Zane Meeks directs a class of students in the newly remodeled Los Alamos High School music wing. Courtesy photo
Director Zane Meek was awarded a Professional Development Grant by Los Alamos Public Schools to attend the Midwest Band & Orchestra Festival and Conference in Chicago, IL.
This annual conference provides many opportunities for professional development, including sessions about advocacy, recruiting and retention, teaching techniques, instrumental music techniques for specific instruments, music technology in the classroom, student assessments, and so much more.
Meek explained, “You are learning directly from other professionals who have had success in their classrooms and want to share it with everyone.”
Presenters introduce educators to new ideas and technology they many have never seen or considered before, as well as introduce a new perspective to familiar ideas. The Midwest Clinic offers a wide variety of sessions that focus on just about every area of music education possible. This allows educators to chose sessions that will directly benefit them.
Educators were also treated to a variety of world-class performances by bands and orchestras from across the globe. Many of the performing directors then have round-table sessions where they can discuss what makes their program so successful. Meek said, “It’s very inspiring. They love what they do, and they’ve had so much success, and the energy starts to rub off on you.”
He hopes to pursue some of the ideas introduced as part of his participation, including the idea of Portfolio Assessment, which would allow a student to gauge their progress from their first day in band in elementary school, all the way through high school, allowing the student and the parents to see their growth and success.
Meek feels the biggest challenges the District faces now are about keeping students and parents engaged and interested, and willing to commit to band as part of a student’s academics, and not separate from it. Through department meetings, he hopes to pass on much of what he learned to the other band directors in the District.
The Spring 2017 Professional Development Grant application window is now open.
For information on aiding an LAPS teacher or school site in applying for a grant, please visit the Foundation’s website at lapsfoundation.com.