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Education Through Music-Los Angeles Provides Critical Arts Education to 18,500 StudentsPosted
Education Through Music-Los Angeles is grateful for LA2050’s partnership which has nurtured our post-pandemic recovery efforts in bringing music education back to under-resourced schools across LA County. The lack of music and arts education has been a longstanding equity and access issue; schools serving low-income students, especially students of color, are less likely to have robust arts programs (edsource.org, January 2022) with only one in five schools maintaining the equivalent of a full-time arts teacher. Since receiving the LA2050 grant in September 2022, ETM-LA is reaching 18,500 students across 42 schools with sequential, comprehensive music education yearlong. We work closely with each partner school to meet their specific needs, and plan to bring on an additional two to three schools this semester.
One school principal partner shares, “ETM-LA is an amazing program that has truly changed the culture of our school--music has boosted the confidence of our middle school and has engaged our little ones to be energetic and enjoy playing instruments.”
ETM-LA placed 32 music teachers and interns who are dedicated to implementing a culturally responsive approach to teaching with a focus on social-emotional learning. Nurturing character development, self-esteem, and social skills, the music classes embed STEAM-focused lessons, multimedia music, music technology, attention to engaging students with special needs, music therapy, and healing-centered practices.
ETM-LA is witnessing the positive impact on K-12 STEAM Education and student performance and attitudes toward the arts and school. ETM-LA conducts ongoing assessment of its programming and activities to determine progress towards goals and objectives. One key survey is the Partner School Short & Long-Term Planning 2023-24 Survey (formerly the Mid Year Check-In Survey) filled out by school leadership. Data collected this 2023 year found:
- Over 94 percent of school leaders have witnessed improvement in student's attitudes towards school and the arts
- Over 91 percent have witnessed an overall increase in students' confidence which they believe music learning has supported
- Over 90 percent of classroom teachers have used music/arts to support learning this year
Supporting emerging practitioners in the field of music education is a key goal for our project. This year alone, ETM-LA has provided nearly 100 hours of mentorship and training for each music teacher/intern to reflect deeply and expand upon their work. Workshop sessions have explored Restorative Practices in the Classroom, “Musical” Escape Room Activity, Singing Pedagogy 101 for the General Music & Instrumental Classroom, Best Practices for Mainstreamed Music Classes, and more.
Our Principals Leadership Conference (held February 3, 2023) brought over 75 school leaders together to build their vision for sustainability, while ETM-LA’s parent and community workshops offer joy and meaningful engagement. We are seeing greater school/community understanding of and support for arts education. Feedback from our school leaders includes: “Our scholars continue to be enriched by the arts”; “I know that our partnership with ETM-LA helped us earn the Exemplary Arts Award Program from the State of California (for the 3rd time)!”
We continue to successfully advocate for the increase of full-time music teachers in school districts. Since ETM-LA emerged 17 years ago, the awareness for the importance of music has increased manifold. Our internship program is receiving more and more interest; ETM-LA has more than double the size of its Internship Program this year, and successfully graduated three interns to music teacher positions. We will continue to be intentional in our commitment to helping school partners create sustainability plans.
José, parent of 5th Grader Gio shares, “If it wasn’t for the [music] program, actually I wouldn’t be able to put him in a situation where he’s singing, dancing, choreographing, something that he loves. He wouldn’t have that if it wasn’t for the program in school.”
We know that the past few years have been arguably some of the most difficult for education and schools. Hiring and recruitment in education and the arts continues to be challenging. We are meeting this challenge by investments in workforce development for our Internship Program, partnerships with local agencies, and building more visibility through storytelling and sharing our impact.
Our core belief is that all children deserve a well-rounded education, one inclusive of the arts, to ensure their holistic development. The next six months we will seek to drive further impact in our dual role as an arts provider and intermediary towards sustainable programming, and evaluate our success in several ways, including: 1) Gathering data and 360 degree feedback on the impact from our school partners and students, 2) Assessing the effectiveness of our training on music teachers and interns, and 3) Measuring how school partners are meeting milestones toward their vision/plan of long-term sustainability.
Providing equity, access, and inclusion are vital to ensuring that children have a healthy, bright future so that they – our future leaders – can make Los Angeles the best place to create, play, connect, live, and learn in 2050.