READ SING DRUM DANCE SUCCESS | City of Ideas

Posted 12/03/2012 by Collaborate Boston Application

Issue to be Addressed:
Boston City Singers’ “Read+Sing+Drum+Dance” will engage boys from Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan in the critical after school hours. Centrally located at Young Achievers Science and Math Pilot School in Mattapan, this enrichment model for at-risk boys of color will provide local resources, services and supports to enhance arts programming, literacy education by way of various disciplines and methods and improve the physical and mental health of participants and their families. Collaborations with local partners will promote socially, culturally relevant and active learning, fostering students who are engaged academically and empowered as community ambassadors. 
Many Boston Public School students and their families live in neighborhoods unsafe to walk and play in due to crime and violence. Those currently living in the target areas are representative of a population that has historically experienced disparities due to economic, health and social constraints.  There is a significant need in this community for resources, education, and access to the essential components that lead to recreation, good health, and education in the arts and literacy. Research shows that students learn in diverse ways. Boston City Singers engages children in performing, listening, questioning, creating, and reflecting. The values and discipline of music and dance inform many academic subject areas.

Project Proposed:
Boston City Singers, in collaboration with Young Achievers, Mattapan Community Health Center /MA League of Community Health Centers, Chez Vous Roller Rink, and Mt. Washington Bank, proposes to offer an afterschool program that uniquely combines literacy, drumming, singing, skating, dancing, health, wellness and financial literacy education four days per week during the 2013-14 academic year. The collaboration will help bridge the gap between students’ learning and enhance opportunities to explore music, drumming, dance, literacy, financial management and health education to increase student engagement and meet students’ full developmental needs. 
This academic year Boston City Singers has engaged Young Achievers music and drumming teacher, Kimani Lumsden, to conduct drumming workshops, which have enhanced the musical skills of the singers, improved attendance, attention and social, emotional, and leadership skills. The World Music Drumming curriculum, which Lumsden uses at both locations, is innovative, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary contributing to the education of the “whole child” critically important for the inner city youth population. The partnerships will reinforce the lessons taught to at-risk boys of color in classrooms during the non-traditional portion of the school day and provide these students with previously unattainable community resources

Role of Collaboration:
The collaboration we are proposing uses multiple senses and intelligences, and will be most effective in reaching a wider diversity of students and learning styles because of the range of partners we are working with.
Boston City Singers offers weekly singing classes for ages 4 – 18. Students receive well-balanced music instruction with performance, youth development, cultural exploration, leadership training and community service components. Singers develop progressive mastery of skills with children from different backgrounds during critical after-school hours. Emphasis is placed on personal discipline, teamwork and cooperation. Through ongoing mentor relationships singers are connected to a strong and supportive community. After-school and Saturday programs are held in Chinatown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, and Mattapan|Hyde Park. We also have programming in Cambridge, Norwell and Weymouth for constituencies demographically similar to those in Boston’s at-risk neighborhoods.
 
Young Achievers creates an exceptional teaching and learning environment to promote academic excellence for all students in a just and caring community of learners.  Founded in 1995 by a passionate group of community leaders, parents and teachers from the Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan neighborhoods of Boston, they believed that urban children of color needed to achieve a level of literacy that public schools typically did not provide.  In addition, the founders advocated for a longer school day and a full service program to address children’s artistic, mental, social, emotional and physical health.
Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers is a non-profit, statewide association dedicated to improving the quality of life for urban communities by providing referrals for comprehensive, accessible, affordable, and culturally appropriate community health care, which includes primary and preventive health services. Physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and support-staff work hard to provide the excellent care patients have come to expect.  The League will assist in recommending health educators who will provide appropriate grade-level curricula after-school for enrolled students on-site at Young Achievers, for two 60-minute programs each week during the academic year.
Chez Vous Roller Skating Rink is a family-owned and operated business providing recreational skating facilities and lessons.  Located about half a mile from Young Achievers, students will have drumming and singing classes twice a week, and skating and dance lessons. Ninety-two percent of the student population is African American (60%) or Latino (32%). National data shows that the highest percentage of those overweight are among this population, and also at risk of obesity and a variety of other illnesses, which follow them into adulthood. Access to fun physical activity is an essential component for recreation and good health.
Mount Washington Bank actively supports and participates in urban communities through philanthropy, personal involvement and leadership. The bank has a financial literacy curriculum appropriate for school children.  Students enrolled in our program will participate in a class taught by bankers for a total of 60 minutes weekly on two days. We propose to pay participants a stipend of $10 weekly for participating.  They will be assisted in opening an interest-bearing savings account at Mt. Washington Bank that will be regularly monitored.  At the end of the program, students will have saved approximately $350 in a personal savings account.

