Pathway to a Partnership
By ETM Director of Partnership Programs Nick LaFleur
Ever wonder how a school becomes an ETM partner?
Establishing a partnership with ETM sometimes takes more twists and turns than you may think, and no two partnerships look the same: different schools have different needs, so school principals and ETM have to work together to fulfill our mission to provide access to quality music education to all children, one school at a time.
Partnering with P.S. 46
P.S. 46 in the Bronx, led by Principal Alexander-Ade, had never had a successful music education program, in part because of space issues at her school, as well as serious financial challenges. But Principal Ade was determined to provide a great music program for her students, so she reached out to ETM in 2018 to find out what was possible. As Director of Partnership Programs, I worked with her to identify needs and make a plan.
She explained to me that the school was undergoing a major construction project to increase the school’s capacity, leaving parts of the building closed with the kindergarten and fifth grade students housed in totally different buildings. Another challenge: the school’s large student population.
The team at ETM and I, inspired by Principal Alexander-Ade’s passion, started working on a solution that would suit P.S. 46’s specific needs.
After consideration of these particular circumstances, I proposed a progressive three-year plan for growth, and chose a teacher we were confident would be a great match for their school community. In year one, we placed music teacher Paievi Antturi, whose easy-going temperament complemented Principal Ade’s, at the school to serve students in grades kindergarten through third with music class.
With year one under our belts, this school year we implemented year two: adding a second music teacher to provide music education to 4th grade students. We also added a choir ensemble.
ETM’s partnership with P.S. 46 is inspiring because both the principal and music teacher demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment, and they both understand that temporary challenges or setbacks do not have to get in the way of achieving long-term goals. Strong relationships like the ones ETM has with this principal and teacher are always the key to a successful partnership. Next year, following our shared plan, every student at P.S. 46 will have access to music education and the school will launch an instrumental program.
ETM is constantly learning as it grows and evolves. Working with schools like P.S. 46 helps reminds me that there’s always room for creativity and flexibility in partnerships, and shows how challenges can be overcome to bring music education to all students.
A special thanks to Principal Alexander-Ade and everyone at PS 46!
Interested in partnering with ETM? Click here.