Give Kids an Early Start in Music
Dec30

Give Kids an Early Start in Music

Fort Wayne is a great place to get kids involved in music at an early age. We have everything from pre-school programs to college degrees that propel students from the very basics to becoming teachers in classrooms. Here are some of the options the Summit City has to offer! If you have a small child and want to get him or her involved in classical music, check out our Suzuki talent education programs. For violin, viola and cello, look into the Fort Wayne Suzuki Talent Education program, run by Bill and Janet Guy-Klickman. The Fort Wayne Suzuki program offers private lessons, group classes, music theory and orchestra courses for young ones starting around the age of three to five years old. Parents are an integral part of this education system, and they attend all lessons and classes, especially when the children are quite young. According to the Suzuki philosophy, the teacher teaches during the lesson and the parent coaches during the home practice sessions, creating a triangle of support between the child, the teacher and the parent. Don’t worry – parents do not have to be experts in music. Parents just need to be willing and dedicated to helping their child progress at his or her own pace through this ear-training system. Suzuki piano lessons are also offered by Mrs. Carol Hahn, who is based out of the Indiana University-Purdue University campus. Her studio, located within the Rhineheart Music Center, is open to young children and their parents. It’s a common sight to see a child and mother hurrying with music books in tow, up the stairs to Mrs. Hahn’s studio. For education in pop or electronic music trends, Sweetwater Sound has Sweetwater Academy of Music and Technology, where students can learn drums, vocals, guitar, songwriting, keyboard, and recording/DJ techniques. Just log on to the Sweetwater Academy page to scroll through the many different options that they have. Families are definitely welcome to come along, and if they have to wait for a lesson to begin, they can hang out in the ‘arcade’ where they can play pinball, tossing games, electronic golf, ping pong, pool – you name it. It’s free and kids and their (usually) dads like to compete. If you get hungry, there’s the Downbeat Diner, where you can purchase snacks and meals. Oh, and a really neat perk of taking lessons at Sweetwater is that student recitals and concerts take place in their state-of-the-art theater, which has a fantastic sound system and comfy, upholstered chairs. It’s like walking into a special room in Star Trek’s Enterprise – little lights and futuristic accoutrements are everywhere. Of course,...

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FWCS Magnet Schools Series: New Tech Academy
Dec18

FWCS Magnet Schools Series: New Tech Academy

As the second largest city in Indiana, Fort Wayne naturally has an abundance of schools to encompass the immense populations—especially since (as of 2013) children ages 0-17 made up 26.4%  of the population. Whatever level of school you’re looking for, Fort Wayne has plenty of options with over 90 elementary, intermediate, middle, and high schools combined. With a city this large, Fort Wayne has the opportunity to offer an educational advantage that many other cities can’t—magnet schools. What is a magnet school, you ask? Simply put: magnet schools offer specialized education in different areas that give its students a competitive advantage and prepare them for whatever it is they choose to pursue post-high school. Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) offers residents seven magnet school options. One of the newest and most unique options is the New Tech Academy. New Tech Academy focuses on incorporating STEM discipline into the curriculum—that’s science, technology, engineering, and math—under a project-based approach. I know what you’re thinking, we keep hearing about this “project-based” learning approach. I concede; it’s definitely become a buzzword. But here’s the thing… project-based learning works, especially from a multi-disciplinary approach. Students at New Tech don’t sit through classroom lectures. In fact, they never even sit in rows facing the front of the room. Students sit in cohorts of four or five most of the time, which is the average group number for their projects. Not only is New Tech applying a STEM based academic experience in a collaborative environment, but they are also providing students with another unique experience: an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to standard courses that they are traditionally required to take. Again, I know what you’re thinking… what does it all actually mean when put into practice? I had the pleasure of meeting with Jason Beer, a 9th/10th grade English teacher from New Tech Academy. To put these concepts into perspective, let me tell you a little about one of Jason’s classes. Jason co-teaches his 9th graders a collaborative class on English and Geography. You’re probably thinking exactly what I thought… How do you teach English AND Geography in one class? Projects are assigned to the students based on the content of the course, and the formation of the project is based on different standards that vary per English outcomes. The students are introduced to class through an online information management system (similar to that of Blackboard, if you’re familiar with that) detailing the schedule for the period. The teachers of these courses let the students self-direct the remaining 100 minutes of class while serving as resources, offering scheduled but voluntary workshops for any issues or questions they think may arise. Jason...

