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Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!

by Guitars in the Classroom
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Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
GITC Teaching Artist Residency Mr. G and Ms. Shiri
GITC Teaching Artist Residency Mr. G and Ms. Shiri

Dear Friends,

We received a wonderful note in December from Mr. B., the enthusiastic principal of Morningside Elementary School in San Fernando, CA. We will share that note below, but first a little background. This Los Angeles Unified School is one of the oldest in the district. It has 620 students in grades K-5 with a student-teacher ratio of 24 to 1. According to state test scores, 31% of students are at least proficient in math and 32% in reading. 96% of the students are Hispanic and just one in six are classified as an English Learners. The school has a high percentage of students living at or below the poverty line. The academic success of this school speaks well of the students, their families and the teachers. 

I met Mr. B this fall when he stepped in to lead the school. He has an optimistic spirit, loves music, and is all about bringing creativity to his students and faculty. Despite the challenges that people experience each day in low income schools, everyone I met was smiling and generating hope and love in their work. The spirit of grit, optimism and dedication is alive and well there and they have the right guy in charge!

Mr. B jumped into GITC with both feet! The day I turned up with ukuleles, he was opening the garage and personally lugging the boxes up to the office. When teachers gathered for a faculty meeting the next week, he asked who wanted to learn to play, sing, compose lyrics for learning and teach through the power of song and 20 hands went up!

Thanks to his advocacy, we launched the after school training class with our faculty trainer, Miss Kristen and this led to our being able to designate funding for teaching artist residencies paid for by the California Arts Council this year. For 10 weeks, Ms. Shiri was able to work one on one with highly engaged classroom teachers to impart the GITC approach and music education activities so they can carry on independently this year. All of this happened between October and today! Now in February, we will be offering a new level of training and Morningside Elementary has become a GITC Flagship school- one that sets an example for possibilities and success. We are so grateful to everyone there who is participating, especially Ms. Maria.

Ms. Maria teaches transitional kindergarten and kindergarten, and she had voluntarily been attending GITC PDs and our Teacher Retreat for 3 years on her own! In our book she is an unsung hero and deserves a great song. Her actions speak to the power of one individual to change the world. Her passion led to all of her colleagues and students in the region having a chance to bring music to learning every day.

This is the note I received from Mr. B. sharing about his visit to a GITC residency classroom recently.

“I went to Mr. G.’s class today because it was the last day with Ms. Shiri for GITC. They invited parents to come in at 10:40 AM. The room was filled with parents, smiles, and engaged students. All of it was happening in the name of developing, honoring, and respecting a love for music and music education.

Goosebumps, clarity, and a renewed sense of purpose. I was floored. Just beautiful. 

Thank you for creating what you have created and giving us the opportunity to benefit and share in your creation.

We are fortunate indeed.

He also shared these photos with permission from everyone in them.

This is the magic your charity is unfolding around the country. Where there is a school in need, a supportive leader and enthusiastic teachers ready to embrace music as a teaching approach and learning modality, we want to serve. Because of YOU, we can.

Thank you for your gifts, your care and the value you place on the Arts as a vital part of every student’s education. We applaud and celebrate you!

With gratitude,

Jess

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Felicia Fis Sharing Music with GITC Teachers
Felicia Fis Sharing Music with GITC Teachers

Dear Supporter,

Sometimes we send you an overall progress report, but today we want to introduce you to someone who is making a difference through GITC, Felicia Fis. Not only is Felicia supporting her students to grow and achieve personal insight and success everyday, but she is joining us to train her fellow educators. What we are learning from Felicia will be traveling through all the GITC programs this year. What is called Social Emotional Learning or SEL for short has become more and more important in all classrooms in the past year. As always, GITC is responding to the request from educators to give them training in this area so they can be as helpful and effective as possible teaching all kinds of learners.

Felicia Fis is a beacon of kindness, compassion and creativity in her work with Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom and as a school psychologist in San Diego Unified. This summer, Felicia presented a deeply moving and effective workshop to participants in our teacher retreat in Julian, called "Taking in the Good." Wherever she is-  with children, colleagues or GITC community members- her knowledge, her beautiful spirit, her voice and her comfort on guitar are pure inspiration!"

