Position: Music Teacher
School: Brooklyn New School - PS 146
School District: New York City Department of Education - District 15
City, State: Brooklyn, New York
About the Nominee: Jonathan Hardy was nominated by his principal, Anna Allanbrook. When Brooklyn New School first started, its program was limited. It lacked a gym teacher and a music teacher. Early in Ms. Allanbrook's tenure at BNS, she realized that music was fundamental to a child’s education. The school began the process of looking for a music teacher, finding Mr. Hardy in 2001. The rest is history.
Mr. Hardy teaches music to students as young as four and as old as 12. He has developed a strong elementary music program. While at BNS, students learn how to sing, perform and read music. They also learn how to play percussion and recorder. Mr. Hardy carefully plans lessons, knowing what is appropriate for each age group, what children can/cannot do and how to stimulate their musical ear.
Mr. Hardy gave up several weeks of his summer to attend Responsive Classroom Institutes in order to reshape his management practice. The responsive classroom training allowed him to zero in on musical technique while also managing a large group of students, many of whom had different levels of knowledge and varied physical abilities to access the music curriculum. By teaching responsively, Mr. Hardy has been able to work with a diverse population, including students with special needs and those in a self-contained class. He recognizes that each student is different, so he has prepared a curriculum in which every student can feel success. There have been moments of pure joy when students have had the opportunity to share a musical talent with their classmates, and there have been moments of surprise when unusually quiet students volunteer to sing for others.
As well, there is the everyday music class when a rambunctious third grade group keys Ode to Joy in perfect unison, or when a kindergarten class explores percussion instruments, rhythm and movement.
In addition to being a master teacher, Mr. Hardy is a powerful collaborator. Over his many years at BNS, he has co-taught with teaching artists from the Brooklyn Arts Exchange. In his role of musical director, he is able to create magic while supporting the creativity of teaching artists with strengths in choreography and theater. Students go from being quiet four year olds overwhelmed by the stage to exuberant ten year olds bursting into song.
Witness the fourth and fifth graders at BNE and you can see their enthusiasm, lack of fear, camaraderie and ability to perform in front of a packed audience. The BNE community has had the pleasure of seeing students participate in an annual fourth grade musical, a singing graduation and theater. Last spring, a select group of fourth and fifth graders had the opportunity to perform at the 2016 Brooklyn Borough Arts Festival Performing Arts Showcase. These students recreated an excerpt from Queen Arthur and the Sword in the Moon by Jesse A Meyerson and Jordan Blue Payseno. They were directed by José Joaquin Garcia with music by Mr. Hardy. This was just another day in the life of Mr. Hardy, the music teacher.