Apr 22, 2019

A Time of Hope and Renewal!

The Hope Symbol
The Hope Symbol

Dear Supporter,

Thank you for standing by us while we bring this special project together. At this special time of hope and renewal, we are receiving more song suggestions, ideas and new songs written by teachers for inclusion in this important songbook. 

Here on the anniversary of the Columbine shootings, and in the wake of school shootings around the country over the past 20 years, the need for songs that can help and heal is particularly poignant. Equipping all the teachers participating in our work- and beyond- with these songs and a handy song resource to be kept at the ready for when something upsetting happens could not be more important.

We now have songs for the book that are ready to share which specifically promote kindness and friendship, reduce students' anxiety over a test, help them settle a fight with a friend, express love, and songs that provide comfort and empower children to comfort others, and songs that express love for someone who has passed. We also have songs to calm students after a fire drill or lockdown drill.

We are still seaching for specifica songs to make it easier for teachers to sensitively and effectively address difficult experiences including changes in family structure (divorce or tragedy), housing insecurity, a parent's military deployment, severe illness and injury, and trauma including trauma resulting from violence. Some of these songs do not exist yet and will need to be written in order to complete the project. To that end, we recently have reached out to 500 teachers in our programs to ask their participation in achieving this goal. We promise to keep you informed about the progress!

In the meantime, we wish to share a very heartfelt historical performance by the Coen Brothers, students at Columbine High School who performed their original composition, "Columbine Friend of Mine" at the L.A. Music Awards many years ago. Please click the attached link to see them and hear their song.

May music be a timeless resource in the lives of all our children as they learn to navigate in a complex world without sacrificing their faith in themselves, in others, or their hopes for humanity. I

Wishing you a beautiful celebration during this Passover and Easter weekend!

Jess

Links:

Mar 28, 2019

Bursting into Spring with Songs!

GITC Ohio County, WV
GITC Ohio County, WV

Happy Spring, Music Loving Friend!

Thank you so much for your ongoing support of this work. We are really happy to share how well things are going in the schools this spring. Classes from Brunswick and New Hanover counties in North Carolina to Los Angeles and San Diego counties, from Washington to Alabama are placing instruments, understanding and musical teaching into classrooms with your phenomenal help. We've started new programs in Raleigh and Ohio counties in West Virginia and in Aurora, Colorado with help from the Country Music Association Foundation and all of you. Our photos today are giving a shout out to new Faculty Trainers Andrea Sullivan, Julie Schultz and Terrie Catlow in each of these places!

Friends, enrollment is bursting at the seams in our programs. We have had to double up on supplies from our sponsors in order to get instruments, gig bags and musical tools like tuners and capos to everyone. Without TKL, Dunlop, Kala, Korg, Martin, Godin, David Broza and 1MG, G7 Capos Rock Tips and Kyser, this fall and spring would have been impossible. If you play music, you know these names- we want you to know these are some great folks making the music possible from the products side. The office has truly been a supply freeway. Gotta shout out to our programs coordinator, Sam Cadwell for her tireless work getting everything sorted out and shipped out! She could show Santa's elves a thing or two. There is a photo of Sam in this report, too.

We have even started an online class this winter for teachers who can't get to program for one reason or another and this is being taught by our amazing faculty trainer in Kansas, Amanda Johnson. Now no teacher has to miss out on this work if they can take the time to learn. 

Your charity is making a phenomenal difference in terms of providing teachers who are craving this training the opportunity to learn, grow and transmit everything they're doing in our free classes to their students. Please keep it up. Our work is boosting language proficiency in the early grades which is essential to helping students continue to succeed as they mature. A recent review of the data showed us that students who experience integrated music with GITC for 2 years have up to a 24% lead in achieving English Language Proficiency (ELP) over students who are not receiving this approach. You can learn more about the importance of attaining grade-level ELP by the end of third grade by following the link to the Annie E Casey study below.

I also want to give you a quick heads-up about our work in Special Ed.

GITC has now expanded our trainings to include more 2-day Adaptive Music conferences and teaching artist residencies for special educators, specialists and paraprofessionals. We are determined to get music to students in special day classes who have been left out of music. Our teaching artists in Los Angeles who have been working primarily in transitional kindergarten,  extended transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms are now also serving in higher grades AND in the Carlson Home Hospital schools with teachers of children who are isolated in home and hospital settings by extreme medical conditions. Through these 10-week residencies, the home hospital teachers are now learning to give students what they need to thrive through the power of making music and singing songs. Music is relieving children's pain, is giving them a sense of vitality and joy! Your gifts for special education can go through our campaign for that initiative if you are interested in helping in this way.

Is there a community you want to support where you think music is needed? Please let us know. Are you living somewhere where a GITC program is taking place and you might like to visit? We'd be happy to make introductions for you. We hope for you that this year you can have a direct experience of the magic and the real musical, academic and  life skills and abilities you are cultivating through our work!

Thank you for being here, let's keep this music alive!

With love and gratitude for you,

Jess

Raleigh County, WV
Raleigh County, WV
Sam Cadwell, GITC Programs Coordinator
Sam Cadwell, GITC Programs Coordinator
Terrie Catlow in Aurora, CO with a student
Terrie Catlow in Aurora, CO with a student

Links:

Feb 1, 2019

Taking it From the Top!

Russ Sperling, SDUSD & Lauren Shelton, CVESD 2019
Russ Sperling, SDUSD & Lauren Shelton, CVESD 2019

Hello, Friends of Special Learners,

I am writing you this month to share some amazing news. Thanks to your generosity and encouragement, our special education team has grown and we are on the move! Since the last time you got a report on this initiative some fantastic education leaders have taken up the effort to get music to kids in special day classes with GITC.

Longtime GITC Classroom Teacher at Kearney HS in San Diego, Meghann Hughes has become the chair of the Special Education Caucus for the California Teacher's Union. She invited GITC to share her table at the recent New Teachers Conference for the Southern California Region. We put ukuleles and a guitar out and were approached by 65 different special ed teachers who are interested in training to bring music into their classrooms. Now Meghann wants GITC at each state level conference and is hoping to help us offer a workshop in 2019-2020. Thank you, Meghann!

And in January, Director of Visual and Performing Arts in San Diego Unified, Russ Sperling put together a meeting with the leadership in SDUSD's Special Education Services Department. Russ and I met with the new director of Curriculum & Instruction for Special Education, Ms. Andrea Vinson and she is onboard to help any special ed teacher in San Diego access GITC training through a carefully structured implementation plan for this- our home district. We are in the planning process now and welcome district Home Office teacher Stefanie Torres to the team. Stefanie has been assigned to help implement GITC for the district. This is a great bit of progress. Andrea Vinson and Russ Sperling ROCK!

Next Month (February) we begin planning to make great progress in our neighboring district, Chula Vista Elementary School District with the great Lauren Shelton. Lauren directs VAPA in Chula (on the border with Mexico) and she has grown that music program into a formidable one in which every sing student gets music education. Three cheers for her and Chula Vista. We are so excited to serve there!

I realize that this report is all about grown-ups. But these grown-ups are special. They are all heroes for the kids and because they care so deeply, hundreds of thousands of children are going to benefit from their desire to champion this cause and to take action. Please stay tuned because good times and important lessons await just up ahead.

We are here because you care to be a part of the solution. Thank you for your amazing participation and encouragement!

For the children,

Jess

Meghann Hughes (right) at CTA Conference
Meghann Hughes (right) at CTA Conference

Links:

 
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