The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 14, 2006


Fine arts flourish at the Carlisle Public School

Music and art are included in the curriculum for every grade at the Carlisle Public School, and fine arts teachers described their work at the April 5 meeting of the Carlisle School Committee. Written benchmarks documenting the fine arts curriculum have been completed, noted Tom O'Halloran, Fine Arts Coordinator and instrumental music teacher for grades four through eight. He said that the fine arts teachers have recently reached beyond the school and created a new "connection" with the artists in the Highland Building. A guest artist who has a studio in the building will be making an appearance in the school library during Arts Week, May 8 - 12. Also, an innovative display from the DeCordova Museum will be brought to the Gleason Library.

O'Halloran introduced Kirsten Neale, substitute for music teacher Angela Monke, who has been out on maternity leave. Neale said she has been following Monke's curriculum and has also introduced a "song parody" unit in which the students create words to fit to familiar tunes. In May the students will compose their own songs to accompany familiar words, such as well-known poetry.

Music teacher Megan Fitzharris publicly thanked the Carlisle School Association for funding the African "World" instruments, which she demonstrated at the meeting. Fitzharris was pleased to announce the Carlisle Middle School Choir won a gold medal at the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) Choral Festival. She reported the enrollment for the school choirs has increased.

Art teachers Rachel Dayson and Courtney Graham-Hadley displayed examples of the students' work, including an exhibit of artwork laid out around the room. Despite the length of time it took to go through the examples of art from Kindergarten to eighth grade, the committee and audience members were actively interested.

O'Halloran, whose Senior Band also took home gold at MICCA, concluded the presentation by explaining he has built a portfolio timeline in his 23 years as a music teacher at the school, which he will pass on to his replacement. He praised the cooperative spirit at the school, thanking parents and staff for their support. "I really believe it is music for everybody," he said. He has offered to return to the school as a mentor for the newly-hired band teacher. He thanked Marilyn Harte, saying she was responsible for bringing him to the school 23 years ago.

Superintendent Marie Doyle praise O'Halloran, saying she had first heard about "an amazing music teacher" long before she met him. "You make the office staff laugh, you are elegant, and we cannot fill your shoes." She also warned him he would be well roasted at the retirement party.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito