All the right notes

Washougal Schools Foundation, Booster Club donate funds for new instruments

Children at Hathaway Elementary School performed a concert for their parents at the Washburn Performing Arts Center recently, under the direction of Hathaway music teacher Amy Switzer. The instruments were purchased through a grant from the Washougal Schools Foundation and the Hathaway Boosters.

Students at Hathaway Elementary School are reaping the benefits after their teacher secured grants to purchase nearly $4,000 worth of xylophones, metallophones, and other mallet instruments.Amy Switzer applied and received a $1,000 Creative Classroom Grant from the Washougal Schools Foundation, and more than $3,000 from the school’s Booster Club.

“It is awesome to work in a district that supports its music programs,” she said.

After practicing on the new instruments, students were able to show off their new skills during a parent concert at the Washburn Performing Arts Center at Washougal High School.

“I’ve worked in other districts where a group like the Washougal Schools Foundation provided funding for special projects, so I started there,” said Switzer. “The funding was extremely easy to apply for and my students are really benefitting from the investment.”

In her application for the grant, Switzer said she teaches in the Orff style, where all students are simultaneously actively engaged almost 100 percent of the time though songs, chants, raps, children’s literature, poetry, movements, speech ostinatos, and transferring body percussion to instrument playing.

She added that learning to play an instrument is beneficial outside the music room.

“Firsthand I have witnessed students becoming more than music participants, but gaining a true understanding of music literacy, as well as making connections to other core subject areas through instrument playing.”

The Washougal Schools Foundation offers Creative Classroom Grants in the fall and spring for projects up to $1,000 to teachers, staff, students or community members. Mini-grants are offered throughout the year as well, providing up to $200 to teachers for materials and programs.