Education / 2013

Empowering students thru arts and education

Empowering students thru arts and education

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by MUSEK

​M.U.S.E.K will be used as a curriculum for our students.M.U.S.E.K, which stands for Motivating Underprivileged Students thru Empowerment and Knowledge is a program designed to support students, to help them go to college, particularly those from high needs population, to reach their fullest potential. It also serves to level the playing field for minority and low-income students, as well as students who may be the first in their families to potentially attend college. TheM.U.S.E.K program serves to support its students by teaching and reinforcing study and organizational skills, encouraging students to take more rigorous and challenging classes, providing college and career counseling; and ultimately preparing them for success at four-year colleges. M.U.S.E.K isnot a remedial education program; instead it is a college preparatory program designed to provide whatever support may be lacking for students who possess academic potential, but who may not be aware of the power that education holds. NEED STATEMENT In today’s society it is becoming increasingly important for people to successfully complete higher education to be successful in their careers. However, not all students are being provided the same opportunities in regards to their college preparation. Research has shown this, as McClafferty, Torres, and Mitchell (2000) state: “Urban schools tend to be larger, with fewer resources, and located in areas of higher poverty rates. The student populations in urban schools are also more likely to be comprised of people of color or of students who have difficulty speaking English. In addition, children in urban areas are more often exposed to conditions that endanger their health and well-being, such as limited access to medical care and increased exposure to violence and crime” (p.3). Therefore, it is more difficult for teachers in urban schools to prepare their students for college level courses and the rigor that they entail. Furthermore, when students in urban areas are not provided with the resources they need, they often do not meet the A to G requirements, the courses a student needs to have taken to apply for Universities. To take it a step further students sadly aren’t even thinking about college because they are unaware of its accessibility to them. This failure by teachers and staff to deliver this information to students coupled with a lack of resources is a major problem that students at urban schools face. As most of the students come from home environments that do not value education, many students are not enthusiastic about attending school, and often do not see value in doing school work. So, it is important for teachers to reach out and understand their students and the community which they come from. To do this teachers need to find out all the information they can about students backgrounds as well as getting involved in their lives outside of school and getting parents involved. If students are in a cohesive and safe educational environment which provides them with resources and knowledge of opportunities, students will be more likely to take them and hopefully feel more confident in themselves. Confidence will allow them to take risks and strive for higher goals, like going to college. The mission of this program is to address the unique needs of the educationally disadvantaged. We whole heartedly believe that every youth, if provided an opportunity at home and school, has the potential tosucceed. These opportunities include access to a quality education, counseling services to youth and the parents about higher education. MUSEK will serve those students’ grades 9 through 12 who come from one or more of the following high risks groups: Expelled or suspended from home district, Wards of the court or dependents of the court, Pregnant and/or parenting, Recovered Dropouts, Habitually truant or habitually insubordinate and disorderly whose attendance at the school is directed by a school attendance review board or probation officer, Retained more than once in kindergarten through grade eight.


What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

The program is fairly new and underfunded. However, all students who have been enrolled in the program for the 2012-2013 cycle- have been accepted to a 4 year university. These students come from diverse backgrounds. Some students were significantly performing academically below grade level, but were able to thrive while in the program. All of the students are first-generation college students, so to watch the students overcome personal obstacles to accomplish academic goals is rewarding.

This program has shown that it can help students improve their grades by empowering with tools that inspire critical thinking, focus, and organization. Implementing this curriculum has definitely motivated my students to pursue higher education. Not only are they thinking about college but they now understand the skills they must develop to get into college and to succeed in college.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Due to an on-going partnership with Soledad Enrichment Action Charter School, it will be relatively simpe to build a clientele base. The school lacks any programs that promote college education and/or encourages students to race to the top. The school has 17 separate locations totaling 1500 students.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

Evaluation of the M.U.S.E.K. program will occur through multiple methods. To evaluate the effectiveness of psycho-social education component a pre and post test will be administered to each participant before and after the program. This evaluative tool will measure learned content from topics discussed from objective 1. In addition to the pre and post test a journal writing prompt will be administer at the last session for participants to reflect about the process of their individual journey. The second method of evaluation will be for objective 2. Students will be given pre and post SAT diagnostic test to chart and assess progress throughout the duration of the program. The final method of evaluation will be for objective 3. Students will be given a pre and post survey assessing their specific interests in music. This will pose as a segue activity that assists students in developing initial ideas for their project. Students will be given pre and post assessments on their knowledge of fundamental music theory, music history and music production. Students will also be given an assessment every Friday to track their progress weekly.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

The main goal of the program is to prepare students for a post-secondary degree and ensure that they enroll and graduate from a higher institution of learning. This goal will be accomplished through intense academic preparation and promotion of empowerment. A supplemental goal of the program is to engage students in a project based learning environment centered on learning communities. Forming learning communities will help students develop interpersonal communication skills. It will afford students the ability to lead as well as work cooperatively in a productive manner with their peers. Project base learning breeds empowerment through ownership. Students are more likely to be engaged when their objectives are organic. The responsibility to ascertain knowledge is transferred from teacher to student placing the teacher in the role of mediator. This act in and of its self whether or notrecognized by the host is psychologically empowering. OBJECTIVE 1: CONCEPTUALIZE THE ROLE OF COLLEGE Demystifying higher learning and the negative perceptions associated with being an at risk student applying for college. An extensive foundational (preparation) curriculum has been designed to strengthen students’ preparedness and awareness about college. ACTIVITIES: learning modalitiies assessment; highly effective teen workshop OBJECTIVE 2: INDIVIDUALIZED ASSESSMENT PORTFOLIOS Focused instruction for SAT testing tailored to meet students’individual needs. Instructors use test proven material and address students’ learning styles. ACTIVITIES: SAT workshop including practice tests; Best Practices workshop OBJECTIVE 3: STRUCTURING CURRCIULUM THAT EMPOWER STUDENTS Program includes music service learning opportunities that promotes responsibility and empowers adolescents to impact their community. Participants will be given the opportunity to complete an original composition which demonstrates an application of the knowledge attained over the course of the program. The composition will be performed by the student. If students choose not to perform their project must be described extensively in narrative format using the language of music theory, music history, and music productionThe goal of the project is to inspire creativity and empower students. ACTIVITIES: Music lessons and recording/producing workshop. OUTCOMES: Students will be accepted to a four year university.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

The methodologies of this program will be adopted county wide. This will create a sense of familiarity within the curriculum that will be beneficial to teachers and students in that the students have a unified set of tools that they use on a daily basis. As I previously mentioned

there are many underperforming students throughout Los Angeles county and the prerequisites. The program needs to be available to a larger percentage of the students in order to be effective.This program has yielded improvements in student performance in the classroom while simultaneously motivating and preparing students for a future in higher education. It has also increased awareness of the opportunity for students go to college which will ultimately lead to students becoming eligible to attend college. A county wide employment of this program will not only create a sense of community, but a network for students to utilize in the future.