| Dec 26, 2023
How Your Gift Made a Difference in 2023!
Finney Third Grades Share Their Music!
Dear Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom Supporter,
Thank you so much for supporting our training programs and classroom residencies in high poverty classrooms in 2023! We just cannot thank you enough for your generous support that brought music to hundreds of very deserving students in the past year. One beautiful example of how your donation contributed to a low-income school's transformation comes from Finney Elementary in Chula Vista, California.
Finney Elementary is located just 14 minutes from a border crossing between California to Mexico. The school's minority population is 97%, and the teachers are working very hard to improve student literacy. At this time, 58% of the children are reading at or above state goals for English Language Proficiency, a great accomplishment. But in math, 64% of the students were not yet achieving basic proficiency in 2023. So your gift helped us fund 3 third grade teaching artist residencies at Finney in 2023. This is a crucial year for math improvement as the operations taught in fourth grade and above depend on the multiplication skills learned in grade 3. But students at Finney were in need of help.
Third grade teacher Melissa S.had voluntarily been training for three years with our organization in our free professional development classes after school. She had requested that GITC provide a teaching artist to come to model and coach music leadership in her classroom in the 2021-2022 school year. But we didn't have the funds. We needed your support! Thankfully, you answered the call.
Capacity building residencies take preparation on the part of the teacher recipients. That is one reason they are effective.
GITC asks that at least two teachers in a school complete our beginning training before we send a teaching artist to mentor them toward musical independence over 10 weeks. Melissa got busy. When the 2022-23 came around, her whole grade level had taken our classes, and your gifts made the desired residencies possible!
Because you contributed, we were able to send the three 3rd grade classrooms a highly experienced teaching artist, Ms. Gingerlily Lowe (center left in the attached photo, next to Ms. S.). This incredible teaching artist is herself a retired classroom teacher and successful music leader turned mentor. The residencies she led focused in part of teaching math through music with activities, songs, and songwriting. Students' enthusiasm for learning through music overcame confusion and calmed math anxieties, boosting participation through the roof. The third grade became a cohesive musical community, led by their teachers, and school attendance improved, learning accelerated, and the palpable engagement and joy in Melissa's classroom caught the attention of the district superintendent.
It may come as no surprise to you that Melissa S. was named a Chula Vista Teacher of the Year last school year. We are so proud that together with you, our faithful donors, we could fulfill Melissa's wish. She pours every ounce of her creativity, intelligence, compassion, and skill into teaching students each day, and her inclusion of ukulele instruction was as rewarding for her as it was for her students. This year, Melissa has started her own after school ukulele club so her students from last year can keep the music going! We're hoping to build the music into new grade levels at Finney in the new year and beyond with donor support.
This is what the power of giving can do through our grassroots organization. Thank you for being a committed member of GITC's "village" so music can become a tool for learning, aspiring to one's potential, and participating in creating a harmonious school community. We want to spread this work far and wide.I hope you can help us again this week. The good news is that any gift you choose give here through GlobalGiving.org between now and January 1st is guaranteed to be matched 100%, dollar for dollar, by the vice president of GITC's board of directors, Ruth Haller! Please doante now to make double the impact.
May you enjoy a beautiful rest of this holiday month. Know that your caring has changed lives, and I appreciate what you have made possible.
With immeasurable thanks,
Melissa S. Shines as She Wins Her Award