Music Teacher Says Jam Sessions Help Kids Graduate

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DALLAS (CBS11) –  A local high school music teacher is using daily rock jam sessions in his efforts to improve graduation rates.

Rodney Dittmar is the modern band director at Seagoville High School, and on any given day you can find him a leading a group of students in cover songs from band like AC/DC, The Cranberries and Carlos Santana.

Mr. Dittmar said his vision for this real life school of rock began nearly two decades ago when he joined forces with an organization named, “Little Kids Rock.” Together they have expanded music programs at Seagoville High and at other Dallas ISD schools. The partnership has allowed underserved students who otherwise wouldn’t have it, access to instruments and the high school lessons.

“It has defintely given students a drive to want to come to school,” said Dittmar.

School officials say last year 87 percent of the senior class at Seagoville High graduated. The percentage for students in the music programs graduating was significantly higher at 96 percent, according to school officials.

Amber Urrutia, a junior at Seagoville said, “It makes you feel like you are on top of the world like you can accomplish anything.”

Mr. Dittmar added, “Ten years down the road they may not remember what you taught them but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

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