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ETM eCademy and the Search for the Stones of Knowledge

By ETM Creative Marketing Associate Daniel Rader

ETM music teachers from across the five boroughs came together in late August for five days to participate in ETM’s very own professional development bootcamp, known as ETM Academy.

Every summer, ETM Academy prepares teachers to be inspired and effective music teachers by offering practical strategies and teaching resources. This year was no exception, but for the first time, ETM Academy was entirely virtual due to COVID-19 — creating a bunch of unique challenges and opportunities for learning.

Academy becomes eCademy

Our eCademy, as we called the 2020 program, condensed a typical two-week course into five days of comprehensive professional development, providing a one-of-a-kind opportunity for teachers to connect with their peers, build their professional network, and prepare for the start of a school year like no other.

New sessions were created to respond to the needs of our teachers. Tackling topics such as digital citizenship, trauma-informed teaching, editing tools, and virtual ensembles, helping our educators and students adapt to the new normal.

Additionally, eCademy included important workshops that addressed diversity, equity, and inclusion in teaching; social justice through music education, and a special session taught by guest presenter Brandi Waller-Pace of “Decolonizing the Music Room,” an education and social justice nonprofit.

With all of this critical information to impart, our Programs team stepped up in all aspects of training, not only creating sessions from scratch but also leading the course themselves.

“We have included resources on social justice, social-emotional learning, and curriculum planning, and prioritized letting teachers have collaborative ways of engaging and learning from each other,” said Instructional Supervisor Ulises Solano.

With so many variables our teachers entered the school year with, we knew the key to success would be adaptability. This year’s eCademy was “gamified” to make learning easier and more engaging.

Gamification is using game design and game elements in learning environments and has become a popular teaching tool. By gamifying eCademy, ETM is making learning more fun for our music teachers, and giving them the tools to gamify lessons for each of their students.

The Right Tools to Teach

When the pandemic first hit, leading funders from around the country banded together to step up for the non-profit community here in New York City. Organized by the New York Community Trust, they created a $75M relief effort to support social services and cultural organizations through the pandemic.

ETM was one of dozens of recipients supported by the fund. With a generous $122,000 grant, we were able to ensure music through the Spring 2020 semester, and purchase technology packages to help our teachers in school year 2020-21. Each ETM teacher received:

  • Microsoft Chromebook Pro with Logitech mouse
  • Blue Yeti microphone
  • Jabra Elite over-the-ear headphones
  • 50 masks and latex gloves
  • Hand sanitizer

In addition, each teacher got a set of EVEN Headphones, generously donated by our partners at EVEN, an audio tech startup in Brooklyn.

“The Tech Packs are a game-changer,” said ETM music teacher Ashley D’Amico. The mic and headphones are “so important for a pandemic teacher” she added. Through philanthropy, ETM was able to supply our teachers with the right tools for the job.

Interested in partnering with Education Through Music? Contact us at info@etmonline.org for more information. We’d love to work with you!

Instructional Supervisor Andrea Davis put together a fun presentation for teachers that introduced some of the eCademy characters! These two slides from her presentation introduce the goals and lay out the path to earning an Amulet of Education!