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Jul 13, 2018

Thank you for a wonderful school year!

New Brunswick County Teachers Learning to Play
New Brunswick County Teachers Learning to Play

Hello Kind Supporters,

Another productive school year at Guitars in the Classroom is coming to an end now, and we couldn't be prouder of the participating classroom teachers, their students and our very devoted teaching artists and faculty members for the ways that they have inspired and accomplished such creative learning this year! We'd like to share with you a few highlights from our programs in San Diego, Colorado and North Carolina.

San Diego

First up we want to tell y'all about Jody Mulgrew, GITC's National Teaching Artist of the Year. Jody has been working in a program called Learning Through the Arts for the past two years. San Diego Unified School District is collaborating with 20+ local arts education nonprofits, bringing arts integration programming to thousands of students in nearby schools, and Guitars in the Classroom is thrilled with the literacy work Jody has done at Euclid, Cherokee Point and Normal Heights elementary schools. This year, Jody worked with 1st and 4th grade teachers at Euclid to support the classroom teachers' important literacy goals and objectives through singing, songwriting and playing instruments. Students from more than a dozen countries have deepened their grasp of the English language, improved their writing and reading skills, and have mastered important concepts, all through the power of song and playing ukuleles.

Jody also brought empowering songs such as "What Can One Little Person Do?" and "I'm On My Way to Freedom Land" to his students. And working with many refugee children, he taught them to sing and play the traditional folk song, "500 Miles." Their SRO end of year performance brough tears and children who have fled war and persecution gave voice to their own life experiences through these age old words. "Lord I'm one, Lord I'm two, Lord I'm three, Lord I'm four, Lord I'm five hundred miles from my home and I can't go back home this-away. Not a shirt upon my back and not a penny to my name, and I can't go back home this away."  Jody has also been working closely with GITC's special education team to unearth best practices, allowing ALL students to participate in and learn through music. This Sped Lab (as we affectionately call it) has not only benefitted students at Euclid but has also been a springboard for providing music inclusion training for special olympics leaders in Phoenix, AZ and for all who will be attending our Sped Adaptive Music Conference this July. He is joining our faculty on July 20th to help us train 60 educators to make music accessible for students with every kind of disability and challenge. We are blown away by his compassion, teaching skills and musical talent. You can learn more about Jody's own music here. https://www.jodymulgrew.com/ 

North Carolina

Jeremy Mathews, a gifted music teacher and longtime GITC faculty member could barely keep up with the demand for his GITC instruction and expertise in Brunswick County and New Hanover, NC. Undaunted, Jeremy worked with the Brunswick County VAPA department to structure full classes on alternating weeks so everyone could be served. Classes were truly bursting at the seems with teachers who wanted to integrate music into their classrooms. When we asked the teachers how we could make their experience better in the future, the overwhelming response was simply, "Give us more!" Their enthusiasm for the program is inspiring, and definitely caught the attention of those at the top. Thank you to our guitar and ukulele sponsors, Godin, Kala, Oriolo, Saga and Korg for helping make sure every teacher learned to play both instruments!

Connie Enis, Director of Fine Arts & Advanced Studies for Brunswick County Schools, had this to say about Mr. Mathews:

"It has been my pleasure to work with Jeremy Mathews with the three different classes we have scheduled in Brunswick County Schools here in NC.  The teachers and other folks who have participated have thoroughly enjoyed their time in those classes.  The learning that has occurred has encouraged them to use their newfound skills with songwriting and playing instruments like the ukulele and the guitar in their various classes.  Many of those participants have reinforced the notion that professional development should be fun, creative, relevant, informative, and hands-on.  GITC addresses all those descriptors.  We are very fortunate to have had this musical exposure here.  Many thanks go to you and all involved in this powerful grant endeavor to spread the love of music to so many who would not have otherwise had this opportunity."

