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School of Music and The Johnny Mercer Foundation join forces to enhance music education in Miami-Dade County


 FIU's School of Music students

FIU has come together with The Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) to enrich music education in Miami-Dade County schools by developing innovative educational opportunities, delivering high-quality instructional materials, and providing professional development opportunities for music and language arts teachers.

As part of the partnership, FIU students who are pursuing a master’s in music education will have the opportunity to apply for one of four scholarships for a total of $20,000 provided through The Johnny Mercer Music Education Fellows program each year. The scholarship recipients will be charged with helping to identify professional opportunities for local music and language arts teachers, and help them to cultivate additional educational opportunities for their students.

“This strategic partnership with The Johnny Mercer Foundation enables us to significantly enhance our student teaching opportunities in the Miami-Dade County schools,” said Brian Schriner, dean of FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts. “Our students will have the chance to combine their passion for music with their FIU education to engage and improve their community by helping to grow a love of music in local children.”

JMF’s “Accentuate the Positive,” a student activity guide that explains how a song is born, how music and lyrics go hand-in-hand in creating a story and how these songs reflect culture, passions and ideals, is currently being used by the following Miami-Dade County public schools: Joella C. Good Elementary; E.C. Stirrup Elementary; South Miami, K-8; Christina M. Eve Elementary; and Mater Academy Elementary.

“The Johnny Mercer Foundation offers students valuable opportunities to explore music and the arts. Miami-Dade County Public Schools has been a vocal advocate and strong supporter of arts education through extremely difficult financial times,” said Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools. “This new partnership venture with FIU makes perfect sense and will benefit our students immeasurably.”

The five schools adopted the program within three months of learning about it. As part of FIU’s work with JMF, the School of Music plans to engage additional local teachers and promote the use of “Accentuate the Positive” in more schools in South Florida.

“The impact of our partnership will be far reaching, linking music to literacy development, aiding students’ artistic growth and enriching second language acquisition,” said Dianne Thurman, education chair and member of The Johnny Mercer Foundation’s Board of Directors.

For more information on FIU’s School of Music, click here. To learn more about The Johnny Mercer Foundation, click here.