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FW Women’s Bureau- Saving lives through programs and education
Sep29

FW Women’s Bureau- Saving lives through programs and education

Since 1981, the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau has helped over 350,000 people in Northeast Indiana. Their mission is to ‘Advance women through advocacy, education and economic empowerment’. Led by the new (as of July 2013) Executive Director, Kathleen Alter, the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau achieves their mission through three different programs. Transitions is a residential program which has 24/7 supervision for women who are pregnant or have young children to help them maintain a life free from drugs and alcohol. Transitions is the only program in the area that has intensive inpatient substance abuse services and allows women to bring their children. In 2013 the program earned a 3-year accreditation (highest score possible) from CARF (Commission of Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities). REACT (Respond, Empower, Advocate, Collaborate, Treat) is there to help victims of rape and help to prevent rape through education and awareness. This program began in 1981 as the Rape Awareness Program. This program is the only one in the state that has a staff educator and education curriculum for people with disabilities. They offer individual and group therapy.  REACT staff are members of Mayor’s Commission Task Force on Sexual Assault, Indiana Sexual Primary Prevention Council, FWPD Victim Assistance Committee and others.   Dress for Success Fort Wayne is a new program for the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau as of May 2013.  As part of the global organization, it is the only affiliate in NE Indiana. The goal of this program is to not only provide professional attire for disadvantaged women, but to offer a network of support and career development. The Career Center (second phase) opened in February 2014 and offers assistance with resumes, cover letters, and job searches.   One of the biggest events to help sponsor the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau is ‘Walk a Mile In Her Shoes’ which took place this year on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at Headwaters Park West.  This walk not only helps raise funds but raises awareness to the very ugly topic of sexual assault and violence. One in six American women are victims of sexual assault which means someone you know and care about has likely been a victim.  Be sure to check out this local event. The next upcoming event is still quite some time away but will be so much fun and help with your holiday shopping.  It’s a shopping trip to Chicago on Thursday, December 11, 2014.  The cost is $50.  You will need to call the Women’s Bureau for more information.   You can always volunteer.  Dress for Success is looking for volunteers for any amount of time you can donate. They do require all volunteers...

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Hands-on education at Science Central
Aug28

Hands-on education at Science Central

Northeast Indiana is home to many great nonprofits that engage with the community at-large to address issues vital to making Fort Wayne a desirable place to live, work, learn, and play. We start off this week with one of Fort Wayne’s most visible institutions, Science Central, “a regional resource that provides inspiring and hands-on science education for people of all ages.” Background Although Science Central opened in 1995, its story as a nonprofit organization actually begins earlier than that. In 1987, community leaders came together to start working towards the goal of developing a hands-on science center for northeast Indiana. As the Science Collective of Northeast Indiana, the organization developed a presence in the community by developing off-site programming at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and with schools across the area. Innovative programming, community engagement, and outreach continue to play significant roles in Science Central’s operations as a nonprofit. The organization is currently in the first year of its new three-year strategic plan, which includes infrastructure improvements, plans for new permanent exhibits, and a possible goal to soon initiate a silent fundraising campaign to develop and install a new $1-1.5 million exhibit in a now undeveloped part of the building. The science of storytelling Two successful recent developments have enhanced the organization’s ability to share its mission. The organization’s new logo and marketing materials and the Science On a Sphere exhibit, which features a three dimensional research tool designed to educate visitors about earth and space systems have both received positive feedback from the community. Science Central plans to have two-to-four traveling exhibits per year with the next one being Marvelous Molecules: The Secret of Life, tentatively scheduled for September 20, 2014 – January 4, 2015. The exhibit will feature a series of stations, computer interactives, and hands-on models for visitors to learn about the similarities and differences among molecules of different species. In addition to this, Science Central continues to offer traveling labs, demonstrations, assemblies, and festivals at schools and other off site locations via The Outreach (Science4U) program. Getting involved As a nonprofit organization, funding for operations is an expected challenge. Eighty-five percent of similar science institutions receive annual public/government funds for general operations, but Science Central does not and relies on funds, grants, and the generosity of the community to fund its growth. If you or your organization are interested in getting involved with Science Central, there are numerous ways to do so through the organization’s ongoing membership, volunteering, sponsorship, community partnership, and fundraising opportunities. Individual and corporate memberships are available on their website. Basic individual membership provides numerous benefits such as free admission for two adults at the same address and any six...

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