Music In Our [Digital] Schools: Balance, Creativity, & Joy
Did you know that March is Music In Our Schools month? We reached out to our amazing Distinctive Schools music teachers to celebrate their work, and learn more about their classroom practice. This month brought a new set of challenges to our music teachers – we have experienced an unprecedented shift, flipping the paradigm of school overnight. Innovative, student-centered environments, student-directed learning, and a strong culture prepared Distinctive students and teachers to quickly shift their classrooms to focus on At-Home Learning.
As families – and teachers– across the country have adapted to this new reality, Distinctive Schools music teachers are doing their part to continue bringing joy, student-centered curriculum, and artistic opportunities for expression to their students... only, now it's from their living rooms.
Nicole Chopp, music teacher at CICS West Belden, is making great efforts to support students and teachers during the school closures. In the classroom, Nicole’s approach to teaching music is centered around learning through play, imitation, and experimentation. Since moving to at-home learning, Nicole continues to keep play and experimentation central to her teaching. "While my primary role during at home learning is to support community teachers, I am still providing students with opportunities to have fun with music.” Nicole is engaging students through video, sharing recordings that allow students to continue building skills they’ve started to work on in class, and focusing on independent work for now. “I'm doing my best to provide students with access to content they're familiar with so they can be successful and have fun at home."
Amber Leitsch, Vocal Performance and Piano Teacher at Art In Motion, prioritizes culture in her classroom. Her goal is always to provide a safe and welcoming environment, where her students learn to make music an outlet for creativity, emotion, thought and energy. “Music can be an incredible tool to look into the past, learn about the world inside and outside of one’s own community, communicate with others, make a person’s day and create art," Amber shared. Now that her classroom has moved to the digital space, she is excited to see the many ways her students are embracing the challenges of e-learning. “My students are so creative, they are coming up with all of these ideas! My biggest goal, outside of using their craft as an outlet for emotions, is to make their voices heard. They are responsible for shaping the world.” Amber’s students are diving deep into music theory, and working on ways to take their practice to the next (digital) level.
We asked Frank Cademartori, music teacher at CICS Irving Park and Network Enrichment Coordinator, how things have evolved since making the switch to At-Home Learning. “The most exciting and interactive part are the Live Lessons that we host twice daily.” Frank shared, “These are open to all students and we help walk them through a simple activity from origami to a sing-a-long, to paper mache.” The enrichment team at CICS Irving Park is meeting through google hangouts to plan lessons, collaborate, and develop a new schedule for families to join in on every week. They are sharing resources with families, including independent, guided, and scripted activities, through a shared Google Classroom. What does the future hold for CICS Irving Park Enrichment? “We're working on developing smaller, more specialized, "opt-in" classes that students can sign up for. We all think it's more important than ever to give students time and space to be creative and explore!”.
Historically, during times of crisis, we turn to the arts to lift our spirits, express our feelings, and keep us balanced. We are so grateful to our enrichment teachers for striving to provide balance and a creative outlet for our students (and staff!) during this time of uncertainty. As a strong community, we know that we will get through this together, and we look forward to making music in our schools again soon!
Dear Distinctive Schools Network Families,
This is an update to our last message from February 29th, 2020 regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the network's response and procedures. Because the status of COVID-19 is rapidly changing both here in the U.S. and abroad, we are continually monitoring the situation and will regularly update you with information as it becomes pertinent to what is happening at your school.
We are in close contact with our local school districts and authorizers and have actively engaged with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to ensure that we are following the direction of experts when it comes to safety and preventative measures for our students and staff. We do - and will continue to - follow their guidance. As an update, Chicago Public Schools has announced a confirmed case of COVID-19 and they are working with families and students to ensure tight protocols are in place. If you have a student or family member at Vaughn Occupational High School, we ask that you inform us and follow all IPDH, CDC and CPS guidelines. As stated before, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, but as the number of cases in the U.S. grows, we are taking this very seriously. As testing of COVID-19 becomes more widely available, we may begin to see new cases in the coming days and weeks. Local health departments along with state and federal authorities and local school districts will issue new guidance in the coming days and weeks, and we will keep you updated on changes and its impact on your school. At this time, the local district is not considering closing schools based on the recommendation of local health authorities. We will likely follow local district and authorizer decision making throughout the next few days and weeks.
