Category: Achieve Written by Gabrielle Poshadlo
On Sunday, May 19, 150 Detroit students (grades 3-8) will perform on stage at Orchestra Hall, displaying months of hard work as participants in the Honda Power of Dreams String Music Project, a program presented by Honda and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO).
Most of the children involved in this project would otherwise never have had the opportunity to even touch an instrument, let alone learn what effect playing music can have on every aspect of their life, said Charles Burke, DSO senior director of Education. Thanks to Honda, some of them will pursue classical music as a career, but no doubt all of them will never forget this experience.
To commemorate the completion of five years of the Power of Dreams partnership, Honda will present the DSO with $150,000 that will provide participating students with another year of music education.
Honda joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Wayne State University on this project because our company values education, the arts and children, said Edward Miller, senior manager of Media and Industry Relations at Honda North America, Inc. The Power of Dreams program unites all three for the benefit of our city and a new generation of rising artists.
WHEN: Sunday, May 19 at 7 p.m.
Students will perform works by Vivaldi, Scott Joplin and more, conducted by Tanya Bennett and Leslie DeShazor-Adams
WHERE: Max M. Fisher Music Center, Orchestra Hall
3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit 48201
About the Power of Dreams String Music Project In 2008, Honda provided the DSO with a gift of more than $1 million to create The Power of Dreams Music Education Fund with the purpose of supporting and expanding the DSOs nationally acclaimed music programs for young people, and particularly an effort to encourage and support involvement of children in Detroit.
This unique program, in collaboration with the Wayne State University Department of Music and Shar Products Company, is made available to students for whom string education is not currently available or opportunities are extremely limited. The program features a variety of opportunities for students to study classical Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass through participation in various levels of group lessons, ensemble training, and individual lessons.
Honda is the worlds largest engine maker, producing a vast array of products, including automobiles, motorcycles, power equipment and, soon, jet aircraft all designed to advance mobility and improve the lives of people through continued innovations in technology and design. Based on its belief in The Power of Dreams, and in the ability of individuals to create a new and better future for society, Honda also supports a variety of initiatives aimed at advancing education and creating experiences of discovery that help people to see and achieve their own dreams. For more information on Hondas philanthropic efforts and other innovative business initiatives, please visit corporate.honda.com
For more information about Detroit Symphony Orchestra educational programs, visit the organization online at dso.org.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 21:07
Category: Achieve Written by Princess Hayes
Ithaca, NY (BlackNews.com) -- Pioneering African American Rap Artist MC Sha-Rock has been appointed as National Advisor for the Cornell University Hip Hop Library. Sha-Rock is relevant to the Hip Hop culture, music and industry. Established in 1976, she began her career as a b-girl/break dancer in the Bronx, New York. In the Hip Hop community, she is known as the "Luminary Icon" or the "Mother of the Mic". She stands as the foundation for female, emcee's. She is a former member of the legendary rap group, The Funky 4 Plus One More. In 1981" they appeared on Saturday Night Live and became the first rap group to ever appear on national television.
MC Sha-Rock is a recipient of the Honorary Award from the Council of New York and The Women's Distinction Award by The Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem, New York. She has been featured in countless magazines and books written by authors and Hip Hop Historians.
She comments, "I am humbled and honored to accept this titled as a National Advisor for the Hip Hop Library at Cornell, said MC Sha-Rock. It feels as if I'm home. I am thankful that Katherine Reagan and Ben Ortiz have asked me to serve as an educator on the board. I have been involved and apart of the Hip Hop culture, since its inception. I am truly looking forward to sharing my experience and knowledge with the world. I am also excited about working with other pioneer's, educators and scholars. The Cornell Hip Hop Library will stand as the leading educational university to educate, highlight and showcase a vast selection of the origins of Hip Hop in film, old school flyers and photographs. It is open to the public, and it is my wish that everyone will get the opportunity to come out and experience the Hip Hop movement before its posterity."
MC Sha-Rock couldn't be any happier to announce that the Cornell Hip Hop Library will showcase the first known vintage film footage that was documented and dated in 1977 by a young man's task to complete a high school project. The film highlights the Original Funky Four MC's and also charts MC Sha-Rock as the first female MC of Hip Hop.