Felicia is now helping other GITC teachers and specialists understand how music can become a force for teaching calm and self-regulation in all classrooms. Specific behavioral strategies were once primarily in the domain of special education, but now all classrooms are embracing students with a variety of educational and social emotional challenges as part of a more inclusive approach. That means general classroom teachers want to learn exactly what Felicia teaches. 

“There are so many opportunities for students to feel overwhelmed in an inclusive classroom,” remarks Jess Baron, GITC Executive Director. “Waiting, going through transitions between activities, coping with overwhelming sound and visual stimuli, mediating conflicts with peers- any of these experiences can trigger students to become overwhelmed, frustrated, or even angry. Learning to work through those feelings in a classroom setting is a big job. And making music with students provides a very positive, natural medium for developing a wide range of self-regulation self-soothing strategies.“

Felicia agrees. She believes that every student has the potential to participate successfully in music. “One misconception about children with disabilities and social-emotional issues is that they don’t like sensory experiences -- when the truth is, they seek them out,” she explains. “If they are playing instruments and making the sounds, it is not dis-regulating. Instead, it regulates them because it’s tactile, visual, and auditory all at the same time.” 

As a school psychologist at Valencia Park and Paradise Hills elementary schools, Felicia works with many kids with physical challenges, social-emotional issues, and behavioral issues. Her room is full of instruments, and she has seen first-hand the incredible impact that playing them has on her students. 

“One student had significant behavioral challenges but he wanted to play guitar. Being able to come to my room and play guitar became a huge incentive for good behavior, and it had a ripple effect. Other kids started asking to play,” explains Felicia. 

In June, she attended GITC’s 2-day conference in AMAISE (Adapted Music for Achievement in Inclusion and Special Education), an experience she found to be both empowering and inspiring. The conference included hands-on adapted instrument training on drums, ukulele, guitar, and Beamz interactive music system, as well as instruction on how to write lyrics for learning and social-emotional development. “The songwriting piece is amazing,” Felicia explains. “Students with special needs feel SO proud when they write a song. They have utilized their strengths, their creativity and their expressive language to create something valuable. You can see immediately that their confidence has been boosted.” 

Felicia describes her work with GITC as “satisfying and fulfilling.” She hopes that more teachers will join the movement and they are -- because she’s recruiting them in droves! She is also witnessing students who didn’t want to go to school now feeling excited to attend because music is a part of their day. 

“Music and art are important. They open parts of people’s brains that other things don’t,” she says. “I’m always trying to figure out new ways to bridge music and learning.”

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Judy Ann Johnson
Judy Ann Johnson
Dear Friend of GITC,
I hope this report finds you enjoying the first days of summer. Usually we send you a broad look at what has been happening with programs. But today, I want to share about something special that your gifts made possible, something that helped a veteran teacher make one of her final wishes in the world into a reality.
Judy Ann Johnson was a light in the lives of her famly, friends and her students. She taught in our home district, San Diego Unified, for 20 years. She was a dedicated first grade teacher at a school with her last name, Johnson Elementary. Johnson is one of those special small campuses that feels like home. The office staff is friendly, there is almost no place to turn around, and the walls are covered with murals. It was a perfect place for Judy who adored the arts. She was a skillful painter, singer and she played the guitar!

Judy joined GITC in the summer of 2018 and through her short time with us, she brought our work to her school. She applied to SD Unified's fledgling VAPA Foundation for a classroom grant to purchase ukuleles for the students to play and was awarded that grant for $500 at the beginning of 2018-2019.

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Through one of our wonderful sponsor partnering companies, Saga Musical Instruments, Judy ordered 24 soprano ukuleles for her classroom. Our Tuning Archangel, Rodney Howard got them ready and we personally delivered them to the school to make sure everything arrived timely. But Judy was not there. No one seemed to know what was going on. She had been out sick for several days.
Judy wrote to me from her hospital bed, explaining what was going on. She had received a very vexing diagnosis - Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and large pulmonary embolisms in her lungs. Most people would not be thinking about work when they get this kind of bad news. But Judy was worried that, because of her health crisis, her kiddos would not learn to play, despite being ready to strum, sitting in a big box in their classroom.
"I'm not sure who will be taking over my room, but I made a promise to those kids to learn the ukulele and if you can help me out, well wonderful," she explained. "Marissa Ramirez is the other first grade teacher who is my partner in crime.   I have my own little uke and guitar here that cheer me up. I am so grateful for everyone's kindness." 

