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Partnering Through a Pandemic

Partnering Through a Pandemic

To ensure our mission of pursuing equity and providing access to music education for all children, ETM set up a new program of financial assistance credits to support our partner schools during these tough times. This $125,000 of aid has allowed many of our partner schools to continue to provide music education to their students despite their decimated school budgets, which have been deeply affected by the economic effects of COVID-19 this school year.

Connecting with Principals
ETM Music Teacher Brittany Harris created on-demand music lessons for students.

Knowing that principals were under incredible pressure and unwilling to contemplate a school year without music, ETM Director of Partnership Programs Nick LaFleur had countless conversations with NYC principals to see how ETM could help. Principals didn’t always know how to fit music into their new convoluted new schedules, much less how they would afford it as they juggled uncertain mandates from the DOE, unpredictable budgets, and a fluctuating teaching force.

“As I was reaching out to partner school principals,” said Nick, “my message was simple: we know things are tough this year, so whatever your situation is, talk to us, and let’s see what we can do.” This mantra of adaptability has been key for ETM’s ability to navigate the pandemic.

Shirley Torres, principal at ETM Partner School P.S. 23 in the Bronx, was determined to continue the partnership despite the financial challenges. “I can’t dance, I can’t sing, and I can’t draw, but I was exposed to all of those arts.  And I want all of my students to have the same.” Thanks to ETM’s financial assistance credits, she can maintain her music program this year. “I thank ETM for being able to do that.”

“It’s good to preserve the music programs in schools, as well as teachers’ careers,” added Nick. “We’re solving problems here.”

51 Partnerships
We’re thrilled to be working with high schoolers this year.

As a result, ETM is thrilled to be partnering with 51 schools this year, four of which are new partnerships.  Another milestone this year: ETM’s first partner high school, H.S. 223, in Mott Haven in the Bronx, where tenth-grade students will have access to Music Tech classes weekly.

We’re so proud of all of our teachers, who are teaching music tech, general music, and even a few ensembles, to an estimated 18,000 students and providing lessons online as well as in person.  Now, more than ever, ensuring equitable access to music education is paramount, and ETM is committed to doing just that.

You can check out our complete School Year 20-21 Partner School List here.