Laela is an outgoing seventh grader, who loves playing her bright blue violin. Three times each week, she gets to work with MacPhail teaching artists at her school, Harvest Prep Academy, an innovative charter school based in North Minneapolis that has experienced great success in closing the achievement gap for young, African American students. (MacPhail Center for Music)
By Stacy M. Brown, (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
Educators at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis credit the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) with increasing awareness about their historic music program.
“MacPhail is one of the nation’s oldest and largest music education non-profits,” said Claire Forrest, the digital communications and public relations coordinator at the center. “We serve 15,500 students, transforming lives and communities through exceptional music learning for all ages, backgrounds and abilities.”
The center boasts 245 teachers with instruction in 35 instruments, including voice. Youth can explore the world of music in an age-appropriate and fun environment.
Forrest noted that certain provisions included in ESSA will provide educators with more tools to assist students. Those provisions include the requirement that all students in America be taught to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers.
ESSA was enacted to help increase the effectiveness of public education in every state. Under ESSA, states have great-er flexibility under federal regulations. The law also ensures that every child, regardless of race, income, background, or where they live has access to a high-quality education.
place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators.
Forrest and others credit the provisions under ESSA with boosting more interest in the program and gaining even more tools to assist students.
“Students learn in many ways and ESSA acknowledges and supports that with the emphasis on well-rounded curriculum and well-rounded students,” said Paul Babcock, president and CEO of the MacPhail Center for Music. “The inclusion of music and arts both supports student engagement in creative arts and allows students to learn through active participation in arts making.”
Babcock continued: “These are items important to all students and especially important to students in underrepresented communities where opportunities are limited.”
Babcock said that early exposure to the arts help to level the playing field and allow students’ talents to be nurtured in ways that are vital to their future success in life and the workplace.
And MacPhail offers dozens of ways to explore those talents.
It’s “Sing, Play, Learn” program allows young ones to experience the joy and the benefits of music while it’s “Suzuki” program is one of the largest and most established of its kind in the country, Babcock said.
Students learn music fundamentals, technique and appreciation from some of the most qualified musicians around and they can develop musical skills in a fun, collaborative setting with group music lessons, classes, and ensembles or in private lessons at MacPhail.
The center also hosts summer camps and music therapy options to help children improve their physical, psychological, cognitive, behavioral and social functioning through clinical and evidence-based research and practices by working with an experienced, board-certified music therapist.
“In our early childhood and school partnership programs, students often do not have access to music education due to the constraints on school time and budgets,” said Babcock. “The focus of school time and resources in many of those cases is put towards subjects that are being tested and how schools are being measured.”
Babcock said that, as a result, music and arts education is often ignored. Babcock noted that when McPhail’s School Partnership programs are being instituted at schools that did not have music, the students have demonstrated gains in social, emotional and executive functioning skills; they students also become more engaged in their communities.
“These advancements for the students are directly benefiting students’ attendance at school and therefore their accomplishments in school,” said Babcock. “ESSA’s focus on the well-rounded student provides the opportunity for resources to be directed to music and the arts, therefore, removing the time and resource limitation.”