George Lucas Educational Foundation

Peter Siegel

Music Teacher, Symonds Elementary School

I am the music teacher at Symonds Elementary School. Symonds is a highly collaborative K-5 public school with a strong social curriculum. I work school wide with our team of "specials" teachers (art, PE, media) to create cross curricular cultural activities. This serves to anchor our culture of caring.

I grew up in the Hudson Valley in NY, around the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a revolutionary hands on environmental education program started by the folksinger, activist Pete Seeger. The program utilizes sailing, music, story telling, and celebration to educate all ages about the science and history of the Hudson River. I subsequently performed and recorded in the community and with Pete. Inspired by Pete's work, I have aspired to use the arts as a medium to build community, pride, and a "sense of place" in the public school environment. I've now been teaching for 14 years, and believe that arts based education is essential to the academic strength of any school. Serving and educating the "whole child", often striving for intangible successes, inspiring a sense of place, belonging, and allowing for personal expression is what will allow public education to thrive.

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  • Curriculum Planning

    Teaching About the Holidays in Public Schools

    You can avoid controversial topics and still honor a diversity of holiday stories, characters, and rituals as symbols of positive values.