In addition to teaching music for grades six through eight, Dascola is the Social Emotional Team lead, the school wellness liaison, and co-advisor of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, also known as Rams Pride Club.
Earlier this month, Dascola was selected as one of 40 recipients of the State Farm Teacher Assist grant, a $2,500 prize to help educators implement or support classroom projects.
Dascola has several diversity initiatives in the works thanks to the grant. The first is to ensure that all students and staff participate in four social emotional learning lessons during the school year, providing lessons in self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making and relationship skills.
Another initiative is to relaunch a Gender and Sexuality Alliance at the school to foster a welcoming community where students can learn about LGBTQ culture. Dascola plans to host book and author visits, discuss current events and host workshops.
“Our job is to educate, bringing in folks who can talk about real experiences,” Dascola said. “Now a dialogue is created where genuine learning can occur.”
Dascola also plans to host Drag Queen Story Hour with a goal of maintaining “affirming households and communities” within the LGBTQ community. Both students and parents can participate in assemblies and bilingual engagement events.
As part of the grant, IS 93 will restructure its student government to ensure students’ voices are heard on things such as what is served in the cafeteria and the literature they read.
“That’s still in the budding stages,” Dascola said.
Finally, the school will purchase drum sticks to promote music learning, particularly for students who are learning remotely.
“There’s something really special about a kid turning their camera on for the first time, reading a rhythm and clapping for you,” Dascola said.