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Principal PhotoExcerpts of correspondence to The MBC from Derek Stephenson, Principal of Riverside Education Academy in New Haven, Connecticut.

Your steadfast commitment to our students has afforded them experiences they could only dream of. Improvising on a wide array of instruments, taking 1:1 music lessons, sharing talents in small groups and at school wide events … remain paramount among their fondest memories.

You and your vision for our students have impacted their lives beyond belief, as our partnership … has garnered boundless benefits.  Our students have enjoyed a small student-teacher ratio wherein they have been afforded an arena for self-expression, both verbal and non-verbal, and a safe space to foster self-awareness, self-control, creativity and self-confidence.

Through music our students have demonstrated growth in social and emotional learning, and have found solace where trauma had once overtaken their lives. Student engagement and sense of belonging have heightened and have given way to joy and purpose in their lives.

Our students’ lives are oftentimes unstable, so the consistency of knowing Ms. Cyd is there for them three times a week, and has an outlet for them to express themselves in a way which is unlike any academic setting, has given impetus to better attendance and behavior. This augmentation of the curriculum has certainly been invaluable.

It is said that music is a universal language, and we believe it is a language of healing. Many of our students are wounded and music therapy has proven itself to be a powerful and effective elixir.  So it is our hope that you continue to stand with us in the name of bringing students from trauma to treatment.