Anna Stampfli moved to Park City six months ago with her husband, four children, and two dogs. “I wanted to expand my business to the west coast and Park City afforded us the lifestyle change and location we wanted for our family.”
A former high school and junior high math teacher for more than a decade, she has seen her share of students who are uninspired to learn. Stampfli, an accomplished violinist, thought she should try bringing her musical talent into the classroom. And it worked.
She founded Arts Youth Empowerment, an organization that was structured to support the integration of comprehensive arts education for schools, inclusive of both performing and visual arts, in addition to providing after school arts programming to supplement existing curriculum. The vision and mission of the program is to support and create a strong connection for the students between the core subjects and the arts. Now a Park City resident, she wanted to bring that same program to schools here.
After-school violin programs recently started at Parley’s Park and Trailside Elementary Schools. She calls them “integrated youth learning orchestras.”
Students initially focus on the violin, learning the fundamentals of playing a stringed instrument and developing a close connection with their core subjects. They are grouped into three teaching groups: Kindergarten and first grade, second and third grade, and fourth and fifth grade. Each after-school program meets weekly for 60 minutes. Her ninth-grade daughter is helping with the classes.
Each school will have a performance for parents, will perform as a district ensemble at Brigham Young University, and will appear with the Park City Children’s Choir.
Some 150 to 175 students are taking advantage of the after-school program at the two schools. Arts Youth Empowerment provides the violins and rents them to the families for a nominal fee. Some of the violins broke during her recent move to Park City and Stampfli said the second and third-grades will do a STEAM project to repair some of them.
“My mission and vision is to provide inspiring education for all children.” she said. “We are teaching the students there is a correlation between the violin and math.” She is developing projects with both schools related to STEAM areas of study. She is donating all supplies for STEAM projects.
“This program will help supplement Park City School Districts already outstanding curriculum and further establish it as one of the greatest educational systems in the nation,” she said.
“The Park City After-school Program is extremely fortunate to partner with the new-to-town Arts Youth Empowerment and the Park City School District PTO/PTAs to offer a violin program to all of our students,” said Todd Klarich, director of Community Education for PCSD. “I have had the opportunity to witness the first few classes and the students could not be more excited. This partnership is the beginning of a wonderful opportunity that will empower the children of our community with the gift of music that will last a lifetime.”
A $5,000 grant to support the program at Trailside was provided by the Park City Education Foundation. “We have held this $5,000 for several years, as the donor wanted it to go to a violin program, specifically,” said PCEF Executive Director Abby McNulty. “As a major partner to the district for the After-school program, we are thrilled to help add this opportunity to the curriculum.”
Stampfli is anxious to implement the program at Jeremy Ranch and McPolin Elementary Schools once there is more funding, and the district is excited to see the positive change initiated through this year’s pilot programs.