I teach in a district that has 6th graders housed at the elementary schools. The middle school is 7th/8th only.
Our 6th grade beginners are spread across 5 elementary feeder campuses with a 6th campus being built and coming online next school year. Our mornings are devoted to driving out to and from elementary schools to teach 6th grade beginners. Some of the high school staff travels of the mornings as well and helps to cover a campus or two. Afternoons are spent back at the middle school with the 4 concert bands that we have.
We only get to see each group of beginners every other day - which means, depending on the week, they get band either 2 or 3 times per week in a non-homogenous brass class, non-homogenous woodwind class, or percussion class.
Obviously, this is less than ideal but I have some questions for anyone out there that has a program with 6th graders at elementary schools and not on their Middle School campus (and probably also not in an intermediate school either).
1. Does anyone with 6th graders in elementary schools get to see them every day? -- We supposedly can't see beginner 6th graders every day because they also have P.E. on the days they don't have band. Apparently they have to have a certain amount of PE (90 minutes I think) per week. How do you work around this? I think other than not having homogenous beginner classes, this is our next biggest roadblock to higher levels of success. I'm not sure I even understand P.E. requirements of 6th graders housed on an elementary school campus (versus a middle school campus - if that changes anything) and if this issue is actually caused by this or just local scheduling.
2. What have you found that helps you to be successful in this setup? We do a few combined after school practices per semester, highly encourage lessons, and have really refined our curriculum. At this point, we just try to get them to look good, sound good, and get them to 7th grade (which then, in-turn, makes band in 7th grade like beginning band 2.0).
3. I welcome any other advice from those that are currently in or have taught in a similar situation and have found success.