Friday, May 20, 2011

What We’re Up To: Building a Community of Boston Music Educators

Last year, BCC was awarded a grant by EdVestors, an organization that drives change in urban schools through strategic private investment. The grant was part of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion Fund, a three-year $2.5 million effort whose mission is to empower BPS schools to embrace and expand arts instruction in schools.

Each month, five BPS music teachers met with BCC’s Artistic Director Anthony Trecek-King and Assistant Artistic Director Michele Adams to discuss a wide range of topics related to their work. The final meeting was held recently at BCC Central, where each teacher presented a project they’d been working on throughout their time in the Study Group. Project topics included curriculum development, integration of solfege for young singers, and the effect of music training on language fluency. 

The teachers were (from left to right in the photo): Kelly DiGrazia - Orchard Gardens, Sharon Hamel - F. D. Roosevelt, Sonya White Hope - Winthrop Elementary, PK Egersheim - Condon Elementary, Tamiko Everson - Murphy Elementary. Cleo Knight-Wilkins, BPS Senior Program Director for the Arts, was also in attendance for the final presentation.

While tempting to call the presentations a capstone, the teachers had many other important experiences together this year. Artistic Director Anthony Trecek-King remarked that, “From the first session, it was obvious to Michelle and I that this group needed this time to build community together, and we adjusted accordingly.”

The outcome was clear: these educators had developed a profound connection to one another, based on a rare opportunity to intensively discuss their work with peers. Lest we assume that music teachers have lots of opportunity to connect, in the teacher’s lounge or in their classrooms, the Study Group highlighted the following:
  • Nearly all schools have a single music teacher, and many are not even dedicated to a single school
  • Many teach during nearly every period, with few “inactive” minutes during the school day
  • Many do not have their own classrooms
In light of these facts, it’s easy to understand why this Study Group relished their discussions as they did. BCC considers it part of its mission to build community in this way, and hopes to expand this initiative next year and for years to come.

1 comment:

Boston Children's Chorus said...

If you are a music teacher in the Boston Public Schools, we would love to hear from you!