The Downtown Middle School’s local ‘School of Rock’ Readin’, writin’ and rockin’
appeared as an article in the Thursday, March 3, 2005 edition of relish by staff writer Ed Bumgardner
The article describes the classroom:

“The School of Rock class is held inside a tiny room tucked away on the school’s third floor. The room is spiked with work modules, four guitars to a module. Each module has a box that contains a tuner, some special effects and a tiny amplifier that can only be heard by students wearing headphones. Tatum has a command module from which he can isolate the playing of each student who is wearing headphones.”

Chuck Spicer, the school’s band director is quoted:

“Spicer said that response from kids and parents has been supportive and overwhelmingly positive. ‘Music is a valuable part of a child’s education,’ he said. ‘We know not everyone continues to play. But they will take away knowledge about what a musician has to go through.'”

Another one of John’s gifts to the community for as Bumgardner points out,

“Tatum, who is the school’s second teacher, donates his time. He also put together the curriculum’s instruction booklet. It does include a few songs that aren’t rock tunes. Those songs never get played.”

“‘A kid’s gotta rock,'” Tatum said, smiling.

“For Tatum, teaching the kids is a labor of love. ‘My goal is to nurture the kids who have a knack for playing, and to keep things fun for the others. Some days are better than others, but I can always take an hour. And if I can reach that one kid….'”