Fitchburg Public Schools

"Prepared to Succeed"

The mission of the Fitchburg Public Schools is to provide coordinated curricular and extracurricular experiences that inspire students to develop the academic, intellectual, creative, technological, and social skills necessary to work and to participate in our democratic society.

Fitchburg Public Schools in the News

Fitchburg Schools Gala Revives Funding for Fourth-Grade Band

Sentinel and Enterprise

Students sat in silence, grasping their instruments as the sounds of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony issued from a laptop at the front of the room Thursday morning.

"Sounds pretty cool, right?" Crocker Elementary music teacher Aaron Clark asked. "In a few weeks we're going to be performing that." The 19 members of the Crocker Fourth Grade Band erupted into a chorus of "What?" and "No!"

Though the date has not yet been set for the band's end­ of­ year performance, ­­ the culmination of eight month's of morning practices ­­ nerves are already building.

"I'm kind of getting nervous for that, because I haven't done that (before)" 9­ year­ old saxophone player Eugenia Bocchino said.

Clark had a few calming words for the band during practice Thursday morning. "We can do this," he said. "Why? You know the notes. You know the pitches. You know the rhythms."

The band, now in it's fourth year, almost didn't make it past its second. The program, which practices once a week before school, was originally funded by the 21st Century program, but was subject to cuts. Clark, the school's music teacher, continued the program on a volunteer basis, until this semester when money raised by the annual Fitchburg Schools Gala was used to revive funding for the band and nine other after school programs.

Some band members are among the school's best students, but Clark said he uses other factors ­­including interest, musical ability and how much a student could benefit ­­ to decide which fourth graders to invite to the band. "I'm not necessarily looking for the top students in everything to be a part of this band," he said. "There are some kids in here for whom a lot of other things in school are a struggle. But they are ones that either I know have some musical ability or ones that just really needed something to keep them going."

He said watching a student unpack one of the school-­owned instruments is rewarding, but his favorite part is watching the students improve. "They start to get it and feel confident on it," he said. "That right there is what I love: seeing that feeling of accomplishment."

Fitchburg Public Schools

Fitchburg Public Schools

376 South Street

Fitchburg, Massachusetts 01420