Long Beach Unified School District music teacher Valerie Vinnard recently earned a top award from the California Music Educators Association.
“We were impressed with your excellence as a music educator and your service to our profession,” the CMEA award notification letter stated.
Vinnard will be recognized at a Feb. 21 conference in Fresno.
“I am so proud that I will be able to represent our district and its continued support of elementary music when I attend the gala and conference in February,” Vinnard said.
Vinnard has taught K-5 general music in LBUSD schools since 1999. Last year she published an article on the use of classroom drum circles. “The Classroom Drum Circle Project: Creating Innovative Differentiation in Music Education,” appeared in Delta Kappa Gamma International's Collegial Exchange Magazine. DKG promotes professional growth of women educators and excellence in education.
Vinnard and her fellow music teachers have been using grants from the Rumba Foundation of Long Beach since fall 2017 to introduce drum circles to students in their classrooms. Vinnard reports that participating students are showing academic gains and improved wellbeing.
“Teachers and administrators have noticed a positive shift in some key students,” Vinnard writes in the professional publication. “A documented increase in student achievement scores has also been noted at several of the sites in which the program has been implemented,” including increased percentages of students meeting or exceeding state standards in English and math.