Episode 77: Sonido Musica in Harmony

Eileen McCaffery, Executive Director of Community Music School of Springfield, and Julie Jaron, Director of Visual and Performing Arts for the Springfield Public Schools, discuss their work over five years on the Sonido Musica program, a partnership that aims to reduce Springfield’s high school drop-out rate through student engagement, leadership, and performance opportunities. What started with three public schools and 60 students has grown to 18 schools and nearly 1,000 student musicians! Now nearby Holyoke wants to replicate this model. Their goal was not to have the Community Music School replace music education in the public schools, but rather to help principals and administrators see the power of the arts working every day in their school.

Eileen McCaffery (l) and Julie Jaron (r)

Eileen McCaffery has served as Executive Director of Community Music School of Springfield since 2012, having been a CMSS Board member for 6 years prior and serving as Board President for 2 years. Ms. McCaffery received her BA from University of New Hampshire, graduating magna cum laude.

She was a leader in global marketing and a partner in San Francisco-based financial management firm Montgomery Asset Management. Under Ms. McCaffery’s leadership as Executive Director, CMSS has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the Yale University Distinguished Music Educator award, the New England Public Radio Outstanding Arts Organization in the Pioneer Valley award, and the Massachusetts Association of School Committees’ Outstanding School Partner award. Eileen is currently a finalist for the 2019 Mass Cultural Council Commonwealth Awards.

Julie Jaron, B.M.E., M.M.E., C.A.G.S. is the Director of Visual and Performing Arts for the Springfield Public Schools in Springfield, Massachusetts. For over 25 years Ms. Jaron has dedicated herself to a full spectrum of music and arts programming that enhances the academic achievements of students Pre-K – 12. Among her many current duties as fine arts director, she provides professional support to arts teachers, advocates for and manages resources for arts programming, serves as an arts-focused liaison between the school district and the Springfield community, fosters the implementation of high-quality curricula benefitting students’ arts education, and facilitates professional development that enhances or develops arts instruction, curricula and assessment. At the core of all her work is the desire to inspire and create arts education opportunities, and to empower educators to instill in children the love of learning both in and through the arts.

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