iTocar y Luchar!
Ed. I,  Vol. VI
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El Sistema Programs and El Sistema USA:  
keeping the lines of communication open!

     This year, a main focus for El Sistema USA is to promote greater, more regular, and clearer communication between the national organization and the field.  By doing this, the national organization is able to develop the resources and connections that will enhance the work already being done in the field by our talented and dedicated partners in accomplishing social change through music.  
     In order to promote this kind of exchange, we want to make you aware of a few opportunities:
     First, did you know we have a blog???  You can read contributions by your peers in the field, such as Paul Smith of Tune Up, Philly and Kim Stephens-Doll from Sistema Oceanside in California.  Our board also regularly shares what they've been up to.  We even get contributions from our community at large, such as Dr. Antonio Cuyler from Florida State University.  As this initiative is new, there is still plenty of room for you to get on board and have your voice heard!  We just need to gather some simple information in order to get you on the schedule!!  (PS - friends who are NOT associated with programs directly, there is a place for you on the schedule, too!)
     Secondly, it's that time of year... the Census is coming!!!  Our census summary has been published from last year and shows some promising information. The full report should be out before the end of the month. Your responses to the annual census are important beyond measure.  Did you know that the census information has been used by programs as means of securing funding?  By demonstrating the magnitude of our movement, as well as the exponential trajectory of growth over the past few years, funders, collaborators, donors, and other stakeholders will better understand the reason buy-in to El Sistema programs is a worthy investment.  When the link for the census comes around this summer, please be sure to respond - telling us about your part of the field is beneficial for us all!!
     Finally, as usual, we are here to answer your questions.  If you have questions, need to make a connection, or are looking for a way to plug in more fully, don't hesitate to contact us!!

Program Profile

B Sharp Youth Music Program
Fort Worth, Texas

Our profile this month focuses on a program from the Lone Star State!  Thank you to Jennifer Hay for sharing with the El Sistema USA community!

The B Sharp Youth Music program is a free, music education program founded by The Goff Family Foundation in August 2010.  B Sharp provides participating students the opportunity to receive music instruction, academic tutoring, and life skills training in one of our three different organizations.  We provide 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders with a music infused academic curriculum and instrument instruction time both during the school day as a partner with the Fort Worth Independent School District as one of the Gold Seal Programs of Choice.  
     Our B Sharp after school program is open to 2nd-6th graders and provides a meal every day along with music instruction, academic tutorials, and life skills training to all of our musicians.  Our B Sharp Youth Orchestra is audition based and open to any middle and high school student within the Fort Worth Independent School District.  
     The B Sharp Youth Music Program focuses on the following four main components in an effort to increase success and create social change for all musicians in our program:  musical success, academic achievement, positive behavior/social skills, and parent engagement.  

     The B Sharp Youth Music Program is mainly located at Como Elementary within the Como Community of Fort Worth.  Our B Sharp Program of Choice and B Sharp after school program take place on this campus.  Our B Sharp Youth Orchestra (BSYO) rehearses at Monnig Middle School.  Our program currently consists of over 150 students across our  three organizations.
     We are most proud of the fact that we focus not only on music education for our young students but on the child as a whole.  We focus on all facets of a child’s life from musical success to academic achievement and from relationships in their home life to their role in their community.  We put our efforts each day towards our B Sharp Youth Music vision of “Harmonizing Communities Through Music”.
     Our dream for the future is to continue with the solid foundation we have built in the Como Community. Our hopes are to “crack the code” at Como so that our efforts spill over into the entire campus and better the lives of all students, parents, guardians, and stakeholders. Our focus is on perfecting our recipe in order to continue to strengthen our program, but our hope is that we will have the opportunity to add another nucleo on a different FWISD campus in the near future.

