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Stand with us

"To be able to see first-hand the difference that music has made for our students and their families has been one of the most significant highlights of my career."

- Lisa Parrello (Principal, St Marys North Public School)

On behalf of the St Marys North Public School community I wish to extend our sincerest thanks for your continued support of the ACO Foundations Program at our school.

Since the program’s early beginnings in 2018, which saw a pilot group of 25 students offered the opportunity to learn to play the violin or cello, our music program has grown immensely with close to 120 students now participating. We currently have our entire Year 1 and 2 cohorts engaging in daily music lessons, along with the original group of Year 4 students. In 2022, we will add a further cohort to this group which will see 175 students involved directly with the ACO Foundations Program.

We have continued to see amazing results with a direct correlation to the music program. Our students have shown gains in their working memory and ability to self-regulate, which has led to improvement across their literacy and numeracy skill development.  Perhaps the most profound difference that the music program continues to have is the increase in attendance at school, with the students involved in the program having, on average, a 94% attendance rate. Compared to the other students across the remaining grades, whose attendance rates sit between 86 – 89.5%, they are engaged in learning opportunities more often due to simply being at school.

This term, our little musicians were invited by the ACO to visit the Opera House to watch their performance of Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. The children were simply amazed to see their very own string teacher, Miss Beth, on stage! This was an experience they will never forget.

I recently spoke about the ACO Foundations Program at a conference for educators detailing the positive effects music has for children from trauma backgrounds. To be able to see first-hand the difference that music has made for our students and their families has been one of the most significant highlights of my career.  Earlier this term we held a performance that enabled our community to visit and watch their children perform. For one student, this was the first time that both his mum and dad attended school to watch him perform. At the end of the performance he was so excited that tears ran down his face. His parents had never taken time off work to come to school to share in his learning as they depend on their income to support their family. Music brought this family together to celebrate and it could not have been more beautiful. 

Our students should not be defined by events in their life, their postcode or their circumstances. We strive to build a world inside our gates that is filled with the belief that our students can achieve, they are important, they have options. A rich music education through ACO Foundations not only improves learning outcomes, it allows our children to dream of a future filled with endless possibilities.

Lisa Parrello
Principal, St Marys North Public School