On June 20th, the Osborn School District voted to partner with SOUNDS Academy and host us at their Osborn Middle School campus! This partnership started with a discussion between Kirk Johnson (SOUNDS Academy Founder & CEO) and Michael Roberts (Superintendent of the Osborn School District). Kirk and Michael first met each other through REAP (Real Engagement through Active Philanthropy), an organization that helps to provide Black men with a mechanism for community investment through active philanthropy.
This partnership will allow SOUNDS Academy to continue their impact on providing music education opportunities to children from underserved neighborhoods and give children attending Osborn schools the opportunity to participate in character development and music education programs.
Located in the heart of Phoenix, Osborn Elementary School District is a public school system serving more than 2,800 students. Founded in 1879, Osborn has become one of the most trusted School Districts in Arizona as it serves families from all across Maricopa County. Osborn has four elementary schools, one middle school, one community school, and most recently, an online school called Osborn iSchool. Osborn has cultivated and pride themselves in their excellent faculty, staff, and administrative members. Recently, Osborn School District has been Nationally recognized as one of the highest in the nation to grow students academically, Nationally recognized for school safety, and consistently receives A++ School of Excellence awards from the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF). Osborn School District is a leader in developing resources and policies that enhance and support student success, with an emphasis on mental and emotional health, cultural awareness, safety protocols that make Osborn an excellent environment for learning.
SOUNDS Academy is a non-profit music education organization that teaches, mentors, and provides musical experiences and opportunities for underserved youth. Students receive individual lessons and group classes on all instruments and voice. Instruments are provided to those who cannot afford one. SOUNDS Academy students learn the character values of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork through music education. They teach these values in their Musical Access Program, which connects students to live music and instruments through their Instrument Petting Zoos, their School Programs for lower income schools and community centers, their SOLO Program, which provides one-on-one instruction, and The Collective Ensembles that teach music theory and ensemble playing techniques.
“This is an exciting opportunity to further connect with and impact the community. Our team has been working really hard to prepare everything for the upcoming school year.” says Kirk. “Partnering with the Osborn School District gives us the opportunity to continue our impact while impacting even more students that have the desire to learn how to play an instrument.”
In speaking with Carol Hayes (Osborn Middle School Principal), she stated that “we are thrilled to have SOUNDS Academy as a partner while we begin the 2023-24 school year. SOUNDS Academy does such important work in communities and takes great pride in providing students with musical experiences, no matter their background. We look forward to the positive impact they will have on our students and how they can support the continued growth of our strong music programs within our school.”
Justin Worlock (SOUNDS Academy Administrative Assistants) says that “we are immensely grateful for the dedicated facilities and administrative staff who contribute to this success. Our programming flexibility has soared, allowing us to offer a wide range of lessons to our students.” He goes on to say that “[With this location] situated in the heart of Central Phoenix, the location of Osborn Middle School offers us unparalleled access to our diverse student demographics. We are thrilled to be able to engage with our community more effectively.”
SOUNDS Academy extends our deepest appreciation to our volunteers, whose invaluable assistance made the process of packing and unpacking our vast collection of instruments and office supplies a seamless endeavor. The unwavering support from our teachers has also played a pivotal role in our successful transition. Notably, we would like to acknowledge the exceptional efforts of Thomas Lynch. His individual initiative was key in setting up two impressive drum sets in our new Band Room, elevating its aesthetic appeal. We are immensely grateful for his dedication and craftsmanship.
SOUNDS Academy believes that the zip code of a child should not dictate their access to music education. We are rooted in spreading music education opportunities across the valley. We are always looking to partner with great school districts to provide instruments, classes, and lessons for children.