Drum Line for Students with Disabilities

The NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education awarded music teacher Julie Braeckman of the Mercer County Special Services High School a $2,495 grant to start a drum line for students with special needs. The project has also been designated as the Joyce Powell Grant for Students with Special Needs, a grant that honors NJEA Past President Joyce Powell’s career as a special education teacher.

Students with the greatest interest in participating in the drum line participate. Physical education teachers and the cheerleading coach help select games where the drum line can perform. The occupational and physical therapy departments assist students with physical disabilities who wish to participate.

Initially, the goal is to help students learn to play together in a small group classroom setting, and then move towards playing for events such as pep rallies, Blue and White Day, students-versus-staff flag football, homecoming, and the annual softball game against the local police department.

According to a certified state organization, learning percussion helps “children with Autism, Dyslexia, ADD, Tourettes, Asperger’s, ADHD, OCD, and ODD to develop and expand retention, coordination, self-esteem, and physical and cognitive functioning in schools and communities.”

The project coordinator will collaborate with the school administration to expand the drum line for next year and integrate it with the cheerleading group color guard.

Read Julie's Final Report outlining the successes of this program.

For further information, contact:

Julie Braeckman
School – (609) 588-8450