Magazine article The Canadian Music Educator

Ontario

Magazine article The Canadian Music Educator

Ontario

Article excerpt

Strengths

We are very excited to have in Ontario a Revised Music Curriculum 1-8 that will be policy September 2009. This document, released May 6th, 2009, is currently posted on the Ontario Ministry of Education website. Our secondary curriculum is scheduled to be released this September for a year of optional implementation before becoming policy in September 2010. There are DRAFT sample units that have been created for Grade 2 and Grade 7 to support teachers w/ implementation as well as a Literacy and the Arts Webcast that is expected by the end of the school year. OMEA is currently working on a Creative Process Anchor Chart that is based on the Creative Process as outlined in the Revised Music Curriculum 1-8, 9-12 and will be distributed to schools across the province in the fall of 2009.

We are very fortunate to have a supportive Minister of Education, Kathleen Wynne, who is a former education advocate. The arts are praised and encouraged publicly as a way to engage our students and achieve the government's goal of increasing student achievement.

There have been some funding announcements that have supported music education over the last several years. The Program Enhancement Grant has provided funding to school boards of $7,500 two years ago, and $9,650 this past year and next year for new or existing programs in The Arts, Outdoor Education and Physical Education for each school in the province. Financial support was also provided March 2006 with $50,000 being provided to subject associations. The Ontario Music Educator Association with this funding created the Think Literacy Music Companion 1-6 and distributed copies to OMEA members (and recently reprinted 1200 to distribute through school boards), created a "best of the Recorder resource' and offered a leadership retreat for new teachers.

Our provincial government has recently settled negotiations with our elementary and secondary teachers. The Provincial Framework that provided the funding to enable school boards to settle local contracts included language that would increase the number of specialist teachers in The Arts over a four-year period. With increased prep time for all teachers being phased in for the length of this contract, we are hopeful that there will be more specialist teachers hired to deliver music education in Ontario.

The Ontario Music Educators' Association is a strong provincial organization that continues to grow in numbers based upon the strength of our membership. We currently have over 1200 members. Our annual OMEA conferences draw between 800 to 900 delegates, and we regularly offer regional workshops in Ottawa, Niagara, and Sudbury. We have rebuilt over the last 6-8 years a financially stable organization that has a strong relationship with our industry partners, the Canadian Music Industry Education Committee, who copresent our annual conference, and we have an energetic board of directors that are committed to moving music education forward in Ontario.

The OMEA continues to work provincially with many groups to further develop supports for our teachers. We have recently participated in a meeting with the Ontario Principals Council to look at how we can work together to solve some of the challenge we all face. We have also been working with the Literacy GAINS branch of the Ministry of Education to brainstorm ideas of what is needed to support the teachers in Ontario with the newly revised curriculums and regularly present workshops at the Ontario Teachers Federation summer camps for teachers. …

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