Music, Gifted & Talented Education (GATE), and Media
Mrs. Letford is one of the founding 3rd grade teachers at NEW Academy Canoga Park. Now as the music director, she has created a dynamic award winning music curriculum that not only teaches music standards but also incorporates corresponding math, science, language arts and global studies concepts.
In 2009, Mrs. Letford began the Music For All: Instrument Scholarship Fund, which awarded low-income students with instruments for their ongoing music education. In early 2010, Letford was a finalist for the Bravo Arts Educator Award and was also awarded the National Sontag Prize in Urban Education.
Mrs. Letford received her bachelor degree from UCLA and recently completed her master thesis, Integration With Integrity: The Importance of Keeping Music in the Elementary Classroom at California State University, Northridge. She has done numerous professional presentations on this topic and remains focused on bringing arts education to underserved communities.
Ms. Donna Zanella
Ms. Zanella has been working with NEW Academy Canoga Park since 2009 and hails from our local community Art Center in Canoga Park. She holds an AAS in Advertising and received her BFA and MFA from Cal Arts. She has been an art teacher for over 20 years and also teachers for the city of LA Department of Cultural Affairs at the Canoga Park Youth Art Center.
The art curriculum is inspired by major artists from art history and lessons include information about world history, various art movements and language skills to enhance students’ greater understanding of the arts and their impact. Her ‘non-directed’ projects allow students to explore their own creative voices while giving them the tools to successfully realize their visions.