The start of the school year is exciting with all the possibilities even under the cloud of the constant negative press regarding the Philadelphia School District, the SRC, the funding from the state etc.
One opportunity that my 4th grader has gotten directly as a result of her attending J.S. Jenks is to attend the Philadelphia String Project at Temple University. The mission of the String Project, which is nation-wide program, is to train future string teachers (there is a nation-wide shortage of string teachers) and to nurture future string musicians. Alex had a unique opportunity to try out for the orchestra at Jenks in the 2nd grade which has opened up this world to her (thank you Jenks!)(a special thanks to Mr. Wesner, her strings instructor at Jenks). The classes for String Project are twice a week with 100 kids (yes much coordination goes on but it works well). They are grouped by year, 1st, 2nd and 3rd and practice within their year groupings. They also come together as a group to watch a performance of their lead teacher Ms. Parente (her enthusiasm is off the charts) and the interns (the Temple students) so that the kids can learn to be good audiences as well as musicians. So far the experience seems to be positive for all involved! Also I want to mention that this program along with the Community Music Scholars Program is coordinated by Melissa Douglas http://www.temple.edu/boyer/community/music-prep/programs.asp#CMSP
Information about the Strings Project:
Article about the Philly Strings Project:
Addendum: I am in no way a tiger mom. My thoughts are that they (kids) should want to do things because of interest, drive or enjoyment not from me pushing them. I try to not over schedule my kids and have failed miserably but the kids enjoy all that they do, we (the parents of our household) are the miserable ones dealing with a crazy schedule. Specifically in regards to the String Project, the 2 days a week seems like a lot for the kids but so far they are engaged and the 2 hours goes so quickly and seems to be fun for them.