For more information contact:
Last Updated on Monday, 06 May 2013 12:35
Category: Achieve Written by Princess Hayes
As the film opens, it’s the last day of school at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a new charter school in northwest Detroit. It’s Aug. 3, 2012 – late in the summer, since JRLA has a year-round schedule – and students and staff have gathered for an end-of-year picnic. School founder Jalen Rose hands out awards to two students who had perfect attendance. The school was in session 211 days and these two students were there for all 211.
We then get an overview of what this school actually is – a publicly funded charter school. The scene may look familiar but the school itself is quite different.
We go back to 1994, the year that Jalen Rose was a junior basketball player at the University of Michigan. We get a short history lesson about how charter schools came to be in Michigan: How the Legislature passed the law in a late-night session on Christmas Eve, 1993. How Gov. John Engler signed the charter school law on Jan. 14, 1994. How two decades later, Jalen Rose would use John Engler’s legislation to make a difference in a different arena.
Rose (and others) tell the story of how the school came to be: How they worked with Central Michigan to get the school authorized. How they struggled to find a facility. How they worked with MAPSA to navigate the process.
We then meet a Detroit family that has been struggling to find the right school for their daughter. Irving and Tanisha Bailey are proud graduates of the Detroit Public Schools and their daughter, Unique, has been attending a DPS school since kindergarten. But as she enters high school, they’re frustrated with the situation in DPS – overcrowded classrooms, violence, chaos. They want more for Unique.
Irving Bailey sees a TV report about JRLA and he decides to check it out. They love everything about the school so they decide to enroll Unique.
That’s when they find out it won’t be as easy as all that. In order to get Unique into this school, they’ll literally have to win the lottery. There are only 120 spots available and more than 130 students are vying for those spots.
We see dramatic footage of the lottery itself. With the Baileys sitting in the front row, the officials start pulling names. Fifty names are called, then 60, then 70. Then 100. Unique’s name still hasn’t been called. With only a few spots left, Unique’s name is finally called. Her mother jumps up and starts shouting, and then hugging everyone in sight – including Jalen. You’ve never seen a happier mother at a charter school lottery.
Now we come to the first day of school, Sept. 12, 2011. As the 120 new students gather in the auditorium for an assembly, Jalen speaks to the students and sets the tone for the new school. As he sees two students talking and joking during his speech, he pulls one of the terrified boys out of the audience and makes him come on stage. “Read this,” Jalen says. It’s a statistic listing how many ninth graders in Detroit aren’t at grade level for math. “Ninety percent,” the boy mumbles. “Say it louder,” Jalen says. “Ninety percent! That’s how many of you aren’t prepared for ninth grade in math. We’ve got work to do.” The message has been delivered, and the tone for the new school is set.
As the year goes on, we see scenes of other charter school life:
Saturday school. On a rainy day in March, when other kids across Detroit are home watching TV, the students at JRLA are in school. We see Unique present a report in history class about the Holocaust.
A board meeting. We see Jalen chairing a meeting of the JRLA School Board as they discuss budget and other matters. Ed Roth of CMU sits in the front row as part of the authorizer oversight process.
The second school lottery. As the 2012-13 school year approaches, a lottery has to be held to fill one opening in the school’s 10th grade class. Another very dramatic lottery scene, with another very happy mother.
School in the summer. We visit the school on a blistering hot summer day in July 2012. As other kids across Detroit are at the pool or hanging out, the students at JRLA are in school. Unique and a partner are working on a children’s book about math.
We come back to the last day of school – where the documentary started. Unique’s mom expresses great joy at the academic growth Unique has experienced. Unique says that summer school wasn’t fun but she knows it was good for her. Just before the ending credits roll, we learn that Unique was one of 12 students to end the school year with a perfect 4.0 GPA. And as she gets ready to start her sophomore year, she’s been elected vice president of the Student Council.
