- Associated Press - Saturday, October 14, 2017

EUREKA, Utah (AP) - Kodey Hughes plays the role of superintendent to his own tune. Four mornings a week, he bounces between Tintic School District buildings, teaching music classes in addition to performing his administrative roles.

Hughes teaches music to 110 of the small, central Utah school district’s 250 students. He knows firsthand what tooting a rusty old trumpet can do for a struggling student.

Hughes recently shared his instrumental story to folks gathered at a Utah School Board meeting, telling them how picking up an instrument in sixth grade changed his outlook on life, the Deseret News reported .


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“I get a trumpet and it’s this beat up old trumpet, and I just started playing it. I did the same thing I do with those kids, learn those notes and this and that,” said Hughes, who required special education services in grade school. “I really, really struggled with my reading. But I also started to really improve in those things because of small classes and because of a smaller environment.”

Hughes pleaded with the board to reinstate music as a core requirement for seventh- and eighth-graders. It was stripped from the state’s core curriculum list in August, as was arts, dance, theater or media arts, physical education, health education and college and career awareness.



The new policy allows schools to offer two of the above courses, along with digital literacy and at least one foreign language.

Despite the policy, Hughes uses his music program to get his students out in the real world. He takes them to universities to tour campuses, where they play along with university bands. Three recent graduates from the district enrolled at Southern Utah University, “because they made that connection” during the program’s visit, Hughes said.

Every other year, students raise money for a band trip out of state where they meet students from urban high schools and play music together.

As the district’s top administrator, Hughes is younger than many of his employees. Some of them taught him when he was a student. And while music is his passion, Hughes said he’s equally committed to helping educators refine their craft and hopefully, sink roots into the tiny community that has strong traditions in mining.

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Information from: Deseret News, https://www.deseretnews.com

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