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Education Through Music Announces Innovative Technology Initiative



ETM is currently implementing a new initiative for the 2009-2010 school year, serving its first-ever partner middle school, M.S. 180, located in Co-op City in the Bronx.  M.S. 180 serves 700 students, many who previously attended one of ETM’s elementary partner schools, P.S. 76, P.S. 121 and P.S. 68, in the Bronx.  By initiating the ETM program at M.S. 180, students will benefit from a continuum of music instruction and education success as they transition into this middle school.

Recognizing the critical role technology plays in the music classroom, ETM’s innovative approach to technology through the use of SMART Boards (interactive white boards) enhances the learning experience and effectiveness of its program at M.S. 180 and other partner schools.  ETM’s commitment to incorporating SMART Boards into the teaching curriculum is supported by a 2009 study reported by Educational Leadership that found that using interactive white boards was associated with a 16 percentile point gain in student achievement.  All ETM program staff is certified in SMART Board teacher training and workshops are held at schools to share this technology.   

Education Through Music now provides weekly, in-school general music instruction to every student at M.S. 180.  In addition, ETM launched an elective orchestra program at the school, giving students from P.S. 68's strings program the opportunity to continue instruction at the middle school level.  Plans are also underway to introduce a band program at M.S. 180 so that students can further develop the skills they are currently learning in band at P.S. 76 and P.S. 121.

 “At Education Through Music, we have identified the need to bring our successful education program to middle schools throughout New York City, specifically targeting schools based on our partnerships with existing elementary schools in key communities,” says  Katherine Damkohler, Executive Director of Education Through Music.  “Our goal is for elementary school students who participate in our programs to have the opportunity to attend a middle school that partners with ETM, so they can build on their solid foundation in music instruction.” 

“ETM continues to prove itself as an education solution, by combining the emotional and creative outlet that music provides for children growing up in the city’s poorest communities with the fact that our organization is helping children achieve in school,” Damkohler continues. “Using the three Bronx elementary schools and ETM’s first middle school partner as a model, we look forward to replicating the program across the city.”           

This September, ETM created its first band programs for 5th graders at P.S. 76 and P.S. 121.  Band takes place in addition to weekly, in-school general music instruction, and includes two to three rehearsals per week before and after school, and weekly group lessons during the school day.  Eighty 5th graders participate in the band at P.S. 76 with over 40 students in the band at P.S. 121.  VH1 Save the Music Foundation provided instruments for the band at P.S. 121 and the P.S. 76 band is supported in part by the Dr. Robert C. And Tina Sohn Foundation.

During the 2009-2010 school year, ETM expanded its overall program, adding five new schools and bringing its total to 23 partner schools serving a record 11,000 students in New York City.  ETM’s newest partner schools embody the organization’s mission to provide a standards-based, sequential music education that reinforces essential cognitive skills.  By supporting students’ learning in music, ETM strengthens their ability to learn in all areas.

ETM has achieved major improvements in many areas including: student attitudes towards the arts and school, student acquisition of music skills, teaching artists’ effectiveness as educators, teachers’ abilities to integrate using cognitive thinking skills, school and community support for the arts.  This success is evidenced by an 82% increase in the percentage of students who met Math learning standards and a 54% increase in the percentage of students who met English Language Arts learning standards at schools that implemented ETM’s program between 1999 and 2007.