Aired Thursday May 27th, 2010 at 7:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
Pin-pointing the strengths and eliminating the weaknesses of her students is only part of Rebecca Ivory's job as Riverview Junior High School music teacher. She wants parents to be determined yet loving about expectations of their children and she sets 3 guidlines, a sort of "communication homework" for parents to follow.
"A greater level of responsibility, diminishing strain between parent and child, and a greater level of peace in the home are all waiting for those parents willing to do their homework!" claims Ivory, who winner of the 2010 Utah PTA Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Education. The awards ceremony, along with footage of Ivory at work in the classroom, airs on KUED-Channel 7 Thursday, May 27 at 7:00 p.m.
"She has an amazing level of patience to handle not only all the diverse personalities, but all grade levels as well. Since she's the only music teacher at Riverview, she has over five hundred different students and parents," says Riverview Jr. High PTA President Pam Kidd.
When one of her students was struggling both in and out of school, Ivory made private calls to his grandmother, who was raising him at the time, offering support and suggestions. Ivory informed his grandmother about the extra credit he could accomplish at home and the study guides she would compose and send home with him. The next week when the student turned in the extra credit, Ivory enthusiastically acknowledged his efforts and raised his grade, reassuring him that his efforts are important.
"I want to see my students succeed," says Ivory. "To me that means that my students leave my classroom knowing who they are, and have a glimpse of the incredible potential within themselves and the obligation to use that potential."
Ivory started Harmony for Humanity, a "pen-pal" program designed for students around the world to interact, exchanging letters, ideas and their music. The correspondence between her students and their foreign counter parts opened the doors of culture, most specifically, music, giving the students on both sides a much broader understanding of musical composition, variation and diversity. Since Harmony for Humanity's start, Ivory's students, and in-turn students around the world, have been inspired to produce, record and present their own music.
Soon after Harmony for Humanity was launched, Ivory's music students began correspondence with a school in Padang Indonesia, exchanging letters and music. Then, last November, as the students settled into their seats, Ivory informed them of the devastating earthquake that hit Padang, destroying the school. Ivory proposed a fundraiser to the students. The goal was to raise $10,000 to help rebuild the school in Indonesia. Donations from families and friends, local businesses and organizations began streaming in. Ivory's students learned how to organize silent auctions and put on benefit recitals and performances, like that of Thurl Bailey (actor, singer and former NBA player) who performed in the school auditorium. The goal of $10,000 was met.
"Because of this great effort to help others, I feel the students have learned that they can make a difference in the world, and by knowing this, it will help build their self-esteem and confidence in themselves," says Kidd. "Each of her students has learned a lesson that will go far beyond the classroom."
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