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Stuart Hall School

Mission: The Stuart Hall School (SHS) mission is to prepare students for success in universities worldwide and engaged lives of intellectual curiosity, creativity, and contribution.

Community Need: Increased achievement, higher reading and math scores, classroom focus and attention span, and classroom behavior are all documented as positively correlated with music.  Behavioral and mental health benefits are also documented. Studies have revealed that students who participate in the arts are often more cooperative with teachers and peers, have more self-confidence, and are better able to express themselves.  With the continual tightening of school budgets and the family costs associated with music education, the at-risk student population is unable to access this life changing opportunity.  According to the Boys & Girls Club, one component of their mission is to provide young people with positive outlets for creative self-expression. Many of the Club members in Staunton have a real interest in the performing arts, especially music, but do not have access to instruments and lessons.

Primary Activities: The Music Academy addresses each of the School’s pillars (curiosity, creativity, and contribution) through private and group music instruction. Instruction is tailored to the needs of each student by assessing ability, establishing goals, setting benchmarks, and tracking growth. Weekly measurements of progress help students understand where they are and how they have grown. This method is paired with instruction from expert teachers who have performed and taught for years.

Constituents Served: SHS enrolls day students (71%) within a one hour radius of Staunton. Domestic and international boarding students come from Virginia, 10 states, and 15 countries (29%).  Enrollment for the 17-18 school year is 300 with a nearly 50:50 female/male students.  More than 40% of Stuart Hall students receive financial assistance. The Music Academy is open to anyone of any age in Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta. Currently, 29 students are school-aged youth who are playing or singing in ensembles during school and preparing for music as a part of their future college experience.

Program Details: Music at the Club will provide no-cost weekly focused small group music lessons at the Boys & Girls Club in Staunton.  Individualized attention will be provided to a student population lacking access to music education Two recital performances will provide opportunities for participants to showcase their skills. Music at the Club will partner with the Booker T. Washington Alumni Association and Stonewall Jackson Brigade Band for use of needed instruments and SHS will oversee the logistics, evaluation, grant fiscal management, and intern/mentor training. Music Academy teachers will provide instruction during the first semester. The second semester will expand to include SH Upper School music student interns/mentors working under the professional teachers.  SHS music faculty will train these intern/mentors, coach them for success, create performance measures and evaluate their performance.

Tuition revenues offset the school’s personnel expenses. Other revenue streams provide current program and facility expenses. With capital improvements in process, funds to create Music at the Club must be secured through outside sources. SHS will commit $500 of the budget to train music student mentors.

Amount Requested: $2,500

Operating Budget: $6,179,281

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