There are several proactive measures we are taking right now as preventative measures in our schools and beyond, and there are things that you - as families and members of the school community - can do that are critically important as well.
What Distinctive Schools is doing:
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Here are some helpful links if you would like more information on COVID-19:
If you have any additional questions or are showing any signs of a respiratory illness (similar symptoms to the flu: fever, cough, shortness of breath) please consult your health care professional. We will also update you again as the situation changes and more information becomes available. Finally, COVID-19 does not distinguish between race, nationality, or geographic borders. Stigma and discrimination against the afflicted discourages early reporting of symptoms and further perpetuates community spread.
If there is a concern related to student discrimination, please reach out to your School Director.
We are grateful for your partnership in keeping your children - and all Distinctive Schools students and staff - safe as we navigate through this situation.
Scott Frauenheim Mike McCarthy
Chief Executive Officer Executive Director of Student Services
Distinctive Schools Distinctive Schools
Actualización familiar sobre el virus COVID-19
Estimadas familias de Distinctive Schools:
Esta es una actualización de nuestro último mensaje del 29 de febrero de 2020 sobre el COVID-19 (coronavirus) y la respuesta y los procedimientos de la red. Debido a que el estado de COVID-19 está cambiando rápidamente tanto en los EE. UU como en el extranjero, estamos monitoreando continuamente la situación y lo actualizaremos regularmente con información a medida que sea pertinente a lo que está sucediendo en su escuela.
Estamos en estrecho contacto con nuestros distritos escolares y autorizadores locales y nos hemos comprometido activamente con los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades (CDC) para garantizar que seguimos la dirección de los expertos en lo que respecta a medidas de seguridad y prevención para nuestros estudiantes y el personal. Seguimos, y seguiremos, siguiendo su guía. Como actualización, las Escuelas Públicas de Chicago anunciaron un caso confirmado de COVID-19 y están trabajando con familias y estudiantes para garantizar la existencia de protocolos estrictos. Si tiene un estudiante o miembro de la familia en Vaughn Occupational High School, le pedimos que nos informe y siga todas las pautas de IPDH, CDC y CPS. Como se indicó anteriormente, no ha habido casos confirmados de COVID-19 en Michigan, pero a medida que aumenta el número de casos en los EE. UU., nos estamos tomando esto muy en serio. A medida que las pruebas de COVID-19 estén más disponibles, podemos comenzar a ver nuevos casos en los próximos días y semanas. Los departamentos de salud locales junto con las autoridades estatales y federales y los distritos escolares locales emitirán una nueva guía en los próximos días y semanas, y lo mantendremos informado sobre los cambios y su impacto en su escuela. En este momento, el distrito local no está considerando cerrar las escuelas según la recomendación de las autoridades sanitarias locales. Probablemente seguiremos la toma de decisiones del distrito local y del autorizador durante los próximos días y semanas.
Hay varias medidas proactivas que estamos tomando en este momento como medidas preventivas en nuestras escuelas y más allá, y hay cosas que ustedes, como familias y miembros de la comunidad escolar, pueden hacer que también son críticamente importantes.
Qué hace Distinctive Schools:
QUÉ PUEDE HACER:
Aquí hay algunos enlaces útiles si desea obtener más información sobre COVID-19:
Si tiene alguna pregunta adicional o muestra signos de una enfermedad respiratoria (síntomas similares a la gripe: fiebre, tos, falta de aliento), consulte a su profesional de la salud. También lo actualizaremos nuevamente a medida que la situación cambie y haya más información disponible. Finalmente, COVID-19 no distingue entre raza, nacionalidad o fronteras geográficas. El estigma y la discriminación contra los afectados desalientan la notificación temprana de los síntomas y perpetúa aún más la propagación de la comunidad.
Si hay una preocupación relacionada con la discriminación estudiantil, comuníquese con el Director de su escuela.
Agradecemos su colaboración para mantener seguros a sus hijos y a todos los estudiantes y el personal de Distinctive Schools, mientras navegamos por esta situación.
Scott Frauenheim Mike McCarthy
Director Ejecutivo Director Ejecutivo de Servicios Estudiantiles
Distinctive Schools Distinctive Schools