The Music & Arts Center, also known as the MAC, is a unique educational facility in Kennewick, Washington offering specialized classes in music, art, dance and technology for youth throughout the Mid Columbia.
Music & Arts Center Restructuring for the 2018 – 2019 School Year
Dear Music & Arts Center Parents,
We hope summer is going well for you! As we are preparing for another great school year at the Music & Arts Center, we wanted to make you aware of several changes that will be taking place this fall. All of these changes are designed to increase learning and focus on music and the arts.
When the MAC was created 14 years ago, it was designed and envisioned to be a community hub for high quality education for youth interested in the arts. Over the past several years, steps have been taken to get the Music & Arts Center to where it was originally envisioned to be. However, we have more work to do in order to truly unlock the full potential of this facility.
Additionally, we have a unique opportunity with the opening of a new traditional Boys & Girls Club in Kennewick in January of 2019. This will allow the Music & Arts Center to focus on implementing our unique mission, as more traditional club services will be offered just a few blocks away.
The changes we will be making have been discussed at length and these decisions were not made lightly. We understand these changes may cause challenges for some families. However, these changes will allow us to provide higher quality programming for more youth in our community. Our goal has always been to provide outstanding programs for youth passionate about the arts. Below is an outline of the changes we will be making. Please contact the MAC if you have any questions. *Class sign-ups for the upcoming school year will begin Monday, July 30th.
Our new Parent Handbook for the 2018 – 2019 School Year also helps explain how the MAC will operate this upcoming school year, and beyond.
No More Learning Center
The Learning Center has been replaced with a new Tech Room. This will allow youth in our tech classes to have more space to work on projects and it will give them more flexibility to do projects they could not do before in the small space they had. Members will still be able to complete their homework in the Games Room if they wish, but there will no longer be a dedicated staff to help youth with their homework.
No More Teen Room
The Teen Room is being replaced with three individual music practice rooms. We are building two walls in the Teen Room to create three different spaces so more youth can practice on their own at the same time. This will also allow us to increase the number of private lessons we can offer. Starting this fall, we will be offering private lessons every day. Teens will be able to hang out in the Games Room or complete projects/practice in other program spaces when classes are not being held.
No More Transportation provided by the MAC
Starting this fall, the MAC will no longer be offering transportation services to youth at Finley Elementary School or Cascade Elementary School. There are currently no plans to provide transportation services from any other school at any time in the future. However, we may offer transportation services for youth interested in classes at the MAC who are attending the new Boys & Girls Club in Kennewick that is expected to open in January 2019. We are ending transportation services to focus more of our staff energy on running high quality classes. Youth may still come to the MAC on the KSD school buses that drop off in front of the MAC each afternoon.
We will be transitioning from a trimester-based class schedule to a year-long class schedule. This means all classes offered at the MAC will last for the entirety of the school year (from September – June). This restructure will allow members to grow their skills over the course of those nine months and reach a higher level of understanding of their class subject by the end of each school year, rather than re-starting the process every couple months. Youth may join a class in the middle of the school year, at the beginning of a month, with the approval from the Music & Arts Center Director.
Adjusted Class Times
Some class times will still take place roughly around the same time as they have in the past. However, we will be offering more classes later in the day/early evening as well to accommodate parents who want to take their child to a class but don’t get off work until 5 pm or so. Private lessons will also run until 8 pm each day. Typically, classes will meet one day each week. The length of each class varies depending on the demands/structure of that subject. For example, a beginning art class may meet for 45 minutes each week, and an advanced art class may meet for an hour and a half each week. Our full list of classes with specific days/times will be available soon on our new website that is being developed: tricitiesmac.org.
Two Performance Showcases instead of Three
As a result of the class structure change, we will adjust our Performance Showcases. Instead of having three Performance Showcases at the end of each trimester, we will only have two: one in early December, and one in early June. The short Spring Trimester has always been a challenge, and giving youth more time to prepare to perform will allow them to reach a higher level of achievement. Performances will also be done by sign-up only with instructor approval.
