Ashley Dunne’s music room is a joyful environment where all K-5 students at Gainfield Elementary School are encouraged to explore their musical interests and talents. By allowing students to create, perform and respond to music, she fosters a love of learning that also benefits students’ other areas of study. Dunne collaborates with colleagues to connect curriculum through core disciplines. When students learn about fractions in math, they learn about quarter, half and full notes in music. She immerses students in music from the time periods featured in their history lessons. A champion for her students, Dunne works with special education teachers to ensure all learners have continued access to music class. She utilizes student data to identify areas for growth and celebrates their successes.
Dunne’s involvement in the teacher advisory, scheduling, professional development advisory, curriculum development, health and wellness, and school climate committees is instrumental to student and staff success. As an instructional teacher leader for the district’s K-12 music programs, Dunne increased student participation in chorus and instrumental activities by revamping the fifth grade instrumental music program, including the fourth grade student recruitment process. A lifelong learner, she elevates her instructional practices by presenting at and participating in conferences, mentoring student teachers, and observing lessons. Her collaborative nature and resilient spirit inspire continued growth in herself and her colleagues.
Dunne is a familiar face in the community. She promotes family involvement by encouraging parent participation in music classes, sending music newsletters, and volunteering for PTO events. Board of Education meetings come alive thanks in large part to her vibrant student recitals. Additionally, she teaches orchestra, chorus, and ukelele lessons. Students of all ages benefit from her instrumental mentorship program, where older students speak to younger students about the instruments they play.
Dunne earned a bachelor’s in music in 2010 from the University of Connecticut and a master’s in education from the University of Bridgeport in 2012. She went on to earn a Kodaly Certification from the University of Hartford in 2018 and a sixth-year degree in SEAL (Social, Emotional and Academic Learning) from Sacred Heart University in 2019.
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