To promote the concept of teaching music and other arts as a means to enhance learning of academic subjects and improve overall performance of students in disadvantaged schools.
A generation ago, all elementary schools in the Bay Area included formal music education within their standard curricula, but massive budget cuts in 2006 and 2007 forced districts throughout the region to eliminate these programs. In wealthier neighborhoods, Parent Teacher Associations responded by funding in-school music education privately, but lower-income communities did not have this option and, as a result, the vast majority were left without any music education.
zSharp was founded in 2007 in response to this need, and remains the only Bay Area nonprofit that hires and trains full-time music teachers to embed in the 92% of Bay Area public elementary schools without PTA-provided in-school music education. For the first several years of its existence, zSharp partnered with a relatively small number of schools in Richmond, Oakland, and San Francisco. However, as the news of the program spread through the Bay Area, principals of other schools began reaching out to zSharp's leadership; as a result, zSharp has more than tripled the number of partner schools that it serves over the last three years.
zSharp will serve 6,885 children every week of the 2014-15 school year at 15 partner schools in Richmond, Oakland, and San Francisco, providing each partner school with a full-time music teacher leading interdisciplinary music classes during the school day that are completely integrated into the curriculum. In total, zSharp will provide 345,000 hours of music education in the 2014-15 school year.
zSharp addresses the educational imbalance created by budget cuts and brings the benefits of music education to a disadvantaged student population: of the students at zSharp's scholarship schools, 90% are considered low-income by the California Department of Education, and 85% are African-American or Latino. In the last year 19 additional schools with similar demographics proactively reached out to zSharp about becoming partner schools but could not be accommodated this year due to funding constraints.
Where We Work
What We Do
We prioritize open communication with all members of the school community. Faculty members and principals receive continuous guidance and development opportunities. We invite feedback from parents and continually assess the program's effectiveness through a strict evaluative process. We set high standards of excellence for our students and even higher standards for ourselves!