 Colorado

GITC is always looking for communities who value music and are facing tough economic challenges to help. This year we came across Pueblo, Colorado where the leaders in both music education and early childhood education responded to our outreach with a resounding, "Please bring it on!" GITC music education trainer Linda Emmerman from Longmont and classroom teacher trainer Joan Maute from Fort Collins teamed up to get teachers from both Pueblo city and county schools strumming and singing to teach through the power of song. We are excited to learn that their VAPA coordinator is looking at supplying her participating classrooms and schools with sets of student ukuleles so kids across the grades all over town will learn to play, sing and write songs for learning in the fall. Thanks to everyone who is helping!

Of course, Guitars in the Classroom doesn't stop making a difference when school's out. We keep right on training teachers all summer long! Your generous donations allow us to engage teachers in intensive trainings and workshops, building their capactiy to facilitate strumming, singing and songwriting for learning in 2018-2019. We have full summer intensives starting this week and right after that, our first ever free Sped Adaptive Music Conference which is already full, and then the annual 3 dayTeacher Retreat in the mountains of Julian, CA where teachers can recharge their energy and take giant steps forward musically speaking with round the clock classes, To learn more, please visit our new website and check out the blogs under News & Events.

Thank you very much for helping our charity make it possible for teachers and students to experience the joy and power of making and learning through music on a daily basis. Please mark your calendar and join us on July 18th for the Global Giving Bonus Day! Because we have a "superstar" rating, your donation will qualify for a generous 50% match between 9 a.m. and 11:59 pm EDT (or 6 a.m. and 8:59 pm PDT) while matching funds last. We hope you will want to make a great big difference through GITC in just 9 days!

With gratitude for your encouragement and support, let's keep growing together!

 Jess

Jody Mulgrew, National Teaching Artist of the Year
Jody Mulgrew, National Teaching Artist of the Year
Linda Emmerman trains music educators for GITC
Linda Emmerman trains music educators for GITC
Teachers bring joy to learning in CO!
Teachers bring joy to learning in CO!
GITC Classroom Teachers at Euclid Elementary
GITC Classroom Teachers at Euclid Elementary
Special Olympics Leaders Training with GITC in AZ
Special Olympics Leaders Training with GITC in AZ

Links:

May 2, 2018

GITC Special Educator Recognized!

The Award
The Award

Dear Friend of Special Learners,

We are writing to ask you to celebrate with us. One of our own, the remarkable Val Simons, special educator in our San Diego Sped Lab at Euclid Elementary has been officially recognized by our home district for her creativity and dedication to serving students through the Arts. As a "mod to severe" specialist who makes music a daily part of learning for her students, Val was recognized this past Sunday by the San Diego Unified School District's department of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) in a beautiful ceremony at the grand Copley Symphony Hall. We are including photos from the event with this report for you to feel the magic.

Val applied for and was rewarded with a coveted VAPA grant so that, in addition to filling her room with percussion instruments and ukuleles for every child, she could also add a karaoke machine, and acquire instrument wall hangers in order to keep the ukes safely off the floor of her classroom. This grant application brought her efforts to light. Among all the arts educators who were congratulated, Val stood proudly as the representative for special education in the presence of our Superintendent, Cindy Marten, members of the San Diego Unified School Board, and the Vice Chair of the California Arts Council, Larry Baza. She is a change bringer!

We want to share this proud moment with you because Val is humble, tireless and irreducibly creative. She would never seek attention for herself. This makes this award all the more special. She has been making the world better for kids with special needs since 1989 when she was introduced to the Special Olympics by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Since that day there has been no looking back.

Val has worked very hard to be able to play ukulele and guitar, and to learn to transmit what she knows to her students. And because of her, they are now singing, writing songs, playing ukes, drums, shakers and more, and they are responding to the power of music to help them learn new ideas, vocabulary and behaviors.

If you would like to make a donation in honor of Val, or another wonderful mother during this month's Mother's Day capaign, we hope you will visit our new project on GlobalGiving.org right here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/songs-for-care-comfort-hope-and-healing/!

Thank you for taking the time to share our appreciation for this extraordinary special educator.

