CREATED THROUGH A REMARKABLE COLLABORATION
The American Road® is the collective vision of over 70 organizations/leaders from the world of education, civil society, media and entertainment who have joined with Songmasters to develop a fully integrated educational, community engagement and media program slated to reach 16 million students within three years of launch.
With two seed grants from the Ford Foundation, Songmasters’ coalition of Founding Advisors and Partners co-developed and set in motion the curricular framework, project architecture, thematic emphases, music selections, and approach to unit development. They also grappled with the thorny questions of identity and community that come into play in our diverse American society, helping us to understand and address the central issues that unite and distinguish the varied communities in America. This has allowed us to develop assets that are consistent and locally customizable, accurate and upbeat, substantive and fun.
Many of these individuals and organizations have remained ongoing advisors and collaborators, joined by newer participants, in the continued development of The American Road. Our Current Advisors & Collaborators review and advise on specific content, presentation format, music, digital advances and more. They also keep us timely, accurate and energized.
A FRESH APPROACH
A broad array of reputable research unambiguously confirms that Americans of all ages lack grounding in American history, civics, and governance. We have developed new ways of sharing these with today’s youth because media, technology and popular culture have radically changed the way young people receive and process information, learn about the world around them, and find their “place” in this new world.
three distinct yet integrated components
- Education– A fully-vetted, theme-based, music-driven curriculum in modern US history and civics for use in secondary schools that harnesses the power of music, its special role in the lives of young people, and its neuro-cognitive impact as a rich and dynamic instructional, experiential and creative cultural tool. Using the comprehensive and widely recognized approach to planning known as Curriculum Mapping, more than 40 fully-developed units with over 200 learning activities and 100 extensions will explore seven themes and time periods (covering 1890-now) in history, civics and related subjects. Music is fully integrated within each unit. Exceptional resources are provided to teachers and students to deepen learning.
- Community – A civic engagement component that pro-actively connects students each year to more than 60,000 volunteer and mentored activities – tied to the curriculum – to put knowledge into action to the benefits of their communities. The American Road does more than connect students to their local communities in new ways – this component will also bring the community together in regional festivals and events that celebrate civic engagement and recognize youth whose service benefits their communities in both local and national events.
- Media – An agile, intuitive, resource-rich technology platform making activities engaging and informative; a new digital pipeline to deliver and make resources widely accessible to students, teachers, and partners; and an exciting media platform including events, broadcasts and streamed content to amplify the program’s reach and impact through music and video – including a an original and fun interactive, gamified “tv” series to reinforce and deepen learning while also appealing to our nation’s youth. Delivery is entirely digital.
THE JOURNEY BELONGS TO ALL OF US
The American story has been charted in large measure by how we balance individual rights and common responsibilities. We have all experienced the push-and-pull of this dynamic tension over time, especially since the dawn of the 20th century, as an exciting and tumultuous journey to strengthen our freedoms while clarifying our responsibilities and affirming our shared humanity. We call this journey The American Road.
The program’s overall theme — the courage to create a better world starts with the voice of one® —will help tell the story of America as an ongoing evolution in this balance while giving an empowering and positive message to people of all backgrounds and beliefs.
The American Road will travel from the classroom, into family living rooms, and into communities across the country through a variety of stand-alone, multi-media entertainment initiatives: star-studded events and national broadcasts; local community festivals and concerts; an original “tv” series with first-ever interactive components; and comprehensive digital integration, including new interactive digital tools and a unique pipeline for primary and secondary resources to be easier to access and more intuitive to use.
All activities have been specially adapted for virtual and COVID-safe participation.
WHERE MUSIC MAKES HISTORY
The American Road uses historically important American songs – more than 400 originals and 50+ contemporary covers re-imagined by current top performers – as a fresh and powerful medium to drive the study of modern America (1890-now) through a robust interdisciplinary history and civics education curriculum.
American song captures the experience of each generation in its own voice. We build upon this to create multiple juxtapositions that give context and contrast and allow students to “walk in others’ shoes.”
Using music in this way captures the long and continuing spiral of each generation’s efforts – including this generation’s – to express their experience voice by voice and era by era. In this way, American song powerfully and memorably reveals the long path of modern American history, how it brings us to now and shapes our common future.