Tuesday, April 6, 2021
This spring, students at MPS Brown Street Academy spent part of their school day chatting with musician Steve Van Zandt, best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Van Zandt shared details about the TeachRock program and answered questions from students.
The event was part of a TeachRock pilot program at Brown Street Academy and Kluge Elementary this year. The district will add TeachRock in more schools next year and eventually reach all MPS schools. Participation in the program allows MPS to access more than 200 lesson plans in the TeachRock curriculum. These lessons integrate arts throughout social studies, language arts, science, math, general music, and more. From The Beatles to Beyoncé, from early elementary to AP History, in the classroom or safely distanced—TeachRock offers engaging and meaningful material at no cost to teachers, students, and families.
The relationship began with a series of questions posed by district administrators to the Rock n’ Roll Forever Foundation, which created and sponsors TeachRock. After learning more about Milwaukee Public Schools, the organization took the step of adopting MPS into the program, which previously included schools in southern California, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York City.
Classroom activities use popular music to create engaging experiences for students and keep arts alive in schools. A lesson in English language arts, for example, includes an analysis of Bob Dylan’s song lyrics as poetry. A lesson focused on the Flint Michigan water crisis, which explores social studies and science concepts including the causes of the problem, incorporates the music of local artists Vic Mensa and Mari Copeny, who became advocates for solutions to the crisis.
In fall 2021, MPS plans to incorporate TeachRock into the Civics course at a number of district high schools. Civics is a requirement for graduation and is taken by all students.
MPS staff are looking forward to sharing new TeachRock experiences in their classrooms!