The Peabody Institute received last week a $100,000 grant from the Texaco Foundation that will allow the school to expand its Music Teacher Mentoring Program. The program, established in 1998, is a collaborative effort between Peabody and the Baltimore City Public School System that provides direct services to enhance the skills of public school music teachers.
Already recognized as a national model, the Music Teacher Mentoring Program is one of only nine programs in the country to receive funding through Early Notes, an early childhood education initiative launched by the Texaco Company Foundation in partnership with the Eastman School of Music.
The program works by partnering a senior teacher from the Peabody Preparatory with public elementary school music teachers. The Peabody instructor works one-on-one with each teacher, conducting classroom observations and demonstration lessons that focus on lesson plan development, lesson content, classroom management, student assessment and current issues in music education. The program also hosts monthly workshops, led collaboratively by Peabody faculty and city public school teachers, where tips and techniques are exchanged and specific topics and issues can be explored.
A primary goal of the program is to foster a more interactive class environment, where teachers involve students in the performance and creation of music. A growing body of formal research and anecdotal evidence suggests that study in music and the arts has a significant effect on cognitive development, especially for young children.
The program currently has just one Peabody faculty member, Vicki Downer, who during the past academic year mentored 11 elementary school music teachers in 12 public schools. The grant, spread over a three-year period, will allow Peabody to hire immediately a second mentor so the program can reach out to an additional 20 public school teachers. As part of its three-year initiative, the Music Teacher Mentoring Program aims to provide one-on-one mentoring for up to 80 elementary school teachers.
MTMP also supports the Baltimore City Public School System's master plan objective to increase student achievement, which calls for a refined fine arts curriculum in the 2001-2002 school year. Currently, nearly one-third of Baltimore City elementary school students receive no art or music classes.
In addition to the Texaco Foundation's leadership gift, additional financial support for the program comes from the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, the Thomas Wilson Sanitarium for Children in Baltimore City, the Owen Family Foundation and the Abell Foundation.