Juneau, Alaska Music Matters is in a newly published book by Tricia Tunstall. Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music tells the story of El Sistema and chronicles the work of the first class of Abreu Fellows of which I was a part.
Although JAMM is physically remote from other El Sistema-inspired initiatives throughout the country, it continues to receive international and national attention as a teacher-training site and as an inspiration for other in-school models cropping up across the country.
At the beginning of this month, I participated in the Take a Stand Symposium in Los Angeles where I served on a panel to discuss the benefits and challenges of an in-school model. The consensus among the panelists: the benefits of an in-school model far outweigh the challenges, especially if access and equity are a program's top priorities.
In an effort to make privatized opportunities public, the Glacier Valley Parent Group partners with the community and the Juneau School District to bring 90 minutes of violin instruction to all of its kindergarten and first grade students as part of their school schedule. Since the start of the program in September of 2011, JAMM has received over $80,000 in funds and in-kind donations from organizations as far away as China. The school district's contribution: 4.5 hours/wk of the music teacher's time to work with the kindergarten classes. JAMM is bringing more resources and expertise to the school district at very little cost.
The Association of Alaska School Boards recently published JAMM's successes in its January/February newsletter. JAMM continues to bring international and local recognition to the Juneau School District. Through a school, parent and community partnership, JAMM is helping the school district reach its goals of access and equity, academic success, and student, parent and community engagement.