hen Adria Smith arrived at MCCPS sevenyears ago to be the music teacher, all she hadwas a piano. There were few music supplies orinstruments, which was lucky since there was nomusic room to put them in. Undaunted, Ms. Smithgot a grant for a new drum set, and the music pro-gram has been thriving ever since.Thanks to her boundless energy and infectiousenthusiasm, the school now has a music room, andMs. Smith has a different problem: where to put allthe music supplies. “Music is so enjoyable,” she said.“I love sharing that with the students.” With a degree in jazz arranging and compositionfrom the Berklee College of Music, Ms. Smith (whoearned four music credits at the University of Madison, Wisconsin while a student at West HighSchool) also performs in a band called the JazzNavigators, and her compositions have been playedby greats such as James Brown’s drummer, ClydeStubblefield.Ms. Smith understands that each student connectswith music differently. “Some students are more com-fortable singing, others playing instruments, and stillothers in composition. I want to be sure there’s some-thing there for everyone,” she explains.
ASymphony of Choice
Music at MCCPS is fun and elaborate. Every gradehas music twice a week, for 45 minutes. Each studentlearns how to sing, play keyboard, compose, analyzeand read music—and is graded in each of the cate-gories. There is a full keyboard lab where studentsmay practice at their own level. During enrichmentperiod, there are often other courses offered such asstrings, choir,band, jazz music, MCCPS IDOL, musi-cals and more. At the end of grade 4, each child has the option tolearnaband instrument (flute, clarinet, oboe, saxo-phone, trumpet, trombone or drums). The MCCPSband is very popular, with 60 students meeting onTuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30-8:15am to prac-tice. The band performs many times each year, atexhibitions and a year-end band competition, andhas won awards for excellence.The music program is integrated with other cur-riculum areas, with fourth graders learning songs inFrench and Spanish, for example, and sixth graderscreating compositions to accompany their poetryprojects. Looking forward, Ms. Smith is excited toexpand the singing program at all grades. “We’ve got-ten in a lot moreactual chorus material this year,newscores that we can work on at all grades.” As if there isn’t enough to do, at the top of Smith’swish list is to take on another musical. “Last year,wegot funding to put on the musical
Into the Woods
,which was an incredibly involved but rewardingexperience,” she says. “I’d love to raise enough moneyto do another show – perhaps
WHAT’S NEW(S) AT MCCPS — NOVEMBER 2009
Adria Smith:Hitting the High Notes
students will likely be placed in Geometry Honors asfreshmen.One of my greatest joys as an instructional leader isthe opportunity to effectuate change that improves achild’s educational experience. This is not an easy task,but is a worthy endeavor and deserving of the time andeffort it requires. Elaine McEwan, in her book,
10 Traitsof Highly Effective Principals
,states that: “Sometimes pro-grams must be tailored to meet the needs of smallgroups of students. Highly effective principals have thecourage it often takes to step out and meet those needs.” At MCCPS, we have always chosen to do what webelieve is in the best interest of the children; addressingthe needs of the struggling and the gifted students withinour school is certainly in their best interest. The efficacyof this initiative will be monitored closely, and it is ourhope that these steps will result in even greater levels of academic achievement.
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The school year is offtoagreatstartand it’sbeen terrific to getto know all the new namesand faces here atMCCPS.Thanksto the following folks who havealready stepped up this year:•Jim Nye,Presidentof National Grand Bank,Marblehead,for the donation to the gener-alPTO fund.We greatly appreciate yoursupportand will use the money wisely (tosupportenrichmentweek activities).•Susan Conlin,who has stepped forth to bePTO secretary for the year.•Kristen Settelmeyer,who recently steppeddown as PTO secretary.Kristen,thanks forall of your hard work!•Holly Sullivan,who has stepped forth toassistour Treasurer,Avery Russell.Thanksto you both for keeping the accounts!•Paula Gold,a parentnew to the schoolwho dove head firstinto the waters andorganized field dayduring School SpiritWeek.She did fabulous job! Thanks toeveryone who helped.•Franny Poisson,who has graciouslystepped up to expand our GiftBookProgram.The PTO will be sponsoring a CommunityService Day as partof the "Giving ThanksWeek" thatwill follow 1stExhibition.Thisafternoon of projects was well-receivedby students,parents,teachers,and thecommunity lastyear,and we are lookingforward to positively impacting as manypeople as possible this year.If you'd liketo help with this or any other PTO project,please contactKathy Cormier atKMCormier@aol.com.We look forward to another greatyear hereatMCCPS!