Teaching in Diverse Communities

All online MECA courses
conclude on May 3, 2020.

Visit our MECA FAQs page.

Drop, withdraw or change using
Add/Drop Form.

For other MECA-related questions,
contact us at

or 312.788.1139.


Teaching in Diverse Communities

Merriam-Webster defines diversity as “the condition of having or being composed of different elements; the inclusion of different types of people in a group or organization.” Consideration of best practices in teaching in communities that are comprised of unique individuals who come from varied backgrounds will discussed. Uniqueness can be considered race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs or other ideologies. 

Theories and practices in the following areas will be studied:

  • Leadership

  • Listening to students

  • Seeing from behind the eyes of others (understanding)

  • Building positive student-teacher relationships

  • Holding students to a high level of excellence both musically and personally

  • Students will discover the best way to approach building and growing quality programs:

    • In a challenging environment

    • With students who may have additional needs or face adverse challenges

Participants in this course will have an opportunity to study schools and districts around the country and hear guest lectures on topics related to their similar challenges.  Most importantly, students will be given the tools in which to help them build quality programs, meet their students where they are at, and do so without burning out.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand or want to learn more about teaching in diverse communities

  • Have an interest in urban education

  • Employ techniques in building successful programs in a challenging environment

  • Gain an understanding of how to serve students in communities of opportunity

Instructor: Tom Bracy

f-57-162-9957461_SbVcIKBK_Bracy_HeadshotTom Bracy employs his nearly 30 years’ experience in education, marketing, and management to perform a variety of roles. He is known as an advocate, consultant and educator.

In July 2018, Bracy was appointed the chief executive officer of Harmony Project National Division, a research-based public health intervention program that builds safer schools and communities while closing the achievement gap through the teaching of music. Their primary functions are network development, collaboration and support; central data management evaluation; research and advocacy; and fundraising to support its affiliates nationwide.

Bracy manages his own consulting firm, Bracy Group, LLC, specializing in organizational development, marketing and fundraising. He has helped equip educators, school districts and non-profit organizations with resources, networks and tools to build, enhance and sustain their programs.  As an advocate of music and the arts, Bracy has cultivated relationships with key educational influencers and educational policy advisors across the country.  He specializes in helping organizations maximize their potential growth.

He is an educational clinician for Conn-Selmer, Inc., a division of Steinway Musical Instruments, where his last post included being director of urban education. He acts as lecturer at North Park University as well as VanderCook College of Music. During his 13-year tenure with Merit School of Music, Bracy served in nearly every capacity at the Chicago-based community music school, with his last post as their executive director.  Before joining Merit, Bracy was executive director of the Association for Catholic Music Education. He also worked for the Chicago Park District as an area manager.

He started his career as a band director for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Bracy’s primary instrument is percussion with additional studies in trombone. He earned his Master of Management, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Human Resources Management from North Park University in Chicago.

Course Details

Instructors: Thomas Bracy & guests
3 Graduate Credits
Tuition: $1,020, due in full at registration

Course Code: 6569
Dates: July 8-12, 2019
Location: VanderCook, room TBD
Required text(s):
VanderCook will provide all text(s).

VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

Stay Connected


Continuing Education  




Powered by Website design and development by, Inc