NAfME Eastern Division Conference, part 1

Wow! I’m so grateful I decided to travel across the country to attend the regional NAfME Eastern Division Conference this past weekend. I presented my proposal during the poster session, attended some very educational seminars, saw some amazing student performers, and most importantly, received feedback on my study focus.

So, here’s a brief summary of the workshops I attended:

Unlocking Musical Potential: Harnessing the power of Federal Resources. Richard Tilley, who is the assistant professor of music education at Nazareth College School of Music, introduced me to the various areas of federal funding that could be used for music education – specifically Title I, II, IV, and VI of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Title I is for the poorest schools, and funding could be used to support music, reading, and math. Also, it could be used for improving basic programs. Title II is for professional development for the training and retaining of educators. It also talks about students with exceptionalities and experiential learning. (Did you know that middle school is considered experiential learning? Consider all the variations of “middle school”: Some start at 5th grade, 6th grade, or 7th grade; and some include 9th grade. I suppose one day they’ll figure out the best plan!) Title IV speaks to the individuals with disabilities in education act. Funding is available to actively support educational opportunities as well as enrichment and social emotional learning. Finally, Title VI provides funding for specific minority groups – Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska natives. Certainly funding could be used for music education, but the school would have to demonstrate the need for these specific populations. I would be happy to research more into funding for you and connect you with some great grant writing opportunities.

Poster Presentation – one of the primary reasons for attending this conference was my first poster presentation. I laid out my proposal of studying the correlation between sensorimotor synchronization and phonological awareness in dyslexic students. Many people stopped by, and a lot of the music teachers I spoke with didn’t know that dyslexic students couldn’t keep a beat. I received excellent feedback from everyone I met as well as direction for contacts who could further my understanding in this area.

Bridging the Gap: Connecting Policy with Music Education – This seminar was also led by Richard Tilley. He talked about what it means to have a well-rounded education, and in fact, music is listed as a separate entity within the list of courses required for a well-rounded education. Being aware of this primary point could be the opening argument for maintaining or starting a music education program at your school.

Advocacy Strategies for the Educator Advocate – Yes! This was the seminar for me! Lori Orestano-James and Jazzmone Sutton were the leaders for this class. I had met Jazzmone at NAfME’s Northwest Conference, and she remembered me. In addition to talking about the Every Student Succeeds policies, they emphasized joining committees such as curriculum development and attending the Individual Education Plans meetings for disabled students. For me, as I’m not a teacher, my in-route will be attending school board meetings, and the first one I’m attending is this week!

Continue to part 2!

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