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Palisades commended for music program


While its commitment to the science part of its education moves forward with a new facility for the high school, the Palisades School District has received special recognition for its music education and programs.

During the district’s April 15 virtual public school board meeting, high school music department head Abel Maldonado announced that the district had been awarded inclusion in the Namm Foundation’s “Best Communities for Music Education.”

The foundation says its “award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education. Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.”

Maldonado said later that the application for the award included being surveyed in particular in the area of student participation.

“At Palisades, we are unique at our middle school, where almost every student participates in a performance ensemble-band, chorus and orchestra,” he said, “while our numbers at the elementary level have doubled over the years for those ensembles, and the high school has had a consistent growth in participation and quality.”

The survey also noted support from administrators and the school board, through their attendance at performances, and their ongoing evaluation on how the music programs can be improved. In addition, the survey included involvement by the community at large, and what they offer to the students.

“There are several area music studios, private teachers, and community groups that our students participate in,” Maldonado said. “We also have great parents and teachers who volunteer their time with our ensembles through the district, and amazing Booster Club support for our program.”

Meanwhile, in an April 30 update to the community, Superintendent Bridget O’Connell announced that science wing renovations at the high school are underway.

“The clean out of the existing wing (last renovated in 1996) is nearing completion and demolition will begin very soon,” she said. “All contractors have submitted their mitigation plans in compliance with CDC and Department of Health guidelines to enhance job site safety. This project is designed to accommodate teaching and student engagement in our science curriculum in a 21st-century learning environment. The renovation will be completed in August, 2020.”

O’Connell added that the total construction cost estimate of $3,392,955 was budgeted from the district’s capital reserve fund and its committed fund balance for capital projects, so that it did not need to seek a bond which would include borrowing and interest costs over time, “akin to using the district savings account as opposed to using a credit card with associated interest rates.”

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