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Dear Friends and Colleagues!

The IMEA board has been hard at work attending the National Assembly, and meeting with other MEA groups around the nation.  We have a lot of work to do! When we looked around at the other events being canceled this year (and beyond) due to COVID19, we felt that we had to make the difficult decision to cancel the Conference and All-State Festival, scheduled for February 3-6, in Coeur D’Alene.  We also made the decision to work toward hosting a virtual Solo and Ensemble festival in May.  We realize these decisions may not be popular with everyone, but we feel strongly that the health of our students (and you, our teachers) is our greatest concern.  

Next, we asked ourselves what the biggest need for Idaho’s music teachers would be. Our new goal is to develop and expand a plan to offer online professional development opportunities and resources, starting as soon as possible, that would directly benefit teachers navigating best practices in our new world.  We will soon be asking for proposals for Idaho teachers to present what works in their classrooms.  We’ll be collecting professional development courses from our partner organizations (NAfME, ACDA, CBDNA, ASTA, Orff, etc) and housing or linking them on our website.  We hope to include ways of achieving Continuing Education credits as well.

At this time, we are still asking for ensemble submissions as if the conference was happening.  We will select ensembles to showcase, and will ask for a live performance to celebrate your musical accomplishments on our website in February.  We want to recognize our student musicians as much as possible.  We will still be asking for nominations for awards and will create a presentation to replace our annual banquet as we would normally.  Board members will still meet virtually, and we will hold our annual business meeting and any other informational meetings throughout the year culminating with our business meeting and awards recognition in February.

We are also open to new ideas, programs, or virtual events that IMEA can sponsor or host.  We’ve begun a great relationship with Rebecca Martin, our Arts Representative at the Idaho Department of Education, and Elementary music teachers have begun meeting to discuss what activities they could be doing in their socially distanced or online classrooms.  All of these videos will be made available.  We are also open to hosting a virtual Concert Festival in the Spring, with feedback from outstanding clinicians for your performance groups. We also want to know what technology you’ve found and how you are using them in your classrooms. 

Finally, this is the time to renew and continue to be a member of IMEA and NAfME!  We anticipate advocacy needs as schools return, and your membership helps us with our efforts.  NAfME has developed an amazing list of professional development webinars that are very helpful at this time, and free for all teachers.  Many major national conferences are going virtual, and our IMEA members will be able to take advantage of those opportunities.  IMEA will still be actively representing you and continuing to offer as many resources as possible.

As your IMEA President, please feel free to contact me at any point with suggestions, concerns, advocacy issues, solutions, or any other questions you may have.  

Stay safe and be well!

Tom Kloss


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