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Board Meetings
Excellence in Education

October 21, 2008

Excellence in Education
Markdale Arts for Youth (MAFY)

In September 2007, Beavercrest Community School, with the support of Principal, Leigh Morris formed a partnership with Markdale Arts for Youth (MAFY).  MAFY was established to build connections between the students, local musicians, parents and community members through music. MAFY is led by community member, David Fries and Beavercrest music teacher, Bill Legate with the help of a number of community, parent and student volunteers.  Beavercrest Community School has developed this partnership in their efforts to improve student achievement.   Students are making meaningful connections in their community, developing their musical talents, channeling their creative energy, improving their self esteem and building a sense of responsibility and commitment to learning. This translates into academic success and the development of character traits and learning skills that will permit students to be successful life-long learners.

Ten adult local musicians and twelve local high school musicians were instructors last year. MAFY met weekly at Beavercrest Community School.  Teachers provided classroom space after school for the students to demonstrate their support of community partnerships.  The school custodians adjusted their cleaning schedules to make this happen. Eighty-nine local students were enrolled in the program last year, representing 70% of our students in Grades 5 through 8. There are increased numbers this year.
Members of the MAFY committee gathered donations from community members and local businesses. Donations were also collected at two Markdale Arts for Youth Community Concerts held last year at a local church, the only venue large enough to house the local audience.  The funds raised allowed every student to have free instruction and the use of a rental instrument of their choice for the year.  In return, the students were required to volunteer one hour in the community or at school for every hour of musical instruction they received.  

This year MAFY has expanded musical instruction to include vocal music.  Future plans include incorporating drama and dance.  MAFY will continue to build community connections by playing for local events and groups such as the Kinsmen and senior citizens.  MAFY students performed on October 18th  in Flesherton to help support local Health Care at the Annual Center Grey Family Fun Day.  Principal Morris has received inquiries from areas outside Grey/Bruce about the program due to its success.  The Markdale school community is living the belief that it takes a village to raise a child.

MAFY provides the opportunity for students and staff to demonstrate Bluewater District School Board’s Foundations for Learning and character attributes.  Beavercrest Community School’s EQAO results for 2007-2008 show significant improvement over the previous year. MAFY has demonstrated that when you combine excellent instruction with powerful community partnerships student achievement will be bravissimo.

Here today to provide insight into this unique program are:  Leigh Morris, principal, Beavercrest Community School; Bill Legate, Music teacher; community members, David Fries and Shirley McMeekin and students Justine Mayne and Elena Zago.


Submitted to:
Bluewater District School Board
October 21, 2008
For further information please contact
Leigh Morris, Principal, Beavercrest Community School or Alana Murray, Superintendent of Secondary Education

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