LAKEWOOD, Ohio — The Lakewood City School District is restructuring its elementary school schedule to add more STEM and digital literacy programs. Some parents are excited about the change while others are disappointed.
Lakewood is known for its arts and music, to the point that even the elementary school focused on it. The school board has now put a new schedule in place that still highlights music, just a little less, instead giving more opportunities to other subjects.
“We would do it all, but we can't do it all, we don’t have the time to do it all so we have to be as creative with the limited time that we have. And do the best that we can do,” said Linda Beebe, Lakewood School Board vice president.
The schedule students have this year involves music class every other day for the entire school year then physical education or art opposite the music class.
The new schedule would add STEM, science, technology, engineering and math along with digital literacy, cutting music, art and physical education by nearly 50%.
“I think, particularly on the elementary level, children have a right to explore, to get a sense of what the possibilities are,” said Beebe.
The district tells News 5 it put the new plan in place after parents voted 88% in a survey to rotate music, art, and physical education.
They say the change distributes all subjects equally which parents like Mike Jaissle are happy about.
“To create an opportunity that just expands the opportunity for the students and for my own kids, that that allows them to be that much more well-rounded is incredible,” said Jaissle.
He is a former educator and has three girls in the school system, he says he sees the importance of all of the subjects but agrees with allowing students to broaden their horizons.
“I know what pride the school system and community take in our music department it is top notch one of the best,” Jaissle continues, “But you know being able to expand the offerings opportunities for the students is only a positive.”
While at the last meeting, many parents don't believe the cuts would help the children.
“Surveys show that students in the arts program scored higher in math, science, citizenship than students from controlled schools,” said one Lakewood resident during public comment the last school board meeting.
But instead, some residents say it would hurt them.
“The premise that there's this need for equality and you to divide everything equally is a flawed premise, the premise I think we should be operating on is what's developmentally appropriate and optimal for the developing brain of children at that age,” said Dr. Charles Greanoff, a Lakewood High School educator.
The new schedule is set to go into effect this fall. News 5 reached out to Superintendent Maggie Niedzwiecki, who didn't want to go on camera but says the district's excited to offer its students a well-rounded specials rotation that'll set them up to succeed, adding this allows students to explore more interests.
You can read the full statement from Superintendent Maggie Niedzwiecki below:
“We are excited to be able to offer our elementary students a well-rounded specials rotation that takes into account the skills that will be necessary to succeed when these students enter the world post-graduation. Giving each special weekly time also evens the field for students to explore their interests. Also, giving dedicated time to the new Information and Digital Literacy and STEM specials will provide our classroom teachers with more time for core instruction of reading, writing and math. We are excited to offer this new schedule and are able to do so without any loss of jobs or funding to our staff and programs.”
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