You can help Dayton Public Schools students make music

Three years ago, a group of local citizens gathered to explore ways in which they might help Dayton Public School students in innovative ways. The former teachers, attorneys, school board members and community leaders sought to supply items to the district that were needed but not funded. That became the goal of the Dayton Public Schools Foundation.

“When residents of the Miami Valley think of the children in the Dayton Public Schools, their low performance on Ohio’s achievement tests comes to mind,” says Nancy Nerny, a retired teacher now heading the foundation board. “They worry that low performance directly connects to the future of our city and its ability to attract businesses that want intelligent, capable workers. They’d like to impact that performance, but see no way to affect change.”

The foundation, she says, is one way to be that change. The nonprofit organization, a fund under the Dayton Foundation, is working to bridge the gap between the community and its schools. In addition to asking the community for money for programs and grants to impact and improve student achievement, it is also requesting donations of specific items.

Last year, $14,000 was given to DPSF for band support. Teacher grants, of approximately $500 each, were given for projects reaching more than 600 students. Teacher projects ranged from school gardens to a Maker Space station and from rehabbing home computers for new English learners to field trip fees.

When foundation members discovered that DPS had no marching band (or high school instrumental music) for 10 years, grants were used to purchase new instruments. We’ve written about the DPSF partnership with Classical Radio 88.1 asking for gently used instruments for the new bands. It can also use funds to buy new ones.

According to Nerny, research shows students engaged in band or choir do better in the classroom, have better attendance, score higher on tests, and move on to post-secondary study more consistently. “We know that test scores are not the sole indicators of success or failure,” she says. “But evidence of the effects of poverty in our city on student health and well-being (food deserts, high incidence of diabetes and asthma) can affect their success.”

If you have gently used instruments, you can donate them to DPSF’s “Bring back the bands” campaign for middle and high school students.

Here’s what they need:

  • Any musical instrument for band or orchestra
  • Trumpets, saxophones, violins, tubas, clarinets, flutes, trombones, cellos, etc.
  • Percussion instruments of any kind: shakers, keyboards, xylophones, cymbals, bells, triangles, etc.
  • Drums of all kinds
  • Drumsticks
  • Unused reeds
  • New resin
  • Valve grease
  • Polishing cloths
  • Music stands
  • Metal and plastic picks
  • Mutes
  • Pitch pipes
  • Metronomes
  • Bows
  • Instrument cases

Instruments and accessories can be dropped off during business hours at the lobby security desk at the Dayton Public Schools administration building, 115 S. Ludlow St., in downtown Dayton.

Other ways to help:

You can also support giving classroom grants or new instrument purchases by:

• Paying by credit online at

• Sending a check to DPSF, c/o The Dayton Foundation, Fund, #3924, 40 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Dayton 45423

For more information: (937) 542-3330 or

Each week, Meredith Moss writes about a non-profit organization in our region in need of specific supplies. If your group would like to share a wish list with our readers, contact Meredith:

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your organization’s mission.

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