is not being run this year and the band program at Annunciation.

“It is a growing pain. I don’t think it is irreparable or permanent,” added board chair Tina Last.

According to Last and Hauptman, another reason for the decline is simply the middle school model and the opportunities it presents to students that weren’t available in the old elementary school model.

“For the first time students have had a choice and that was band or a rich array of electives offered at Prince Rupert Middle School…They’ve got other choices and they’re looking at those choices,” said Hauptman.

“I think it is great that they have more choice. If they don’t choose to explore other programs that is great, although you don’t want to see any program  see a drop in numbers…I am glad to see students have more choice,” added Last.