Two fundamental pieces of the SPA Lower School experience—the music program and the TOOLBOX curriculum—came together in the spring of 2018 in a music video that showcases the students, faculty, and staff of the Lower School. The video (and the song that inspired it) is entitled “Stand Up.” Watch the "Stand Up" video.
The genesis of the song and video is in the TOOLBOX curriculum, adopted by the Lower School during the 2015-16 school year. TOOLBOX is a K-6 program developed by Dovetail Learning that supports children in understanding and managing their own emotional, social, and academic success. The “toolbox” is a set of 12 skills and practices that help students access their own inner resilience at any time, in any context. Learn more about the TOOLBOX program.
The implementation of the TOOLBOX was so successful in the Lower School that music teacher Beth Nelson was inspired to write a song celebrating the tools and their positive impact on the Lower School community. She collaborated with her music colleague Stephanie Huss on the vocals and music, and together the two taught the song to the school in the fall of 2016. “It became the ‘Lower School song’ in many ways,” says Nelson, who often hears the song “in the hallways, on the playground, and in our classrooms. It has been beautiful to watch this project unfold in ways we did not expect,” she says. Her colleague Stephanie Huss agrees: “It feels very special to create songs with the purpose of serving our students,” Huss says, “and to see them respond positively makes it all the more enjoyable.”
A year later, the two sat down with Lower School Principal Holly Fidler to plan for for the song’s next iteration: a video showcasing the entire Lower School. Their planning became a full-fledged audio-visual project: Nelson and Huss secured funding with the help of the school’s Citron Fund for the Fine Arts, reached out to SPA colleagues and parents for technical support, and gathered a choir of singers that included both students and faculty.
Filming the video was done over several days in the spring of 2018, including during the Lower School’s annual Bazaar and several other days in April and May—a few of which had to be rescheduled due to the unexpected snowstorm in late April of that year. Final edits were made over the summer, and the video’s grand debut was in September of 2018 when the completed video was shown to the entire Lower School at an assembly.
“The song and video beautifully capture the essence of the Lower School: unity, community, compassion, and joy!” says Fidler. “Every day we bear witness to our students using their tools to make their world a better place, and this is a way to celebrate their work.”