NBC's 'SMASH' MAKE A MUSICAL, School #2: Independence Charter School, Philadelphia

NBC's 'SMASH' MAKE A MUSICAL, School #2: Independence Charter School, Philadelphia

Independence Charter School, Philadelphia, PA

January 20, 2012

Reporter: Cindy Ripley, iTheatrics Senior Education Associate, Resident Master Teacher

Day #2 of the NBC’s ‘SMASH’ MAKE A MUSICAL program and I am still digesting the paradox of yesterday's NYC School visit (see Tim's blog 1/19). In a school that is "coming back" after one of our nation’s most tragic events just 10 years ago, those NYC kids are hungry to show the world how they can work together and create as a team. Simply remarkable, my friends.

Marty, Steven and I traveled to the City of Brotherly Love and landed bright and early on the doorstep of Independence Charter School in Philadelphia, PA. The minute you walk through the door it is a feast for the eyes – bursting with brightly colored walls, projects everywhere and kids speaking a variety of languages. The staff is as unique as the building itself. Proud to be a Spanish Immersion school, these teachers work hard to meet their kids’ needs in all ways and in two languages. After being involved in public school education for 40 years, I thought I had heard all possible unique facts about schools in this country, but learning that this school includes students from 46 different zip codes, beats them all!

The three staff team members selected for this project jumped in with both feet and absorbed all the tools we offered to help them launch their first musical and create a life changing experience with their kids. We played and shared and it was soon obvious that these kids were thirsty for the joy, collaboration and process of what making a musical can do.

One of the most outstanding personalities of the day? José the custodian of Independence Charter School. He is there for the kids 110% and ready to be involved anyway he can with this new experience! Jose reminded me of a custodian I worked with who changed my life as well as every student he came in contact with.

The magnitude and scope of makeamusical.org is just beginning to hit me. Goodnight Philly. Next week? Hello Nashville! I will miss my colleague Marty as he changes time zones and altitude and heads to Denver.

NBC’s ‘SMASH’ MAKE A MUSICAL program is administered by iTheatrics under the supervision of Timothy Allen McDonald.  For more information, or to apply to become a part of the program, logon to www.MAKEAMUSICAL.ORG.