The Warrior

Payano’s Music Therapy course awarded $1,800 grant from Google

By Colin Boyle, Photo Editor

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After the second period bell rang Tuesday, hundreds of students began pouring into the auditorium with faces of excitement and confusion. While decorations were abundant, details about what was happening were sparse — but in due time information flowed, as did the emotions in the room.

The cause for this celebration was Mr. Payano’s winning a grant for his Music Therapy class. Google will also donate money to the music program, to the adaptive programs, and to each of Lane’s projects on Donors Choose.

The Carreras’ Mixed Chorus class joins Mr. Payano’s Music Therapy class in performing a song at the assembly.

Colin Boyle
The Carreras’ Mixed Chorus class joins Mr. Payano’s Music Therapy class in performing a song at the assembly.

A few months ago, the Carrera brothers — who both teach chorus at Lane — and Payano applied for a grant to benefit Payano’s Music Therapy class. To put the competition into perspective, there were 100 schools from Cook County alone who applied for the grant, which sought to fund “creative ideas for special needs education,” according to Mr. Paul Carrera.

Payano’s course calls on honors students to “work closely with the teacher to provide musical achievement that caters to the diverse needs of our student population,” according to the course description on lanetech.org.

Following in the footsteps of pre-existing “adaptive” courses at Lane, such as Adaptive Art and PE Leaders, Music Therapy has proven to be a huge success, according to Orly Genin, Div. 659.

Music Therapy “made me realize kind of the way that we… [work with] kids with special needs is completely wrong,” Genin said.

Mr. Payano said he “absolutely fell in love” with the the students in the class from the start.

Ms. Anderson addresses Mr. Payano after the announcement of the grant.

Colin Boyle
Ms. Anderson addresses Mr. Payano after the announcement of the grant.

With the grant, Payano’s class will be able to expand to benefit even more students on different levels. “This is definitely a highlight of my entire teaching career,” said Payano.

He said he hopes this grant will bring more awareness to special education amid the threats of budget cuts.

Chicago Public Schools could face huge budget cuts on account of many factors, including the state’s lack of a budget since the beginning of the fiscal year. CPS relies on Illinois for $480 million from the state, according to The Economist, and the absence of a state budget may put around 22 percent of teachers at risk of being laid off, on top of other cuts to various departments.

An Oct. 28 student-led protest outside CPS Headquarters addressed the absence of a budget.

Colin Boyle
An Oct. 28 student-led protest outside CPS Headquarters addressed the absence of a budget.

One of the departments that may face cuts is Special Education. This angers Payano, who pointed out that the city has the wealth to build a new 606 walkway, yet fails to support the education of its residents.

“It says to the students that they’re a low priority to the city,” Payano said. “But the grant might change that.”

Not only does the grant benefit Special Education at Lane; Google is also donating money to the other schools in Cook County who applied for it.

In addition to awarding grants, Google is in the midst of filming a documentary on Payano’s class.  Both the grant and the documentary were a complete surprise to him before the assembly.

He hopes the documentary “raises awareness for classes like this and other teachers across the country that have been thinking outside the box and doing really cool new things in their classroom.”

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Payano’s Music Therapy course awarded $1,800 grant from Google