Progressions is an intensive youth development program that is all about changing lives by helping low-income, at-risk youth in our community identify, cultivate and celebrate their gifts through music education and performance.
An evidence-based program, Progressions uses music to connect with students, challenge them with a rigorous music education, help them build a pro-social community, and stay with them until they graduate from high school. The program’s mission is to help keep participants in school, out of gangs, and on the road to becoming better students and contributing citizens. This year alone, we will reach almost 1,000 students.
Today, Progressions offers music education, homework support, life and social-emotional skills, nutrition, and recreational programming to Franklin-McKinley School District students grades 2-8 at five school sites (Santee Elementary, Jeanne R. Meadows Elementary, Robert F. Kennedy Elementary, Stonegate Elementary and Bridges Academy). Our year-round programming is staffed by committed, caring adults who prepare students to succeed in school, career and life.
About Our Model
The Progressions model borrows best practices from the fields of youth development and music education to offer a sequential, developmentally appropriate, asset-based, and inclusive program that fosters academic, behavioral, and social skills and prepares students to succeed in school, career and life.
Every member of our team shares a fundamental belief that every child is valuable, regardless of financial or social status. We believe in:
- Growth Mindset
- Cultural and Personal Identity Affirmation
- Positive Risk-Taking
Key Program Components
After School General Music Program — 2 days per week (grades 2-3)
Progressions offers general music instruction that incorporates ideas from many cultures, and places singing at the center of musical development. The method (Kodály) is known for its sequential development of skills, emphasis on music literacy, and strong choral programs. In the spring of third grade, students learn recorder in preparation for beginning band instruction starting in fourth grade.
After-School Elementary Band Program – 2-4 days per week (grades 4-6)
The band program gives students a chance to pursue rigorous instrument instruction. Current wind ensemble offerings include clarinet, flute, trombone and trumpet. In 2016-17, saxophone, euphonium and baritone are being added. In 2017-18 and beyond, percussion and rhythm sections will be added. The band program includes*:
- Instrument class
- Beginning and intermediate ensemble
- Music Elective
- Community Music
*The Kennedy program currently includes instrument class only.
Advanced Middle School Band Program – 2 days per week (grades 7-8)
This college preparatory track helps students hone their musicianship skills, improve academic performance AND meet the demands of other after-school and weekend enrichment programs. The group will participate in music competitions and honor bands throughout the region. Students will be positioned to compete for merit-based university scholarships and financial aid.
In-School General Music Education Program – 1 day per week (grades 2-3)
Students learn the fundamentals of music through singing, movement, and activities in our 30-minute General Music class. The program is designed to engage students at an early age so they can continue their music education with a wind instrument in the after school band program by 4th grade. The curriculum is based on the Kodály Method with an emphasis on singing, rhythm, and building basic musicianship skills. Students are also engaged in cross-curricular music activities that support and augment State of California learning outcomes for the 2nd and 3rd grades.
Academic Support, Youth Development and Mentor Time
All students have dedicated time to complete homework under the guidance of a caring adult. In addition, a youth development curriculum is being designed to help students make conscious connections between music education, life skills and the 41 Developmental Assets. It is offered in the form of weekly mentor time or “Familias”.
Food and Nutrition
Thanks to a District-level partnership, Progressions students receive a hot meal every day the program is session. This provides nutrition to keep kids energized throughout the daily three-hour program.
Weekend Ensemble/Community-Building, Nucleo
Designed as a central feature of Progressions, the Nucleo is an opportunity for students from multiple sites to come together to form a concert band and later a jazz band. It is also a neighborhood hub where families are encouraged to come together to share music and build a stronger sense of community. It’s a place where families come in contact with other resources that positively impact their lives.
End of Semester Performance & Family Celebrations
Students and families celebrate with a celebratory concert and community potluck at the end of each semester. The entire community is encouraged to attend to show their support of the youth. Click here to view photos and videos from past celebrations.
Students regularly perform at school events; this offers positive recognition from their school community, boosts self-esteem, and encourages goal setting.
Students receive validation outside their own neighborhood from new audiences by performing at events like the Mayor’s Annual Crime and Gang Prevention Summit, International Jazz Day, the Cinequest Film Festival and more.
Field Trip / Exchange with Other Youth Development Programs
Through field trips to colleges like UC Berkeley and San Jose State University, students are exposed to new environments. Being in this environment encourages them to set educational goals and begin to envision a prosocial identity beyond their own neighborhood.
Parents are strongly encouraged to engage in their child’s learning by supporting their daily practice routine, volunteering at events, providing food for activities, providing transportation to field trips and performances, and providing candid feedback about the program format.
Support Services for Highest Risk Students
These students are identified through beginning of year assessments and principal/teacher referrals. This process enables Progressions staff to offer additional supports as needed to ensure that struggling students do not fall between the cracks.
