This fall, ETM goes back to school serving 13,000 students at 25 partner schools across New York City. For the 2011-12 school year, ETM continues to develop its presence in the Bronx by adding three schools to our partnership roster. In addition, ETM is strengthening and building its programs in several ongoing partnerships by layering band and string orchestra programs onto the established foundation of general music.
ETM’s three new Bronx partner schools, P.S. 25, M.S. 529, and P.S. 531, represent our continued commitment to offering programs in inner-city elementary and middle schools.
P.S. 25 is located in the south Bronx. Serving 360 students in grades K-5, P.S. 25 is the first bilingual partner school for ETM. P.S. 531 and M.S. 529 are both new schools that have opened their doors to students for the first time this fall. M.S. 529, located in the Eastchester section of the Bronx, currently enrolls 150 students in the 6th grade and, over the next few years, will expand to become a full middle school serving grades 6-8.
Likewise, P.S. 531 is opening as a K-2 school that plans to grow into a K-5 elementary school. P.S. 531 is located in the Parkchester area of the Bronx and serves 280 students this year. ETM is honored to bring its programs to every student at these new schools and help build school communities that support arts education from the very first days of classes.
Principal Patricia Wynne of M.S. 529 recalled how the school came to partner with ETM: “When I began recruiting students last April, parents expressed an interest in music within the school.” At first, music was not part of the planned curriculum, but after learning more about ETM, Principal Wynne realized the value of a music program in creating a supportive learning environment for students. “On the first day of music, the students loved it,” she reported, “They would not stop talking about music. Parents were excited that we incorporated music into our program.” ETM believes that such widespread support, enthusiasm, and advocacy for music education from members of the entire school community is essential for creating sustainable programs.
As another indication of this school-wide interest in music education, Principal Wynne was thrilled to report that ETM Music Teacher Natalie Perkins would be leading a student performance at an upcoming parent evening. Already, Ms. Perkins has seen progress by her students in music class. She notes, “The students at M.S. 529 are working so hard! They are so excited about music this year, even though for quite a few of them, this is all new territory.”
ETM thanks The New York Community Trust for its support of our first- and second-year partnerships in the Bronx.
In addition to entering new partnerships, ETM continues to develop and strengthen programs at returning partner schools. P.S. 48 and P.S. 72, both in the Bronx, will inaugurate 5th-grade band programs this year. These two schools have each partnered with ETM since last year. These new ensembles join the ranks of existing band programs at P.S. 43, P.S. 76, P.S. 121, and M.S. 180 in the Bronx, and P.S. 38 in East Harlem.
P.S. 182 in the Bronx, a partner school since 2009, is beginning a string orchestra program for 4th and 5th grade students. Over 100 students have already signed up for the new orchestra, proving just how exciting and accessible ETM’s elective instrumental programs can be for interested students. ETM continues to offer string orchestra ensembles to students at P.S. 68, M.S. 180, and St. Clare School in the Bronx and at St. Ann’s School in East Harlem.
ETM Music Teacher Chelsea Stern took an incredibly active and creative approach to recruiting students for the P.S. 182 orchestra. “In addition to having a string quartet play in all the classrooms, I played for students in the hallway, cafeteria, and general music classes,” says Ms. Stern. Students also proudly donned stickers that announced “Hello, My Name Is: Future Orchestra Member.”
This year’s band and orchestra programs are supported in part by grants from the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation and the D’Addario Foundation, respectively. The band and string orchestra programs supplement ETM’s core program of general music for every child.
ETM’s middle school music programs are also evolving. In addition to ETM’s new partnership with a third middle school this year, music technology classes have taken off as a way to enhance instruction and keep students engaged in learning. The Music Technology Lab at M.S. 180 has recently launched (see pages 6 and 8), and a second lab is set to open at M.S. 424 in the Bronx later this school year.
As ETM develops and strengthens its programs, we thank all of our supporters who help us impact individual students and entire school communities throughout New York City.
Photography courtesy of Claire Stefani.