Too often, we are ready to criticize our children, teens and youth. We seldom hear anything good about the positive students and teachers who are making a difference. This is indicative in the recent published award winning article of increase in crime in the Pottstown area.
Allow me to sing the highest praise for the Pottstown Middle School Jazz Band under the direction of Professor Benjamin Hayes who performed for Middle School Students on the afternoon of Tuesday May 8, 2012 and were in concert the same evening.
I witnessed seeing and listening to the band in the afternoon at the Middle School where they received a standing ovation from the students, teachers and staff. In all my travels and working in the field of education since 1976, I have not been so impressed with a group of musicians as I was with these young people. What is equally important is that fact that most of the band members are honor students and outstanding citizens.
Too often, we as educators and society in general we put much of our resources (financial and human) into disruptive behavior. By this, I mean we expend federal and municipal dollars in programs to modify the behavior of disruptive or problem students. As an example, teenage pregnancy preventive and drug preventive and in-school suspension, etc. programs, leaving little money to reward the students who do well in and out of school. We can change our approach and start emphasizing rewarding the good students and I guarantee you eventually we will change the behavior of the problem students because they will learn that their behavior is going to be ignored or at least contained without benefits.
Finally, the behavior and excellence of the middle school band could not be accomplished without the outstanding and effective leadership of Mr. Hayes and support and cooperation of parents. I hope every citizen of Pottstown and the area takes time to send a note to Mr. Hayes for the students to encourage him and the students. Letting them know that we care about them and to applaud their excellent efforts.
- Wesley A. Plummer, Ed.D., Pottstown