Flagler Youth Orchestra on Moving Forward with the 2023-2024 Year

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The Flagler Youth Orchestra has been a Flagler Schools staple program for well over a decade, and despite recent issues and upheavals, the program will continue this year in full swing. Concerts are already on the calendar for this upcoming year, and the commitment by the Flagler School Board as well as Flagler Schools staff is 100% according to Interim Superintendent LaShakia Moore.

During an interview earlier today, we sat and talked with Interim Superintendent LaShakia Moore and Teaching and Learning Director Jeff Reaves, we discussed the FYO, it’s schedule, and how it will move forward this year.

Superintendent Moore told us that the program structure will remain mostly the same as the year kicks off and the program runs. She told us that when you have someone who runs a program for any length of time, and that changes, there will always be some minor changes in how things go, but overall the structure will remain generally the same. The open house will be on September 13th from 6pm to 7:30pm, and Superintendent Moore states that the range of students serviced will remain the same as years past, from 3rd grade up to graduating seniors, and the program will remain open to all students who wish to participate.

Auditions will also be remaining the same, however one change may be the need to add additional days and time frames for children who will be auditioning. Superintendent Moore and Teaching and Learning Director Jeff Reaves both stated that over 100 students have signed up for auditions currently, and if the numbers continue to rise the need for additional audition days will increase as well.

As in years past, a small ensemble will still go to all the elementary schools to introduce the orchestra to students and help foster a desire for the performing arts. Concerts will remain much of the same as well, with the programs, ads, and the option to place love notes to students performing. As previously stated, Reaves went on record to state that all of the upcoming years concerts are already on the books and scheduled out, so that aspect will remain the same.

Many of the changes will be operational, so families and students will not see or be affected by these changes. Some of the changes are regarding oversight. Teaching and Learning Director Jeff Reaves will be overseeing the interview and screening process for new hires, and he is the point of contact for Moore, who will be the one taking the suggested candidates before the board. The program will remain under the department of Teaching and Learning, like many other programs, which will allow for more oversight, as well as more support for the staff.

Reaves and Moore both stated that, “We are confident that the program will be fully staffed and operational by the open house on September 13th.” The official hiring of the staff, including a new executive director and artistic director will be done at the September School Board meeting.

We also talked about the audit. The audit will be reviewed at the September 5th workshop, and Moore foresees this audit having an impact on the operational side of the program. This operational side, is the side of the program that families and students do not see, and it involves issues like operations, collections of funds, staff oversight, program oversight and other behind the scenes functions. “Many of these behind the scenes functions have already been changed,” said Teaching and Learning Director Jeff Reaves. He went on to say, “The program has already been agreed to and funded by the School Board at the same level as before.”

Both Interim Superintendent Moore and Teaching and Learning Director Jeff Reaves also went on record to state that there has been an outpouring of support from families who have already signed up for auditions. They both stated that many of the parents have had positive experiences so far, as well as positive feedback despite all of the recent changes. Moore also stated that, “Rumors may have caused a decline in this years students, but the commitment to the program by the school district is full force.” During past years the average number of students in the FYO was between 300-350, and Moore hopes to see this year be on track to meet that same level this year.

Reaves has also ensured that parents of students involved with the FYO are getting weekly emails, starting two Fridays ago. There will also be an email going out to parents regarding the FYO this next Friday as well. Staff is also working on re-establishing relationships with previous musical vendors to ensure that the students have adequate access to instrument rentals and other supplies. The emails to the vendors went out this week. Parents of children who are involved with or interested in the Flagler Youth Orchestra can find all the necessary information on the FYO website which is now located on the Flagler Schools website under the About Us – Community – Flagler Youth Orchestra or by clicking here.


By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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