Spotlight: Roanoke City Schools

January, 2014

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 “VH1 Save The Music Foundation is an integral part of reaching our diverse and urban student population.  To date, VH1 Save The Music has donated over $350,000 worth of instruments to twelve Roanoke City Elementary Schools.  The expansion of strings and band programs into our five remaining elementary schools will benefit all secondary band and orchestra programs and provide equitable opportunities for our students to grow musically and academically.  We are so grateful to them.”  - Dr. Rita D. Bishop, Superintendent, Roanoke City Public Schools 

“We could not be more thrilled by the tremendous story in Roanoke City Public Schools. This is exactly our goal in every community in which we work – to have a broad, ongoing commitment from the Superintendent, community and local partners to ensure that every student has access to standards-based instrumental music instruction and the brighter futures that come from that experience.” - Paul Cothran, Executive Director of the VH1 Save The Music Foundation

 “The VH1 program at Fairview Elementary provided me the opportunity to express and show talents that have allowed me to continue playing in the high school orchestra.  I would have never started to play without the VH1, Save The Music grant, but now I will carry my love of music and the violin through the rest of my life.” - 9th Grade Patrick Henry Orchestra Student

Roanoke City Public Schools Mission
Graduate students prepared for life in a rapidly changing world.

To be a model for urban public education.

While individual schools around the country have risen to this standard, no district has comprehensively performed at this level. We owe it to our children to set a very high bar. With persistence, dedication, creativity, and student focus, we will reach our vision.

VH1 Save The Music Foundation has been an integral business partner in the growth and development of our band and orchestra programs.  The enrollment in our secondary band and orchestra program continues to grow as a result of the VH1 elementary programs.  To date, VH1 Save the Music Foundation has donated over $350,000 worth of instruments to twelve Roanoke City Elementary Schools.  VH1 Save The Music and Roanoke City Public Schools recently announced the expansion of additional grants for the 2014-15 school year in the five remaining elementary schools.  As a result of Roanoke City Public Schools commitment to providing equity in access to music for all students Dr. Rita Bishop, Superintendent, recently received the Eighth Annual Administrator Award for Distinguished Support of Music Education.  This partnership demonstrates that Strong Business Partners + Strong Schools + Quality Teachers = High Quality Programs and Successful Students. 

Roanoke City Public Schools is a diverse and urban setting that serves over 13,500 students.  76.6% of our students receive free/reduced lunch and 70.8% of our schools are Title One.

Strong arts programs are considered essential by the School Board and Superintendent.  In addition to the keyboard, band, and string programs all students receive music and art instruction at the elementary level.  All middle school students have the opportunity to participate in visual arts classes, band, chorus, or orchestra.  Course offerings are expansive at the high school level and include dance and theatre programs.  There is also a diverse range of music and visual art classes.  A strong component of the Division’s commitment to the Fine Arts is the partnerships it has developed with outside cultural organizations.  This allows teachers to compliment the classroom experience with outside experiences to enhance a student’s arts education.  

Current Partners

VH1 Save The Music Foundation

Roanoke Symphony Orchestra

Opera Roanoke

Jefferson Center

Southwest Virginia Ballet

Roanoke Children’s Theatre

Taubman Museum

Eleanor D. Wilson Museum – Hollins University

Roanoke Arts Commission

Roanoke City Public Schools


Additional Information