School Talk: Southwark Elementary wins prestigious multi-year music education grant

Editor’s Note: School Talk is an occasional feature that will look at education and parenting issues in South Philly. If you have concerns, ideas, suggested topics or other thoughts about the state of schools and ways to keep improving them, email us at

Weighing in is Mollie Michel, a South Philly resident, Philadelphia public school parent and editor of A Child Grows. A recovering non-profit professional, Mollie is also an experienced birth doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, and the mom of two awesome girls and a sweet pit bull named Princess Cleopatra. In her spare time, she is usually trying to figure out how Pinterest works, training for a(nother) half-marathon with her dog at her side, or simply trying to keep up with her increasingly wily daughters.

Southwark Elementary was recently awarded the Lang Lang International Music Foundation’s “Keys of Inspiration” grant, a multi-year award that will provide the school with a Roland piano lab, music curriculum, supplies and a three year commitment of $30,000 annually to support a music teacher to lead the program.


Fifty-six schools across the country applied for the grant and four were awarded, including three in Philadelphia and one in Chicago.

With the loss of robust music education curriculum in our public schools, institutions like the Lang Lang Foundation are important partners, providing supplemental funding and supplies to bring music to our neighborhood kids. Research shows that music training can improve memory and boost language and math skills. According to the Foundation, “by simply exposing children to music, and igniting a passion for music, we are helping students aim for a better future.”

Southwark is thrilled about this opportunity. “The Keys of Inspiration program will provide our students the opportunity to express themselves in the universal language of music despite any linguistic and cultural barriers that may be present in a school as diverse as ours,” says Principal Andrew Lukov, who has been leading the charge to bring enriching and innovative programs like this into the school.

Philadelphia’s Fox Chase and Edward T. Steel schools were also were selected for the grant.

For more information about Southwark and the programs it offers its students, check out their website, and follow them on social media at and

To learn about more ways to get involved in supporting the school through East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association’s Education Committee, visit Friends of Southwark on Facebook and Twitter or email

One thought on “School Talk: Southwark Elementary wins prestigious multi-year music education grant

  • May 24, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    This is great news for thee families of Southwark!

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