Letters to the Editor
I had heard rumors early in the school year that the Hoe Down was going to be eliminated this year, but I was hoping that this would not be the case. However, it appears that the decision has been made, and there will be no Hoe Down this spring. As a 30-year veteran, now retired, elementary teacher, I would like to share my thoughts on this decision.
The Hoe Down has been a LONG-standing tradition of the grade school, whether it was Center School or Wright Elementary. Square Dancing has been an acceptable and important part of the 3rd grade Arts Curriculum in our district since 1976 when we were celebrating our country’s bicentennial. As I recall, every school was required to have some type of program/celebration commemorating the bicentennial, and the third grades from both elementary schools, Wright and Center, chose square dancing led by Karen Tiegs and Barbara Holbert. It is considered to be our American Folk Dance. The Hoe Down evolved to be a school-wide tradition after the consolidation of the elementary schools, and the K-3 classes were moved to Wright Elementary, and it has been modified through the years to include traditional Native American dances as well.
Until this year, the Hoe Down has always been one of the highlights of the grade school’s spring activities and the Colorama Festival. It is one of the few times during the school year that our children have the opportunity to celebrate with the community and show community pride. It is also one of the most positive PR events of our elementary school. Parents, grandparents, friends, and former students all love to attend this event.
I’m not sure what led to this decision, and I realize that you can’t improve without change, but I would hope that by eliminating this event, there is a plan for something BETTER to take its place. Positive PR is a very valuable commodity, and in today’s world, public schools need all they can get. You might be missing a HUGE opportunity to promote some really good PR by eliminating the Hoe Down. I’ve also heard that Sing Along could be next on the chopping block. Since the State does have Learning Standards for the Arts, which includes Dance and Music, what will our school be offering our children in these areas to replace the Hoe Down and Sing Along?
Parents and citizens remember, these are our schools, serving our community’s children, and you have the right and the responsibility to voice your opinions and be involved in curriculum decisions. To view these standards, go to State of Washington OSPI.