ELWOOD - A popular show put on for and by kindergarten students in Elwood each year has been canceled by the school district in order to focus on academics instead.

The song-filled show has been put on for years at Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood. Recently, however, parents in the community received a pair of letters from district officials announcing the cancellation of the program.

"The reason we are eliminating the kindergarten show is simple," the second of the two letters reads. "We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills."

The district says instead it will instead focus on helping its kindergarteners become "strong readers and problem solvers."

The explanation about career preparation for 5- and 6-year-olds has raised some parents' eyebrows. One parent has set up an online petition to reinstate the show, and more than 1,200 people have already signed it.

News 12 reached out to the school district for comment on the decision. A spokesperson says that its educators believe the decision "is in the best interest of the students."