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 SOAR Academy East Mesa Recognized for Music Education Advocacy

San Diego SOAR Academy's East Mesa site has been honored with the Advocacy in Action Award for Outstanding Adjudicator’s Choice Award from Music for All, Inc. for its outstanding commitment to music education advocacy.

The Advocacy in Action Award designation is presented to music programs, schools, and communities across the United States that demonstrate outstanding achievement in local efforts to provide access to music education for all students.

To qualify for the Advocacy in Action Award Designation, San Diego SOAR Academy submitted a detailed description of its music program, Project Confined Redefined. Submissions were reviewed by a national panel of educators, administrators, and community and business leaders. The project was awarded “gold” in the Adjudicator’s Choice category.

The Confined Redefined Project was created by Mimi Seney, head teacher at the East Mesa site. It uses music to expand mathematical concepts to the school’s teenage boys who are either serving or awaiting further adjudication for serious offenses at Unit Confined, East Mesa Juvenile Detention Center.

“It’s such an honor to see my students recognized for something truly positive,” Seney said.

“I created the project as a way to integrate music and math and take them back to the place when learning was fun.”

In the award application, Seney wrote: “Music heals. For this group of students, pairing music with rhythm using mathematical principals will direct their focus to more pro-social behaviors while decreasing the negative anti-social tendencies. The Confined Redefined Project has resulted in students learning basic music and mathematical concepts through notation and rhythm. Teaching music in a hands-on approach through self-pacing, self-monitoring, and self-regulation has allowed students to experience mathematical application during musical output (performance).”

"Project Confined Redefined is one way Ms. Seney is bringing the arts to our incarcerated youth at East Mesa,” said Site Administrator Nathan Head. “Ms. Seney has taken a lead role in fostering students' expression by means of learning the joy of playing music. She has found that not only does it give students an artistic outlet, but it builds community in her classroom."

Research continuously indicates student engagement in sequential music learning improves brain-function while developing the life skills of empathy, self-confidence, and collaboration. Additionally, students of the arts demonstrate higher attendance, graduation rates, and academic achievement compared to their non-arts peers. 

The submission will be part of the Music for All Advocacy in Action website , a clearinghouse of practical advocacy examples that can be adapted and replicated by programs nationwide. By collecting, recognizing and sharing outstanding examples of local advocacy efforts, Music for All ultimately hopes to inspire others across the nation to take action in their own communities.