The Bailey family is happy.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 15:46
Category: Achieve Written by Princess Hayes
“My son is reading everything now. He is reading at a sixth-grade level. His grades have gone up and he is a different kid now. His behavior has really improved and it’s due to the structure at the school.”
Parents and students are speaking enthusiastically about their experience with the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA), the new public system of schools whose mission is to change the paradigm for how education is delivered to urban students. The system opened in September 2012 with 15 of Detroit’s lowest-achieving schools.
There are many qualities of EAA direct-run schools that are different from traditional schools including longer school days and a longer school year, and the student-centered learning approach. But one of the most significant changes, according to many students and parents, is the leadership in the schools.
The EAA partnered with the Harvard University Graduate School of Education last year to conduct an extensive nationwide search for principals before the start of the school year. The same process was used in hiring teachers. With new leadership, students have not only grown academically but also behaviorally.
“The new structure at Brenda Scott is just tremendous,” said Sharon Reed-Thompson, a parent and volunteer at Brenda Scott Elementary/Middle School.
“My son completed third grade last year and couldn’t read. At the start of this year I said I would give the EAA structure a week and see how it went. It only took a week for me to realize what great things were going to happen for the students,” she added.
“My son is reading everything now. He is reading at a sixth-grade level. His grades have gone up and he is a different kid now. His behavior has really improved and it’s due to the structure at the school. The school couldn’t ask for a better principal, administrative staff or teachers. They are wonderful,” Reed-Thompson said.
Marques Stewart, Brenda Scott principal, said that he solicits feedback from parents and students often to get a full understanding of their perceptions.
“It is important to establish a positive culture from the start if we are really going to help our students learn. Establishing a positive culture has been one of our number one priorities as a staff through building relationships with students, parents and the community.
“Now that we have a more positive culture in place, student learning is on the rise and all students have taken ownership for their learning,” Stewart said.
It’s not only the staff and parents who are seeing changes. The students’ experiences have changed and they see their classmates behaving in a new way.
Faith Young, 12, said that the changes have helped her and other students learn more. “I see kids learning more and behaving better. Kids who misbehave get in trouble and the rest of us keep learning at our own pace,” Young explained.
Her classmate, Kannetha Stainback, 12, agreed that students’ behavior has transformed. “I’ve never seen teachers communicate with the kids before and they really do now. That makes it different because it keeps the kids under control. Mr. Stewart is always in the hallways making sure everyone is behaving. I didn’t see my old principal in the hallways,” she said.
Reed-Thompson said she has been a parent volunteer every year at the school but could only handle a few hours at a time of being in the school before.
“Now I’m there eight or nine hours a day. There are a lot of the same students that were there previous years but their behavior is so much better. I see it all firsthand when I am there. Mr. Stewart goes to the classrooms and observes the teachers and students. He talks with them in the hallway. And the rest of the staff cares just as much as he does. It wasn’t like that before.”
Changes are also visible at Nolan Elementary/Middle School where 33 percent of students already have shown a year or more growth in reading and math and suspensions have reduced 50 percent since last year.
Nolan Principal Angela Underwood said that her students, and parents, are engaged in what goes on at the school. The community proved that when they came together to remove nearly 39,000 pounds of trash from the school as part of a beautification effort. Underwood has established 65 community partnerships for Nolan and acquired 150 volunteer mentors that work with the parents and students.
The school also has 13 clubs that students may participate in each week during an exploratory period at the end of the day or after school, and they plan to add more programs in June.
“If a child who has been labeled as having special needs since his first experience in school walks up to me after taking an assessment with tears streaming down his cheeks and says ‘Ms. Underwood, I didn’t know I ever had it in me’ because he knows he has just shown two years academic growth in reading and math only six months into the school year, that is affirmation enough for me to know that what we are doing is worthwhile,” Underwood said.
Reed-Thompson said she recommends EAA schools to everyone after seeing her son grow so much since September. “I wouldn’t say that things are different. That doesn’t even begin to explain it. The way that the administration has been able to get a handle on things is remarkable,” she said. “This is a tremendous turnaround. I have never seen structure in a school like this before. I wouldn’t go anywhere else for my child’s education.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 15:04
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