With gratitude for your compassion and support of our work,

Jess

Homeward Bound
Homeward Bound
Val's New Music Wall
Val's New Music Wall
Val at Symphony Hall
Val at Symphony Hall

Links:

Apr 25, 2018

GITC Spring 2018 Celebrations

Teachers in Oakland, CA Bring Music to Learning!
Teachers in Oakland, CA Bring Music to Learning!

Dear Supporter,

It's only April and thanks to you, Guitars in the Classroom already has so much to celebrate in 2018! Your generosity and enthusiasm for our musical mission has made it possible for GITC to fund brand new programs in California and Kansas, as well as direct more resources toward our students with special needs and the educators who serve them.

California

GITC Trainer, Quinn Fitzpatrick completed a 6 week training for teachers in Oakland Unified School District in March, and also coached our newer programs in Elk Grove, CA (near Sacramento) and traveled way up to Weed, CA, a small town located near Mt. Shasta. Elk Grove is an economically struggling district with no formal music education programs. Our work there is getting things rolling right away for teachers and students while aiming to cultivate a ground swell of support within their district for more music education. The program in Weed is very special with 100% of the faculty members- and the principal- participating in class every week! Quinn was able to visit indivudual classrooms to coach the teachers in implementing hands-on ukulele, singing and songwriting with confidence. Thank you for your support of these northerly efforts.

Down south, Dan Decker, just concluded a beginning class for teachers brand new to GITC at Green Elementary in San Diego Unified School District. They were incredibly enthusiastic and wanted to transition from ukes to guitars right away! Thanks to a generous donation from the Godin Guitar Company, we were able to put beautiful guitars in all of these teachers' hands (see the photo). We know that these self-motivated educators will continue to infuse music into their classrooms for years to come and hope many will join us at camp this summer for three days of intensive instruction.

Kansas

Kanas is brand new territory for GITC. We have long hoped to grow our midwestern programs! When Amanda Johnson who originally taught with GITC in Los Angeles, moved to Kansas recently, she asked to take GITC along. Thanks to her strong, focused and steady efforts, she has now successfully acquainted 2 communities unfamiliar with music integration with our charity and launched new programs in both Kansas City and Olathe, KS. Amanda has done a phenomenal job of making connections in her new neighbohood and getting the word out about our free programs. Teachers are thrilled to be attending her after school and Saturday trainings. They are already using music to helps students with academic skills and concepts like phonics and patterns.

Amanda's first workshop in Olathe, Missouri last weekend was a huge success. Another workshop is scheduled for this weekend, and so many teachers have signed up that there is a waiting list! We'll be opening up a new date to make sure everyone who wants to has a chance to learn and get a free ukulele to take back to the classroom with them. A fun surprise in Olathe has been having a large number of public school librarians attend the training. Librarians at the high school level plan to use ukuleles to help their students meet a graduation requirement where they work with younger students.

Special Education

Many of you have contributed to one or more of our campaigns to create musical access for students with special needs. Thank you so much. It is soley because of your donations on GlobalGiving.org that we have been able to make wonderful headway for special learners! You can contribute to that cause right here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/special-learners-deserve-music-too/

Guitars in the Classroom is excited to announce that we will be hosting our first conference this summer in Carlsbad, CA, hosted by the NAMM Foundation. The Special Ed Adaptive Music Conference is a free 2-day opportunity for teachers working with students with special needs. Classes in adaptive drumming, strumming and singing, and using music technology will address methods and tools that make music accessible for ALL students. We are thrilled to be able to bring in presenters with expertise in BEAMZ interactive technology and REMO comfort sound technology, as well as teachers from our Sped Learning Lab together to share best practices for bringing music in to special education classrooms. If you know a special educator who might want to attend, they can learn more at our website!

Guitars in the Classroom wouldn't be celebrating any of these accomplishments without your generous donations. Thank you for investing in us and in the teachers and students we champion! Together we are making the world and our schools better places for our youngest and future generations.

With immense gratitude for your loyal support,

Jess Baron

Students, Teachers and Aides in our Sped Lab!
Students, Teachers and Aides in our Sped Lab!
GITC Adaptive Music Conference Flyer
GITC Adaptive Music Conference Flyer

Links:

 
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