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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Music in Charter Schools

Music in Charter Schools

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Who out there is teaching music in a charter school setting? What are the rewards? What are the concerns?

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Chara Rollins's picture
Chara Rollins
Music teacher in Texas

Thanks for the idea on looking up standards for the other subjects!

A real time performance would be awesome! I have no idea what kind of skills my students will come with. They haven't had music in this school yet, but the school is only a year old, so they've been going to school somewhere... so who knows what they've learned. But I really want to do orff and recorders with them!

Kathleen Whiteside's picture
Kathleen Whiteside
Elementary music teacher

Once you start back to school, find out what resources you have and let me know. I can write/ arrange for what you have in terms of instruments, and add our resources. We can also have the classes propose their ideas for a project/topic etc.
No matter how diverse their musical experience is, our students will each be able to learn and contribute, and probably teach us a thing or two about technology. I would love to see them create and musically score a video.
Enjoy your time off because you and I will be hard at work soon enough!

Mike Procyk's picture
Mike Procyk
Band teacher from Bowling Green, Ohio

I'd be interested in hearing everyone's thoughts on what the unique challenges and opportunities come with teaching in a charter school.

Kathleen Whiteside's picture
Kathleen Whiteside
Elementary music teacher

Hello! In response to your post I'd have to say funding is a challenge! Charter school seem to have to trade independence for funding when compared to regular public school, but each school will vary. How is your funding situation ?
A second challenge and reward is finding/ forging the relationship of music to the rest of the curriculum in your school. I feel it is essential to connect music to the larger goals of a charter school. We musicians will always have the challenge of educating administration, parents and staff about the benefits derived from music education. This can be a wonderful opportunity, of course. Charter school can offer some creative flexibility for the right teacher. I am hoping that by connecting with teachers on this site, I can develop some exciting projects and keep our school on one of the cutting edges of music: collaboration with other schools through the miracle of technology and the Internet. I don't think I could be doing this in a normal elementary school.

Matthew James Cotton's picture
Matthew James Cotton
High School Performing Arts Administration from Dublin, GA

I think you also need to forge partnerships in your community. My charter school had relationships with Little Kids Rock (if you don't know about them, LOOK) and the LA Opera. Those connections helped stretch a lot of dollars.

Kathleen Whiteside's picture
Kathleen Whiteside
Elementary music teacher

Yes, and thanks for the reminder. I used to sing in the L.A. Opera outreach program! A million years ago...

Kathleen Whiteside's picture
Kathleen Whiteside
Elementary music teacher

I have used the Keeping Score video series on The Rite of Spring for the last couple off years for the 8th grade. Unbelievable quality of production; M. Tilson Thomas is a pioneer and a gift to music education!

Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Manager

Obviously there's a lot of classical music, but I like how Keeping Score also branches out to other cultures and time periods. For example, there are lessons on musical traditions from Mexico and American Civil War songs.

Anyway, a cool resource for folks who may not have heard about it...

Matthew James Cotton's picture
Matthew James Cotton
High School Performing Arts Administration from Dublin, GA

Hello All!! Lots going on in research in Music Ed in Charters. There are two articles out there that have popped up on the radar even though they have been written in the last few years.
Ken Elpus has a chapter in a new book. Check out the link:
The article can be found here, but in prepublication stages:

Elpus's work was based on research by Russel:

Anyone seeing any other research out there?


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