This year, GITC is receiving its first ever Operating Support grant from the City of San Diego. We are exceptionally grateful to the Commission for Arts and Culture and to all the volunteer grant panelists who gave GITC the highest possible score on our application for the current fiscal year. This grant is allowing us to provide better staffing in the office in ways that help our faculty members deliver instructional services in San Diego schools.
In addition to this profoundly helpful “OSP” grant, GITC also applied for specific CPPS grant support in districts where our work in schools in those neighborhoods need additional funding in order to meet the needs of the students. We have been blessed by receiving program dollars to help out in Districts 1, 3 and 4 this year.
What will happen as a result? Bird Rock Elementary kindergarten teacher, Lorraine Turner taught her first GITC Beginner class this fall at La Jolla Elementary, a school located far away from any programs we have held in the past. That program trained 26 early childhood and primary grade teachers to sing, strum, and write songs for early literacy and social emotional skills. Now Lorraine has big goals for 2020.
“I want to continue to bring music into classrooms because I think it’s so valuable. With arts programs being pushed out of many schools around the country, GITC is such a great way to bring music to children,” she explains.
Lorraine not only implements GITC in her own kindergarten classroom; this fall she will also spread the work by teaching other teachers the fundamentals of making and leading integrated music! Next, she will continue the work with a new group of teachers at Bird Rock Elementary. Each Monday afternoon, she will continue to guide new GITC beginner teachers through a vocal warm-up and basic ukulele chord instruction while introducing a new musical concept and putting it into practice. Then she will lead the teachers through collaborative group songwriting geared to reinforcing learning of mutually agreed-upon curricular content.
She describes GITC classes as taking place in a “no risk environment,” where everyone is welcome to learn, make mistakes, and grow together. “I explain that there is no pressure here and we are all learning,” Lorraine says. “I tell them that I am learning, too.”
Lorraine’s class is the first of its kind for La Jolla, an area that is new to GITC programming. The class was made possible through City funding. Council President Pro Tem and mayoral candidate, Barbary Bry in District One had this to say about GITC’s work:
“I’m proud our city supports Guitars in the Classroom after-school teacher trainings and family music time. Their work is crucial in helping to promote learning and to equip students with the skills and confidence needed to achieve long-term academic and emotional success.”
This thumbs up from District 1 is also making it possible for two highly engaged GITC classroom teachers and their students at La Jolla Elementary to learn with GITC teaching artist and jazz musician, Sharon DuBois, a lifelong musician who describes her style as “Evolutionary Jazz.” Sharon will co-teach and coach primary grade teachers Ms. Dyer and Ms. Rice with their students to deepen literacy and language learning through strumming, singing, and composing songs for learning using traditional Blues and folk music forms. These 10-week residencies will culminate in student informances, sharing their new knowledge, abilities and compositions with others.
“I’m excited to get started,” she explains. “Through GITC I received one of David Broza’s One Million Guitars, which means I get to play it for a year and then pass it on to a student who shows potential. I’m so excited about that! I’m also looking forward to incorporating some jazz into the GITC program, which is predominantly folk-based.”
Whatever 2020 has in store, it definitely includes growth, expansion, and a whole lot of strumming and singing in classrooms throughout San Diego! The best part? “The teachers are loving it,” says Lorraine Turner. “They know four chords so far and they are already songwriting! This is very quick learning for adults who are coming to music making at this time in their lives. I’m so impressed by their creativity. GITC really is something special.”