Impact:
This implementation of an innovative cross-cultural drumming-based curriculum will engage learners in direct, relevant experience and focused reflection using the performing arts — percussion primarily— to build inclusion, cooperation, and teamwork. Everyone has an important role, as all other parts are influenced by each individual’s role. Students participate both as individuals and as members of the group, collaboration and teamwork are necessary for the success of the entire ensemble. Innate ability is not a prequisite for success. Students also become aware of aural, acoustical, physical and musical changes when drumming. Students experience cause and contrast when part of an ensemble. Harmony and melody of drum parts change, depending on how the instrument is used. These activities will enhance and inform traditional academic subjects—math, literacy, and science, and promote social and emotional development.
Group performances also increase and develop motor skills, and clarify values and ways of listening, thinking, collaborating as a group, and habits of mind — instilling a way of thinking that focuses students on the habits of creativity, investigation, evidence, perseverance, connection and equity.
We are passionate about our work with inner city youth, and look forward to building on our long-standing experience and success.

Other information:
Boston City Singers has commissioned partners in education, healthcare, and financial literacy to participate in a specially designed curriculum to engage students in active learning, increasing student engagement and academic achievement. Each session will be socially and culturally relevant and will strengthen the communities and environment where students live and go to school.  The multidisciplinary learning activities that Boston City Singers proposes encompass interdisciplinary arts experiences- singing, dancing, and drumming-and bring other experts into the classroom, with a health and wellness, reading and financial literacy curriculum.
Boys will be divided into groups, carefully selected by Collaboration Director, Jane Money, Kimani Lumsden and Principal Virginia Chalmers.  The program will be held four days per week, from 4:15 - 6:00pm, with transportation provided by Bolt Bus, a partner of Boston City Singers.  Two days per week students will have drumming, singing, dancing and skating offsite at Chez Vous.  The other two days students will rotate through a health and wellness classes, onsite in the school-based health clinic, and at a financial literacy class at the Codman Square branch of Mount Washington Bank

Primary Contact:
Ms. Jane Money
Founder, Artistic and Education Director
Boston City Singers
www.bostoncitysingers.org

Jane founded Boston City Singers in 1995 as a division of Pro Musica. In 2003, Boston City Singers became a separate chorus and youth development program with headquarters in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood and currently serves over 350 young people throughout Boston and surrounding neighborhoods annually. Jane has over 25 years teaching music in classrooms, school and church choirs. She is passionate about teaching children to sing.

Ms. Money holds masters degrees in music from Auckland University in New Zealand; in music education from Trinity College of Music in London; and in engineering (MS) from B.U. She is also the Founding Artistic Director of “Children’s Voices of Ireland.” She is a former instructor with the Metropolitan Opera’s Urban Voices program in Boston, and until June 2008, the Director of Youth Choirs at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Wellesley, MA. She is immediate past president of the American Choral Directors Association R&S Standards Chair for MA.

A native of New Zealand, Jane has been a resident of Dorchester for over 25 years. She is married with 4 children, all of whom sing.

Partner 1:
Mr. Kimani Lumsden
Young Achievers Drumming Teacher
Young Achievers Pilot School
857-719-4581

Kimani Lumsden grew up in Kingston, Jamaica. He studied classical piano and the traditional drumming of Jamaica and the Caribbean at the Jamaica School of Music. He came to Boston and studied music education at University of Massachusetts, Boston. Being an avid student of the percussion and dance traditions of West Africa and the African diaspora led him to perform with groups including the Haitian drum and dance company, Fantezi Kreyol, the Art of Black Music and Dance, Silimbo African Dance Company, and Lamine Toure with Group Saloum. For the past seven years Kimani has been teaching music and traditional percussion at the Young Achievers Math and Science School in Mattapan. Kimani is also the founder and instructor of Boston City Singers’ World Rhythm Ensemble which performs in association with the organization’s Tour Choir.

Partner 2:
Ms. Virginia Chalmers
Principal
Young Achievers Pilot School
www.youngachieversschool.org

Virginia Chalmers has been principal of Young Achievers since 1997. The school has designed a curriculum that engages students in real-world problem solving and application of basic skills through active learning that is socially and culturally relevant. Young Achievers engages students in study and projects that strengthen the communities and environment where students live and go to school.  The school has a particular dedication to the arts, social justice, environmental education, and uses multidisciplinary learning activities for long-term projects that encompass interdisciplinary field-based experiences, bring experts into the classroom, and create hands-on experiential activities.

Partner 3:
Ms. Kerin O’Toole
Public Affairs Director
Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers
www.massleague.org

Partner 4:
Mr. Jack Forbush
Vice President for Community Affairs
Mount Washington Bank
www.mtwashingtonbank.com

Partner 5:
Mr. Richard Norris
Manager
Chez Vous

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