The last 4 years have been an amazing journey! Where there was once a small effort at one school, music is now a vital part of the life of our 3 schools in Lincoln City. Where there was once 1 music teacher, we now have 3 full-time music specialists.
We are reaching about 1,200 students a year. Parents and community members are appreciative and thrilled with what music has added to their family and the lives of their students. For the first time in memory – in May 2018, 3 groups in the Taft music program qualified for State competition. The Taft Jazz Band – placed 2nd in the OMEA (Oregon Music Education Association) at Mt. Hood Community College. The Taft Symphonic Band placed 7th in the OSAA (Oregon Student Activity Association) at the LaSells Stewart Center, Oregon State University, Corvallis. The Taft Choir placed in the OSAA (Oregon Student Activity Association) at George Fox University, Newberg. At the close of the academic year, the Chamber of Commerce honored our Studio to School project with two awards during Lincoln City Community Days Celebration before 300 community members.
In year 5, we are hoping to answer the following 3 questions:
1. To what extent does the music program provide varied, relevant and high-quality opportunities for all students to engage in music throughout their K-12 educational experience in Lincoln City schools ? Do some students benefit more than others ?
2. How and to what extent does the music program support students’ growth in music (e.g. music literacy, technical proficiency) as well as beyond music (e.g. academics, school attendance/engagement) ?
3. To what extent are we developing a shared vision for sustaining the music program beyond year 5 through an inclusive and ongoing planning process ?
Questions 1 and 2 were also a focus of our evaluation in years 2 and 3 giving us the opportunity to look at the long-term impact of bringing music back into our schools. The connection to academic performance (particularly in mathematics) is an area in which we are learning more each year. We also feel that this increase in academic performance provides a clear imperative for communities who question the value of restoring music programs to schools.
Question 3 represents a dramatic change, from year 4. In our final year of the project, we will take a year-long journey to turn our vision “into the future.”
We intend to develop the plan and infrastructure necessary for carrying what we now have into the future. Throughout Year 5, we will continue to meet monthly with our Management Team that includes our principals, music teachers and executive directors of SBMF and the Lincoln City Cultural Center. Beginning with our October meeting, we will begin using part of each meeting to talk about a shared vision for continuing music in schools beyond June 2019. We hope the “answer” to our question will be a plan to address the vision, funding, infrastructure and stakeholders needed to create a self-sustaining organization.
The support is there for continuing the program. However, until there is a detailed plan and engaged stakeholders, progress will not be made. The “answer” plan will help us move “into the future.”
This reflection was put together by Mark Sanders, Executive Director of the Siletz Bay Music Festival and Christine Tell, Project Lead for our S2S project. It grew out of our conversation with our Pendleton Rendezvous team that also included Karin Theisel and Nikki Price.