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Mokena D159 Music Program Muted

Less than a month after the resignation of Jessica Maffia, music teacher Jennifer Thomas also resigns, leaving District 159's music program without any teachers.

The music in has stopped.

, the other half of the music department in the district, Jennifer Thomas, has also resigned. The departure of the two teachers leaves D159 without any teachers in the music department.

Thomas and Maffia were responsible for all band, choir and music classes in the district, traveling between buildings throughout the day to complete their schedules. Superintendent Steve Stein said that Thomas' resignation was not a surprise, and that she is leaving to pursue a doctorate in music education.

“She's planning on going back to school for [music education] and earning a doctorate, and ultimately teaching at the collegiate level,” Stein said. “So, it really wasn't out of the blue.”

Stein said there is “no timeline” for when the district will hire new teachers for the two full-time positions, as well as a newly created parttime position, but that job listings are already posted.

“We have those positions posted right now, and we're currently collecting applications for it,” Stein said. “We should hopefully be moving on that in the not too distant future, getting those positions filled. … There's no timeline, but we want to have those positions filled as soon as possible.”

He added that the positions will be similar to those vacated by Thomas and Maffia, but the addition of a third, parttime faculty member should reduce the travel between buildings. 

Stein continued that he doesn't expect the program to suffer with the loss of both teachers, and the hiring of three new teachers.

“Any time you have this kind of turnover, of course it's a little concerning,” he said. “The program is the program, it will continue to exist. We will still continue to have tremendous support from our parents for the program. I think that we will be able to hire people who are highly qualified and motivated to continue to keep the program as strong as it has ever been.”

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R.W.Voter June 14, 2012 at 01:14 PM
I really don't think that the loss of music program is a big thing. Maybe they can concentrate on teaching the kids what they have to know to succeed in the world. If they did, maybe they could reduce the number of children who have to get extra help or have to go into remedial studies when entering JJC. I for one whould like to know how many children are held back a year in this school system, because they couldn't make the grade. I have lived here for 7 years and have never heard of anyone failing. Has anybody else? Thank you, music and art are for people who either are interested in it or talented it. And in that case it shold be an extra activity paid for by the parents.
Chris June 14, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I disagree with your comments. Studies show that music students excel not only at music but in academics as a whole. Being involved in elementary music education led to high school and college participation for me, and gave me experiences that I treasure and the ability to express myself. Students do so well in our district because of programs like music and art. It's almost if you want students to do poor and suffer like you apparently did.
R.W.Voter June 14, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Well, we disagree. I believe that it is a total waste of time and money. If you read my posts you would know that I want the children to learn. To be able to figure out math without a calculator, to be able to work a cash register without pictures showing the item and give out the proper change without having the register compute it for them.I have nothing against music, but the only occupation for those who major in it is teaching. I do believe that it is extra activity and the parents should pay the cost of it. This school system is on the brink and they aren't getting any money from the state, and they have bled the citizens dry. I ,my friend ,did not suffer and do not suffer now. I probably got a better education than u did, and I didn't take useless classes like music and art. It is obvious by the last comment in your post, you didn't learn to express yourself very well. Go back to your music.
Jim Andricopulos June 14, 2012 at 11:12 PM
RW - your ignorance is showing - so, you don't see any value in raising individuals capable of raising their voices in concert with others. You don't see a value in working together in harmonizing one's talents? Are we really going to have schools simply raising drones to work in the marketplace - develop math skills to work a cash register. My wife and I were both like you, without any musical exposure besides basic elementary school choir. We've seen them receive an enriched education that included musical experiences as a fundamental part of it. Their confidence in themselves and in social situations is immensely more advanced than mine were at the same age. I think music played more than a small part in that. But, don't listen to me, just read up on what any expert in the field of education have to say on the matter. Lift your head a little on the matter. Don't simply look at the dollars and cents. Look into what you can't quantify a little.
R.W.Voter June 15, 2012 at 12:53 AM
I Think that your ignornace is showing through. (there is no need for classless statements) I explained it was my opinion as to the importance of music and choir. Your opinion differs from mine. My point is that if the parents want it I think they should pay the cost of it. I don't think all children wanted to take music as was directed by Ms. Perry. Some like it, some don't. It is an opinion. Jim, we don't have the money to pay for it, would you rather we cut math or English, or reading. These are the keys to being successful. We are talking about elementary school here. It ain't Oxford. If they like music or art, those subjects are available in High School. I don't feel that I really care what an expert in the field of education would say. I don't have a lot of faith in the people of that field. Thank you
Chris June 17, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Right on, Jim. This guy is short-sighted.

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