When it comes to recruiting and retention, all too often and unintentionally, I feel we practice what I call The Salmon Principle of Recruiting and Retention. We recruit as many beginning students as we can, teach them the best we can, and hope they make it to graduation with an instrument in their hands. To me, that is the equivalent of sending lots of salmon upstream, praying that as many as possible will not be eaten by bears or get dashed on the rocks, hoping enough make it upriver to keep that ecosystem alive. It works, but it is based on a giant gamble with very little control over the outcome. Every opportunity we have to praise a child for the smallest steps forward, the tiniest progress, helps them stay motivated and inspired to continue their journey. I believe our every action can alter those odds of success profoundly and help our students stay the course we know is so vitally important.
Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
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