Summer Music Camp
San Jose Jazz Progressions Summer Music Camp is a two-week camp experience that includes daily instruction in instrument/music theory, group ensemble, academic enrichment, and community-building through music, as well as lunch and snack. Instruction is focused on music technique, the ensemble experience and academic enrichment, all of which are designed to provide a firm foundation for students to move seamlessly into an accelerated musical sequence during the school year.
The Progressions Team
We are musicians with a firm commitment to social justice; we are strategic thinkers who believe in the value of collaboration; we are teachers with a get-the-job-done attitude. Together, we are the Progressions team. READ MORE
Hugo Garcia, Progressions Program Manager
Hugo Garcia joined the Progressions team in August 2017. He received his BA in Music from University of California, Davis and his MM in Music Education from San José State University. Hugo is driven by the challenge of creating equity and access to all students for a well-rounded and quality music education. Previously, he was the director of the Young Musicians’ Project while at SJSU and is honored to now be working at San Jose Jazz to continue to grow music education in the South Bay community.
Gary Ortega, Lead Intermediate Band Instructor at Bridges Academy
Gary Ortega is a dynamic music educator and performer with a passion for the arts and student development. Mr. Ortega graduated with a BM in Jazz Studies in 2012 and an MA in Music in 2014 at San Jose State University. He received his California teaching credential in music from San Jose State University and student taught at Lincoln High School in San Jose in 2015. He has previously served as a teacher at San Jose State University, St. Leo the Great Catholic School, Alum Rock Jazz, Leigh High School, and with the Sacramento Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corp. He teaches middle school and elementary band and choir in the Evergreen Elementary School District.
Marcos Zambrano, Advanced Band Conductor and Music Coordinator
Marcos Zambrano is a conductor, composer and violinist from El Sistema, Venezuela. He became involved with this program at age 7, and after 15 years of training inside El Sistema Orchestras, he was hired as music educator for several Núcleos (Teaching-training music centers) and appointed as conductor of Orquesta Típica Merideña, Coro de Belén and other Venezuelan music ensembles.
In parallel with El Sistema, he attended the Music Institute of Caracas (IUDEM), Laudelino Mejias School and the Latin-American Violin Academy. Also, he went to Spain to study at Berklee College of Music, in L’Aula School. Marcos earned a Bachelor and Master degree in Acoustics Physics and Mechanical Acoustics Engineering, at The University of The Andes. As a hobby, Marcos writes midi-music for Films and TV.
Lidia Rodriguez, Santee Instrument Teacher
Veronica Christie, Meadows/Kennedy Instrument and General Music Teacher
Veronica Christie is a versatile music educator with a passion for helping young people develop their potential through the arts. Ms. Christie earned her B.M. in Music Education from San Jose State University in 2015. She has previously taught for the Young Musician’s Project with SJSU School of Music and Dance, coached low brass at William Hopkins Middle School Elementary Band Program, and served as a teacher assistant with the Monterey Jazz Festival and Martin Luther King Middle School.
Joanna Dahl Cano, Lead Band Instructor at Stonegate School
Joanna Dahl Cano recently graduated from San José State University with her Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance with a second concentration in Music Education. She has a variety of music teaching experiences from after school music programs, to summer music camps, to private one-on-one lessons. Ms. Dahl Cano believes that music is powerful for teaching self expression, community building, and character growth, and is especially valuable to teach at an early age.
Tom Langan, Instrument Coordinator
Thomas Langan is an American born musician and composer. He most often uses the mediums of wood, metal, and electromagnetic energy to create the temporal and vibrational sculptures colloquially known as music. He would like you to know that the existence of music disproves Hobbes’ philosophy that life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” In addition to his work with the Progressions program, he teaches at San Jose State University. Mr. Langan can also be found practicing his art with a number of different collaborators around the bay area.
Fernando Guinto, After-School Coordinator, Nucleo Coordinator
As a member of Progressions, Fernando has been involved in tutoring and mentoring students as well as coordinating our monthly Nucleo’s. Fernando is passionate about making an impact in low-income communities through alternative forms of education; most recently, working with Traveling Stories to promote literacy in San Diego. Fernando is beginning his second year with Progressions and his last year at Santa Clara University where he will earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics.