We promised Judy that we would find a way to fund two weekly first grade teaching artist residencies in order that her promise to the children be fulfilled and her dream realized.
Thankfully, this came to pass because of you and helped us raise just enough funding to send GITC Teaching Artist. Jefferson Jay to bring joy and learning to Judy's and Melissa's kids. Jefferson is one of the most convivial people you'd ever want to meet and he was up for the assignment. 

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GITC is grateful to you! From January through April, teachers and students in both first grades learned how to strum, sing, and write their own songs for learning. Each child has music to help them tackle the tough moments in life, to bring them closer to each other, and to express how they feel.

Very sadly, we lost Judy this spring. She in the angel band now. But her love will live on in every student who learned to play because she made up her mind to give music to them- no matter what...and because you cared.
Those ukes will keep on being played at Johnson Elementary and we hope to do more next fall in both first AND second grades! The program will carry Judy's name.  And each time a new first grader or second grader comes into their classroom at the beginning of the year and sees those ukuleles on the wall next to Judy's picture, they will know that someone very kind had them in mind.
Thank you for bringing the magic. We hope you will stay with us and keep the goodness going.
With gratitude,
Jess

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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

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Laurence Juber Makes a Difference
Laurence Juber Makes a Difference

Dear Supporter,

All of us at GITC are so grateful for your support throughout the school year. Thanks to each of you for giving to this important cause. Because of you we are bringing music to kids who would otherwise not have the chance to become musical. With your help, they are learning play a real instrument, sing songs that uphold musical traditions,  sing together as part of something larger than any one person, and build what they are learning into songs they remember. This is the stuff that makes learning inspiring and fun...and long lasting.

Because you care, we were able to train 450 teachers this fall, place instruments into classrooms in 10 states, send teaching artists to make a difference in 24 high poverty primary classrooms, share adaptive music strategies with special educators and leaders from Special Olympics, improve our instructional materials, make our websites friendlier for visitors and educators, and so much more.

Today we want to share one cool thing that happened recently. We were able to bring Grammy award winning composer, arranger, recording artist and super fingerstyle guitarist, Laurence Juber to give a master class to 110 young guitar students at Correia MS and Point Loma High School in San Diego. Experiencing artistic mastery and being able to ask questions of the artist is enough to inspire students to aim higher, practice longer, and achieve more.

These guitar students listened with great enthusiasm to this former member of Paul MacCartney's band Wings. They gave their rapt attention as Laurence blew them away with his stylings and helped them draw direct connections between medieval and classical compositions and popular music over the past 40 years. He taught them about the evolution of the guitar beginning in ancient times with the oud and medieval times with psaltery, lute and cittern. He brought students forward through time and across continents, performing excerpts from his latest recording, Touchstones. You can read an interview with him about this historical musical journey here: https://www.laurencejuber.com/touchstones/ 

When GITC is able to bring a renowned artist to a school to work directly with students, we are able to nurture young people from their first experience with making music, into more advanced pursuits. LJ was there with us in the beginning and now, 18 years later, he is still raising the barre for bringing acoustic guitar into the realm of excellence in music education. We are immensely grateful for his heartfelt appreciation!  You can learn more about his music and life at http://www.laurencejuber.com/.

Overall, we are writing with great news. Winter classes will be launching in 12 states in early 2019. 300 guitars are being donated to GITC by Israeli superstar, David Broza, and we just got an amazing donation of guitar and ukulele strings from Kala Brand Music so every classroom can have instruments with fresh strings. Human kindness like yours is going to give more kids than ever the chance to discover the power of music to improve life, boost creativity and health, and impart learning in 2019. Please stay with us. Your charity is working!

On behalf of our board, faculty, staff, volunteers, teachers and most of all, the children, we wish you a truly blessed year ahead!

Let there be peace on Earth,

Jess

Mary Jennings-Mull's students' first concert!
Mary Jennings-Mull's students' first concert!

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Organization Information

Guitars in the Classroom

Location: San Diego, CA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @GITCmusic
Project Leader:
Jessica Baron
San Diego, CA United States
$35,195 raised of $42,000 goal
 
532 donations
$6,805 to go
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