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Two WSD teachers nab Maps grants that will fortify their respective music and Latinex studies programs

COURTESY PHOTO - Teachers Fatima Chacon Martinez of Woodburn High School and Jason Rodgers of Valor Middle School received Maps grants with which they can fortify classes they teach.Two Woodburn School District teachers were among the recipients of Maps Community Foundation grants issued in 2021.

The foundation, which operates through Maps Credit Union, had no shortage of interest in its Teacher Grant Program this past year.

"We received a record number of applications this year and have selected 31 incredible local teachers to receive funding for their innovative education projects that we know will make a difference for students and their schools," the foundation website noted.

Awardees in the Woodburn School District were:

Jason Rodgers of Valor Middle School will purchase keyboards and microphones for his Music Technology class that features a web-based recording studio where students can create and record songs and podcasts. In addition, Fatima Chacon Martinez of Woodburn High School will provide field trips and other opportunities for her students to experience the arts through her Latinx Studies class that explores and celebrates Latinx experiences, culture, literature, and history.

A total of $25,000 of individual grants ranging between $350 and $1,000 were awarded. Both WSD awardees received $1,000 grants.

Rodgers said he was delighted with what the funding would provide.COURTESY PHOTO: JASON RODGERS - With his Maps grant award, Jason Rodgers of Valor Middle School purchase keyboards and microphones for his Music Technology class that features a web-based recording studio where stdudents can create and record songs and podcasts.

"Last year, I was not able to teach band and choir as I normally do. Our schedule was mixed up. It wasn't a good idea for kids to be tooting horns while brothers and sisters tried to focus on their classes — or bothering neighbors who were likely home, as well — and performance ensemble classes through Zoom do not generally work well," Rodgers noted in an email. "So, I decided to shift our curriculum to something that was more appropriate for the medium in which we found ourselves.

That is where the idea of engaging in digital music production emerged. It was a novel approach, and it afforded some benefits from the onset.

"Yes, it was different, but I found that it engaged students in new ways that gave them more freedom to choose and create their own music," Rodgers said. "Many came away with a newfound knowledge, interest, and appreciation for the process of recording and arranging music, just like their favorite artists do. Many said they would consider participating in such a class if it was offered as an elective when we went back to school full time, and so Music Technology was added to our schedule this year."

Music Technology will usher the Valor program into the modern digital age. Rodgers explained that it would delve into music production, and students will learn about the ever-expanding world of podcast production.

"Students are learning to use a web-based Digital Audio Workstation called Soundtrap," Rodgers said, describing it as a digital recording studio on your computer. "Soundtrap has an integrated virtual piano that can be played on the QWERTY keyboard, and does a surprisingly good job recording audio with the simple microphone on students' Chromebooks."

He added that the amendments are limited to all but the most basic needs.

"The $1,000 grant from Maps will be used to purchase a small set of accessory USB mini-piano keyboards and microphones for students to stretch their fingers and expand their recording possibilities," Rodgers said.

Maps Community Foundation is currently in the process of taking applications for 2022 scholarship awards through March 31, noting that it "awards scholarships each year to local students based on academic achievement, participation in extracurricular activities, demonstrated leadership and accomplishments, career objectives, financial need, and responses to application questions."


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