SEL Awardee

Kirsten Belloni

Scenic Park Elementary
Anchorage School District
Anchorage, AK
“Percussion With A Purpose is a focused initiative to bring students together from all backgrounds (cultural, socioeconomic, gender) and ability levels with a focused music-based task. Within the structure of the percussion group each member is able to contribute a unique piece toward the groups overall success. We use xylophone, drums, and non-pitched instruments to create something unique, and to share with the community. The group is a demonstration of both unity and individuality. We problem solve, using the tools we have, to create and perform together; a harmony of souls and sounds in a world that otherwise tends to drive us toward dissonance. Grant funding would allow us to purchase more instruments, allowing for a less restrictive creative process and group expansion. We currently have only 14 working xylophones, being shared by 403 students. Of our 14 xylophones, over half are more than twenty years old, with cracked boxes and broken pegs. Students are using them because it's what we have but as a teacher it is somewhat disheartening to see their effort limited by a lack of good working tools. Creating music together is beneficial for students academically as well as socially. The process, and ultimate achievement, of the percussion group has the power to help students cope with stress, build relationships, gain confidence as individuals, and invites a sense of belonging. In short, the percussion group touches each part of the individual, bringing unity, a sense of pride, and satisfaction to the person, school, and community.”
Tags: Elementary School, Indigenous Communities, Teacher, Traditional Public School, Urban