May 08, 2019

For Teacher Appreciation Week, the Today Show surprises an NYC music educator

Author: Liza Frenette
Source:  NYSUT Communications
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Caption: Grammy-award winning music teacher Melissa Salguero (center) playing trumpet with her students. Screen capture via the Today Show.

You can't keep a great music teacher — or her students — quiet for long.

Grammy award winner Melissa Salguero, a public school teacher at P.S. 48 in the Bronx, was featured Tuesday on NBC's Today show for Teacher Appreciation Week, where she was surprised by a throng of her students singing and a presentation of gifts for the school.

Today Show host Jenna Bush Hager came to the elementary school two weeks ago to interview Salguero and students. The news crew filmed them playing horns and flutes and talking about music.

"It went so well. They really focused on what the kids are getting out of music," said Salguero. She was invited her to come on the show Tuesday for Teacher Appreciation Week, and she said yes, asking if students could join her. She was told that would not be possible.

Early that morning, a car picked her up at her house, while, unbenownst to her, a limousine bus picked up her students at the school and brought them to the studio, as well.

"For some of them, it was their first time stepping foot in Manhattan," she said.

When host Bush Hager brought her outside the studio during the live taping, Salguero was startled to see  — and hear — her cheering students. They were bopping and singing to the song blasting outside, "Don't Stop Believing," which has become somewhat of an anthem for the music program.

"My knees got weak! There were 100 kids! My teacher friends were there, and parents," said an emotional Salguero. "My favorite part is that the students are learning music is who you are inside."

Salguero was presented with two much-needed public address systems for the school's auditorium, and 30 wireless headsets that she said students will use when they are writing music.

A member of United Federation of Teachers, Salguero returned recently from Dubai after being chosen as one of the top 10 teachers in the world for the Global Teachers Prize. She was the only teacher selected from the United States in the top 10, and first music teacher to ever make it into the top 10. Salguero presented a talk at the Global Education and Skills Forum to the group, discussing kindness as a teaching tool and conducting a science experiment related to music. The forum focused on best practices, technology and education policy.

In 2018, she  walked the red carpet as Grammy Educator of the Year, winning $10,000 for her school and $10,000 for herself.  Faculty, staff and students were also wowed when a piano was donated and autographed by music legend Carole King, who grew up in Brooklyn and attended the City University of New York’s Queens College.

Salguero began teaching music at what could be called "the little elementary school that could" in 2010. There was no band, and there were no instruments. She has since won awards and secured numerous grants and donations — including support from The Ellen DeGeneres Show — to build up the music program, and has started a school band, which meets before classes start. Even after the school was robbed and all the instruments were stolen, they regrouped at the behest of students, who powered Salguero through the loss with music and a song they wrote, “We Will Rise.”


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