PURCHASE LINE: Teacher proposes music history class
January 14, 2014 10:50 AM

PURCHASE LINE — Music teacher Rebecca Bracken presented her case for a music history and world music course during Monday’s work session of the Purchase Line school board.

The writing-intensive course, she explained, would begin next year and cover music history from the Renaissance through today as well as music from different cultures. The course would be offered to senior high students and would replace the theater tech course currently taught at the high school.

“Theater tech is what I like to call a specialty course,” Bracken said. “It’s a course that’s taught by someone especially talented in such an art. This someone is definitely not me.”

Bracken explained that 14 students were enrolled in last semester’s theater tech course, which is not even being offered to students this semester. Theater tech focuses on design and construction, areas which Bracken said she does not feel confident teaching.

Twenty students in the music department have shown interest in the new music history course, according to Bracken, who polled some of her students.

The only cost to the district would be for new textbooks. Bracken said she would be using the same texts that Indiana University of Pennsylvania uses for its freshman humanities music class.

The course has the potential to become an advanced placement course, Bracken said, creating the opportunity for students to earn college credits while simultaneously increasing Purchase Line’s Pennsylvania school assessment score.

In other business, the board will consider a request from the business office for overtime so staff members can fulfill requests from past employees in regard to the Public Schools Employees’ Retirement System.

According to business manager Janice Pearce, in 2004, PSERS began requiring former employees of school districts to get in contact with those schools and purchase the documents to show their employment for their PSERS retirement. In some cases, these documents go back to the 1970s.

“What that entails is, outside of the day of this employee of our business staff, they have to be able to go and research the proper pay stubs and payroll, and sometimes that’s available on the computer and sometimes it’s not,” said Superintendent Joseph Bradley.

PSERS has given employees a deadline of June 30 to have their requests filed. At the current time, Purchase Line has 60 of these applications to process, according to Pearce. In some cases, it can take a member of the business staff several days to process a single individual’s request while simultaneously performing his or her normal duties.

The business office staff has requested overtime to work on Saturdays or after normal school hours to help process and catch up on these applications.

Bradley updated the board on the search for a 12-month business office secretary. Six candidates took the secretarial testing at the Indiana Career and Technology Center Monday. Pending those results, the successful candidate will interview with the district on Monday during school hours. Bradley expects to be able to bring a name to the board for voting during the regular board meeting that evening.

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