With the trimester system a thing of the past, the Music & Arts Center will start billing monthly for services. Payments will be due the first of each month for those month’s classes. If payment is not received by the 5th of the month, a $10 late fee will be assessed. If payment is not received by the 10th of the month, your child may lose their spot in the program. A discount for families choosing to pay for the entire school year at once will be available.
Free-Time / Extended Care Services (K – 5)
Members will still be able to come to the MAC on days they don’t have classes. However, there will now be a monthly fee to do so (this fee is separate from the class fee). This school year, we will offer what we’re calling Extended Care Services. These services will be available to all K – 5 youth who are able to work independently without significant guidance. Since there is no more Learning Center, youth participating in Extended Care Services will only be able to stay in the MAC’s Games Room when they are not in class. Youth may work on homework, read, or play games in the Games Room. Members will no longer need to earn their magnet to play certain games. A dedicated staff member will continue to oversee the Games Room while checking members in and out of the MAC each day. Extended Care Services will be available each afternoon from 2 – 6 pm, and Extended Care Services are only available to K – 5 youth who are enrolled in at least one class.
*Extended Care Services for K – 5 youth will be eliminated starting fall 2019. We are moving this direction so staff can completely focus on creating a high quality learning environment for youth interested in music and the arts.
Teen Collaboration Opportunities (6th – 12th grade)
The Music & Arts Center is striving to be a community hub for creativity. As such, 6th – 12th grade youth who want to develop their skills in music and the arts may come to the MAC anytime each afternoon/evening from 2 – 8 pm to work independently on projects, in a group, or with a partner. 6th – 12th grade youth may work on creative projects in the Games Room, practice music individually in practice rooms, or work on projects in the Art, Tech, or Back Room if classes are not being held. Youth attending the MAC for Teen Collaboration Opportunities must be able to work independently and without significant guidance. Teen Collaboration Opportunities are only available to 6th – 12th grade youth who are enrolled in at least one class. There is no additional charge for this.
Preschool-and-younger classes in the morning
Starting this fall, we will offer music, art, and dance classes for preschool-and-younger youth (18 months – 4 years old). These classes will take place each morning at the MAC.
We will no longer be participating in the state’s food program. Instead of purchasing items for structured snacks each afternoon, we will only be giving out the food we receive as donations from 2nd Harvest. This means snack will be much less structured and may not happen every day. We will have a “Snack Area” where we will place food items as we receive them, and members will be able to take those items if they choose. This will allow our staff to focus more time and energy on running high quality classes instead of purchasing/preparing/distributing snack each afternoon.
No School Days
We will no longer offer day camps/all day care for No School Days. Instead, we will operate the MAC like normal on these days. This will allow our staff to focus more time and energy on running high quality classes.
Spring Break / Winter Break / Summer Camp
The Music & Arts Center plans to offer specialized camps during Spring Break, Winter Break and during the summer. We are planning to replace day-long camps with half-day camps. Typical camps will last for three hours each day: 9 am – 12 pm or 1 pm – 4 pm. Information about these specialty camps will be available on our website: tricitiesmac.org, our social media pages, and on the front counter at the MAC several weeks before they begin.
Some Programs Eliminated
We will no longer be running Boys Council, Girls Circle, Torch Club, and Rotary Mentors. This will allow our staff to focus more time and energy on running high quality classes.
*We plan to bring Torch Club and Keystone Club back to the MAC after this upcoming school year if there is a good fit for the program with our members.
No More Tracking Unexcused Absences
We will no longer track absences in classes. Although we strongly encourage all youth to attend all their classes, there will no longer be the “5 unexcused absences and you’re out of the class” policy.
* A phone call or email about any absence is still greatly appreciated. However, if a member misses too many class sessions, they will fall behind in the class and they may be excluded from performance opportunities.
No More Parent Folders
Parent Folders will be eliminated. If you would like to receive a receipt for any payment made, do not hesitate to ask the Music & Arts Center Director.
If you feel the Music & Arts Center is no longer a good fit for your family, you can reach out to our organizational staff at (509) 543-9980. We would be glad to visit with you about other Club programs in our community that may be a better fit for your child or family. We can also refer you to other programs in the community if the Boys & Girls Club does not have a program to meet your needs.