     Our program is unique for multiple reasons.  A portion of our instructional time is focused on academic achievement.  The program as a whole made great strides academically this past school year.  According to the Fort Worth ISD department of Program Efficiency, Effectiveness & Sustainability, B Sharp students earn higher core average grades, receive fewer discipline referrals, and have a higher attendance rate over other Fort Worth ISD students.  The Program of Choice and B Sharp after school students have received extensive social skills training throughout this school year in an effort to arm our young musicians with the tools to become a positive contributing member of society.  Our new discipline management plan combined with our social skills training has shown an increase in positive behavior and a decrease in undesirable behavior.  We are thrilled to continue our social skills training in an effort to further our students’ knowledge of life skills.  
     Our B Sharp students are armed with skills such as following instructions, greeting others, making an apology, and accepting criticism.  Our focus on parent engagement also makes B Sharp unique.  We encourage parents to attend our performances, of course, but we also hold events such as B Sharp Parent Night and Parent University where we open up our doors to all B Sharp stakeholders to spark more interest in our program.  This sparked interest led to the creation of our two parent groups, Men ‘N Position and #sharpmoms. These two organizations meet regularly with our site coordinators to discuss how to help our students be more successful in school and at home and are open to all parents, family members, and caregivers.  Finally, we redistributed our leadership roles for our program which lead to the creation of our B Sharp Administration Team.  Each member of our team brings his/her own set of strengths to the table while focusing on what is best for our students.  Teamwork makes the dream work!

All Photos Credit:  B Sharp Youth Music Program

In this edition:

I.  Programs and ESUSA:  Keeping the lines of communication open!

II.  Program Profile:          
     B Sharp Youth Music

III.  Congratulations to El Sistema USA friend and collaborator, Eric Booth

IV.  Resources:  
      a.  Opportunities
           and Calls
      b.  Jobs!

V.  Board Spotlight:        
       Katie Wyatt


Your 2015
El Sistema USA Board of Directors


Stanford Thompson, Chair

Richard Mukamal, Vice Chair

Rey Ramirez, Treasurer

Aurelia Rocha, Clerk

Daniel Trahey

Mark Churchill

Joe Hamm

Albert Oppenheimer

Anna Pietraszko

Mark Sarich

Nick Skinner

Patrick Slevin

Kathryn Wyatt



Be sure to visit the Jobs page for more details about the following positions and many more:

Program Director and Lead Teaching Artist --  MusicWorks! / Gulf Coast Symphony -- Ft. Myers, Florida

Development Manager -- Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program -- Boston, Massachusetts

After School Coordinator -- San Jose Jazz -- San Jose, Califronia

Orchestra Director -- Soundscapes -- Newport News, Virginia

Beginning Strings Instructor - Greater Milwaukee El Sistema - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Opportunities and Calls

For more information on any of these opportunities, follow the links or visit our Facebook page.

(1)  THIS MONTH!!!!!  The Foundation for the Advancement of String Education
(FASE) is hosting 2 String Teacher certification options this summer. 

(2) The Longy School of Music in partnership with the LA Philharmonic are offering a 12 -month Master of Arts in Teaching, with an emphasis on music as an agent of social justice.  The scholarship deadline has passed, but general admission is open for application!

(3) North Park University Music Program is offering a Certificate  in Music for Social Change and Human Values.  Applications for Fall admissions are due by July 1.  For more information, contact Dr. Rebecca Ryan.
Congratulations to Eric Booth
Eric Booth, long time El Sistema advocate, publisher of "the Ensemble," and friend of El Sistema USA, was recently awarded The 2015 Annual Leadership Award by Americans for the Arts.  We are thrilled that his work has been recognized for its vitality and importance.  Congratulations, sir!

The entire press release and award description is available online.

Board Spotlight

Name:  Katie Wyatt
Board Position:  Board Member
Location:  Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

Katie is the founding Executive Director of KidzNotes.  Her pedigree reads like an El Sistema dream:  a BM in Viola Performance and BA in Political Science from indiana University; an MM in Viola Performance from Cleveland Institute of Music; a 2010 Abreu Fellow.  She was introduced to El Sistema when she toured Venezuela as a part of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas.

Growing up a navy kid, she traveled much in her youth.  She reports that if she were not engaged in the field of music and El Sistema, she would be a fighter pilot - maybe another leftover from that Navy upbringing?  It doesn't look like she'll be flying any missions anytime soon, as the access and excellence emphasis of El Sistema keep her engaged, as does her desire to be "part of the solution" as she was encouraged to do by Eduardo Mendez.

Perhaps the most unique thing Katie reports about herself is that she does not like chocolate (how is that possible?!?!?).  The most unique thing about her program, however, is its partnership with their local school district.  In fact, Katie is so proud of this attribute, she welcomes anyone contacting her to learn about the model!

Copyright © 2015 El Sistema USA, All rights reserved.

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