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Oakland Unified School District’s Music-Integrated Learning Environment (MILE) Program offers professional development to participating music and classroom teachers, teaching them how to integrate music with other core academic subjects. This program is designed to ensure the survival of music education at a critical juncture for the Oakland Unified School District, as it is forced to cut millions from the budget. MILE will improve access for all students to a sequential music education. The goal is to ensure that all children in grades K-5 receive instruction in literacy, math, and social-emotional development through music.
MILE began in 2004 as a collaboration between five classroom teachers and five music teachers at Thornhill Elementary School. These teachers co-designed and co-taught music-integrated lessons in grades K-2 demonstrably improving student learning. Teachers implemented a comprehensive range of program rubrics and data collection tools to document student growth. Project outcomes included a final report on the efficacy of the MILE program on literacy in language and math, related program and professional development materials suitable for dissemination and replication.
Since then, leadership teams expanded MILE to all grade levels. Beginning fall 2010, in partnership with OUSD and the Music in Education National Consortium, MUST will offer the school-wide model to four OUSD high-poverty elementary schools.
In 2009, the United States Department of Education awarded OUSD’s Music Department a $1,200,000 grant to expand the MILE program to four elementary schools, for a total of ten at the end of the project. These schools include: Lafayette Elementary, ASCEND, Thornhill Elementary, and Cleveland Elementary.
Three years ago, the Oakland Unified School District embarked on a mission to reinvent our music program. MuST provided the necessary assistance to move our program from a model of instruction over 50 years old to the 21st century.
MuST has been providing high quality and innovative music education to Oakland Unified School District students, staff and parents. Music in Schools Today has made available much needed services: music residencies, in-service in music arts, as well as multi-cultural/interdisciplinary programs for students. Its Understanding Cultures program is particularly effective in teaching literacy through music.
Phil Rydeen, Program Manager
OUSD Visual and Performing Arts