Update 9: September 2011
Back on track and rolling!
We are finally back to school and already full into the renewed and improved AACT project. After a short summer vacation we started full speed with the preparation work for the project. We have now chosen the final four schools to participate in the project according to previously established criteria of the social economic situation of the student population and the commitment of school principals. Two local schools in Shefa-Amr – the Jabour Jabour and “C” elementary schools, in Ibillin the “E” elementary school, and in Tamra the “Albironi” elementary school are now part of the project.
The initial meetings with the principals were highly promising. They all talked about the immense importance of such project for their school and the kind of impact they imagine this can have on students beyond the project scope. The principal in Ibillin, Ms. Taghreed Sheikh Ahmad, spoke about one of her students who had been part of the first AACT pilot and continued to study on a scholarship provided by Beit Almusica. He used to be a shy and introverted kid facing hard times being accepted by peers. At the end of the academic year 2010/2011 he stood up in front of over 500 students and teachers in the school yard and played the clarinet, receiving great applause. As she said, this was one of the most moving moments in her career as educator.
All agreed that music as an art was still widely underestimated in the Palestinian community in Israel. We were actually positively surprised by the welcoming and enthusiastic reaction of the school management stating just how much they were missing this kind of activity. All four schools are state run schools situated on the lowest three clusters of socio economic evaluation in Israel with mixed populations of Muslim, Christian and Druze.
There are several improvements to the first pilot; the first and most important is that the project is now running in two complimentary tracks – music and social development. Beit Almusica is running project management and the musical side including music classes, special workshops and concerts. Our newly found professional partner for the social side is the Duroob Institute for leadership development and social growth. Duroob has extensive experience in working with schools – both with teachers and students – and with populations at risk. In the AACT project, Duroob will work on social evaluations and empowerment, ensuring professional monitoring of the social changes we hope to achieve in children.
Also new and improved in the project is the integration of the different social circles surrounding the children in the project, starting from their families, their teachers to their peers and the music teachers at Beit Almusica. The ultimate aim is to bring about the maximum positive change with the children that will be sustainable with the support of the different environments. The musical focus is on Arabic music and instruments like Qanoon, Oud, Durbaka (percussion) as well as cello, violin and wind instruments.
Over the next two months we will choose the project participants according to both social and musical criteria; get the support of the municipalities and educational authorities and start teaching in November.
Regardless of whether you choose to continue supporting the AACT project with time, money, or good will, we are determined to continue this important work in 2011/2012 and to be great partners with you and responsible and effective stewards of your hope, time and resources.