What The Community Is Saying About Progressions
“Excellent program, excellent teachers! Thank you for bringing music into my daughter’s life. She loves the program!” — Progressions parent
“Doing music seems to have made everything else in my life easier. It somehow propels you.” — Meadows participant
“Being a part of Progressions has made me feel more alive.” — Santee participant
“I have discovered a new part of myself that I previously did not know existed.” — Meadows participant
“When I joined Progressions, I had no idea that I would make so many friends from different schools. It is really fun going to the Saturday Nucleos because I get to spend time with people who have different perspectives and experiences from me.” — Santee participant
“Progressions provides our students with the opportunity to channel their energy in a consistent endeavor that is positive, enriching, safe and most importantly, empowering. Students are taught to learn how to read music and play an instrument of their choice. By participating in this program, students have the opportunity to learn a vital life skill: how to set a goal and then create a plan that includes steps to reach that particular goal.” — Santee Teacher
“The Progressions program . . . has been an amazing asset and opportunity for our community. Without the program which services nearly 100 students, 1-2 kids max (if that) would ever have the opportunity to be exposed to music education at such an early age and develop their talents to support their overall personal growth. I recently watched students perform and was filled with a sense of peace thinking about some of the individuals who are in the music program and are facing difficult times in their lives, but are so blessed to have the escape from it, if only for a few hours four days a week. I believe for some it is their hope, their escape, their place to succeed and that is priceless.“ — Meadows Principal
“I cannot wait for my daughter to come back from the winter break to see where she goes musically! Progressions is such an exciting program!” – Meadows parent
“Because of music class, my son has learned determination and become much more focused and able to control his body.” – Meadows parent
“Having so many kids in the Progressions program this year makes it feel more alive. I love being part of this!” — Santee student
Check out Progressions feature coverage in the San Jose Mercury News: “After only one year in the program, (my son’s) grades and outlook have improved remarkably. His D’s in reading have become B’s, and now he’s earning A’s in math.” – Santee parent
Measuring our Impact
Progressions cares deeply about the quality, accessibility and cultural relevance of the services we offer our students and their families. We rely on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data points to continuously evaluate our effectiveness and make real-time changes as needed. Our goal? To offer programming that simultaneously responds to the specific needs of our community AND reflects best practices in youth development, music education and out-of-school-time programming.
Progressions partners with an independent evaluation firm to conduct a program-wide evaluation annually. We measure the following:
- Activities: Amount of direct service delivered to youth and their families.
- Outputs – A Measure of Efficiency: The hourly cost of services.
- Customer Satisfaction – A Measure of Effectiveness.
- Service Productivity/Initial Outcomes – A Measure of Change for the Better.
- Service Quality, Reliability, Service Performance Index: The Service Performance Index (SPI) assists organizations with improving performance by using an integrated approach. The SPI is derived from 20 data variables and is similar to the Academic Performance Index (API) score.
In addition, we enjoy a strong district-level partnership that affords us access to student academic, behavioral and social data. This data enables us to track the academic progress of Progressions students over time, do careful analysis, spot trends and work more effectively with classroom teachers and administrators to ensure we are offering appropriate support services, especially to struggling students who require additional supports to succeed.
Results of the most recent independent, third-party evaluation (for 2014-15) demonstrate that Progressions met all performance goals: the cost of services was efficient, services provided were effective, and service productivity scores were high.
View evaluation reports from previous years:
Progressions 2014-15 Evaluation Report
Progressions 2013-14 Evaluation Report
We value our partners and believe they are the key to our long-term success.
- Franklin-McKinley School District
- Jeanne R. Meadows Elementary School
- Santee Elementary School
- Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School
- Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force
- Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
- Franklin McKinley Children’s Initiative
- San Jose State University School of Music and Dance
- UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Board Fellows Project
- The Kodaly Center at Holy Names University
- Project Cornerstone
- Steinway Society of the Bay Area
- The Harmony Project
- El Sistema USA
- B.E.S.T. – Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force
- Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation
- Sharks Foundation
- Franklin-McKinley School District
- Comerica Bank
- Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP
- Haynes and Boone, LLP
- San Jose Jazz Individual Donors
Donate an Instrument to Progressions
Make a Donation
We need financial support from donors both big and small to sustain our work with the children. Donate to Progressions online now.
Donate an Instrument
We accept used clarinets, flutes, saxophones, trumpets, small acoustic guitars, trombones and instrument cases, in any condition. To donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org today, or drop off your donated instrument at 38 W Santa Clara St., San Jose, CA 95113. We are open Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm.
Volunteer with Us
We always need musicians, mentors, tutors, technology gurus, social media/crowdfunding experts, Progressions evangelists and more to have more impact in the community. Learn more.
- Musicians: Sit-in on weekly instrumental sectionals and Saturday Nucleo rehearsals and to provide one-on-one lessons to students who are excelling or need an extra push.
- Mentors/Tutors: Work as academic tutors and life coaches. Research indicates the presence of adult mentors is among the most powerful predictors of success among youth today.
- Technology Gurus: Work with Progressions staff to 1) incorporate music technology in the classroom and at home as relevant and 2) develop efficient and effective systems for information management and day-to-day operations.
- Social Media/Crowdfunding Experts: Help spread the word to new audiences about how Progressions is changing lives and raise additional funds to sustain/grow the program.
- Progressions Evangelists: Help Progressions staff get an audience with key regional stakeholders who believe in our model and have resources to help us innovate.
Contact Hugo Garcia, Progressions Program Manager, at email@example.com or 408 713-6366 to further discuss opportunities.
Work with Us
We are hiring for the 2018-19 academic year. Click here for details.