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Friday, May 08, 2015

KC charter school builds brains with music, with help from national program

"Bennie Walsh knew the word he was trying to pull out of his head.
“It was like I was sitting right in a … um um ...”" reports Joe Robertson, The Kansas City Star.

Photo: The Kansas City Star

The 9-year-old third-grader was trying to describe what it was like to step into a small classroom for the first time to the startling sight of 25 piano keyboards in neat rows.
Sean Saunders knows the feeling.

Saunders is the third-year principal of the small Hope Leadership Academy charter school at 2800 E. Linwood Blvd.

He felt the same wonder in November 2013, on a tour of New Orleans schools, when he came upon a similar sight in one classroom.

What is this? He had to know.

Because in that moment, as a principal wanting to nurture a fine arts-based elementary school for children in some of Kansas City’s highest-poverty neighborhoods, he was imagining what it would mean to kids like Bennie.

“It was like I was sitting…” Bennie smiled as the word came to him.

“… in a symphony.”

What Saunders had stumbled upon in New Orleans was one of the more than 130 schools in the nation — most of them in New York City — that had won grants from the nonprofit Music and the Brain program.

Source: The Kansas City Star

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