Thanks to The Tribune for covering the possibility that Atascadero Fine Arts Academy may drop the fourth-grade class. I was surprised by this possibility, especially as a parent of a child who attends the school. There were three reasons provided to the parents of students at the arts academy:
1. Developmental maturity of fourth-graders for arts electives.
2. Need for a longer academic day.
3. Strong interest from parents of fifth- and sixth-graders to enroll in the school.
Yet, at the board meeting and in The Tribune, the enrollment was stated to drop and an instructional staff (a teacher) would be cut. The current 180-ish students left would benefit from a smaller community.
A board member asked about fourth-grade academic achievement at the arts academy; the fourth-graders score very high on state exams.
The school board moved to delay the vote.
The arts academy benefits more than Atascadero — students from all over the county attend. The loss of the teacher is not a budget mandate; 202 students is a small community. I’m for keeping fourth grade, keeping a talented arts-based teacher and choice for students to have more arts as young as possible.
Please keep following this issue.