Program Evaluation

Kathryn said: Feb 4, 2016
Kathryn TomlinViolin, Viola
New York, NY
2 posts

Dear Teachers,

In preparation for developing a system of program evaluation for the Suzuki & El Sistema-inspired program in which I work, I am reaching out with a few questions. Your help is greatly appreciated!

How is the compensation rate related to how a program demonstrates the value it places in its teachers?

How does the teaching rate compare to the concert rate in your program?

How are informal performances integrated into the program?

What are the pros of working as a teacher and as an administrator in a program?

What are the drawbacks of working in teaching and administrative capacities in a program?

Is there a conflict of interest in having teachers take on administrative responsibilities?

Your experience and help are greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Kathryn

Many Thanks,
Kathryn Tomlin

Clara Hardie said: Feb 5, 2016
Clara Hardie
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Detroit, MI
21 posts

My program Detroit Youth Volume is also a Suzuki & El Sistema-inspired program—free to families from a local soup kitchen who commit to the program. We are extremely small with 3 paid teachers & 1 volunteer. For 25 weeks from October—May, we provide private lessons & group classes to 21 children each week. Our program is 2 days a week to fit in all the kids lessons and group classes. we have 2 pre-twinkle groups, 1 Lightly Row thru Allegro and 1 Allegro thru end of Book 1. This is our 5th year of existence. Last year was the first year we hired more teachers and started provided Private Lessons to the kids instead of “Semi-Private Lessons” with 2-4 children per lesson.

How is the compensation rate related to how a program demonstrates the value it places in its teachers?
I pay my teachers $20 per lesson and $50 for 45 minute group classes. this s competitive with what other orgs in Detroit pay teaching artists. someday i would love to give them a raise. i know another program in detroit that mays $75 per hour for teaching group classes in schools. we also have 1 teacher who volunteers to teacher 2 private lessons per week but he gets paid if he subs for another teacher.

How does the teaching rate compare to the concert rate in your program?
I don’t pay them for concerts ;-/ but i do pay them for a weekly hour-long staff meeting at $25 per week. Maybe this need to change if we can get more funding. What do you pay teachers for concerts?

How are informal performances integrated into the program? The only “formal performance” we have each year is the solo recital. All others could be called “informal” since they are community performances or play-ins during coupled with our seasonal potlucks. As Director with mission to expose kids to local artists who look like them and use music to build community, the students will have the chance to participate in an average of 1 community performance every other month. I invite the teachers, but since if they can’t make it, there are no consequences since I can’t pay them. Sometimes another teacher will ask about an extra performance opp and I’ll ask them to bottom line it as a volunteer.

What are the pros of working as a teacher and as an administrator in a program?
I tried this recently by hiring a teacher to bottom line a fundraising project. I wished I had made a more clear contract aka put into writing exactly what I expected, due dates and made sure the teacher had the materials needed to get the job done. I wasn’t thrilled with the results and had to take extra time to complete the project and decide how I would approach the teacher about the situation. The pros are that the teachers know the families and program so it’s possible they will do a better job with more passion. It seems my teachers are too busy to do extra work for our program since they need to have other jobs in light of the fact that our program only provides them with 7 private students and 1 group class each week.

One of my board members has volunteered to help me do reminder phone calls about transportation to the parents. That has been very helpful.

What are the drawbacks of working in teaching and administrative capacities in a program?
As the founder, I am working as Director and lead teacher of Detroit Youth Volume. Part of me just wants to teach but I’m concerned that nobody else could direct as effectively because they don’t know the families or their situations. Another problem is that I do not have the “working board” who meets monthly that a newer program like ours should. Instead, my board acts as a “governing board” and meets seasonally. I hope to change this soon.

My goal is to hire 2-3 administrative staff to help me. Otherwise, this program will crash and burn with me because I can not continue at this rate, let alone consider having a baby and attempting to raise my own family…

I’m teaching 7 students’ private lessons through Detroit Youth Volume, 15 private students outside of Detroit Youth Volume, and teachers 2 Group Classes per week to which non-DYV and DYV students attend. My teaching hours total 17 a week. On top of this, I am full-time directing the non-profit DYV which includes many things that regular Suzuki studio directors do not deal with such as coordinating transportation for 6+ DYV families, all fundraising, bookkeeping/ recording keeping/thanking donors, coordinating instrument donations and maintenance, performance outfits for the kids, afterschool snack program…

Is there a conflict of interest in having teachers take on administrative responsibilities?
Can you clarify what you mean by this? To ensure consistency, I have been taking a lot of this on as director and lead teacher. I will print out lesson note worksheets with review lists and practice tracker charts on the back. I created a binder for each student for parent’s lesson notes, calendars, articles etc. Sadly, sometimes I don’t think the teachers take advantage of the tools I have set up for them b/c they don’t feel ownership over it since I just did all the work. Creating these collaboratively would’ve been better although it would’ve taken more time.
Another example is keeping attendance records. It seems more efficient for me to note the attendance on my own than it is to gather info from each of the teachers. I tried both. I do ask them to call the parents when there is a no-call no-show. However, the parents don’t tend to let the teacher know what support is needed to improve attendance since the teacher are new and they have known me for many years. The same thing happens when I asked the teachers to give parents a calendar showing them how much they would’ve paid for the month if they were paying students and then asking for donations. I was able to get donations from parents while the teachers weren’t . It’s all about relationships.

Clara Hardie said: Feb 5, 2016
Clara Hardie
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Detroit, MI
21 posts

I also have question. What are other Suzuki/El Sistema-inspired program’s attendance polices?

Ours was a limit of 6 misses per 25 weeks. However, I am trying a new approach this week of putting families on an “Observation Period” of 2 months during which the student must show improvement in:
1. attendance
2. progress through the Suzuki songs
3 . a position point
4. optional choice to add a Beautiful Humanity goal

Teacher, Director, parents and student create a plan for success together by making measurable goals for improvement. If they don’t meet their goals, supposedly they will be replaced by someone on our 20-family waiting list.

Lately I’ve been feeling challenged philosophically and emotionally by my responsibility to uphold the integrity of our program but also to our mission of making Suzuki violin truly accessible to low-income children who otherwise would not have the chance to have their beautiful humanity & beautiful talent nurtured through this highly effective pedagogy…We are a very small program with only 21 students, and we are invested in our specific students. I hand-pick new students to join the program from the soup kitchen’s Peace Camp each summer. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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