Adaptive Music Boosts Learning

Adaptive Music Gives AHS Students a Fun Way to Boost Learning
Posted on 06/14/2024

Alleghany High School teacher Amanda Sprouse works with students during an adaptive music class. The class is tailored for students with higher levels of need and was added to the AHS curriculum during the 2023-2024 school year. 

At AHS, the adaptive music class provides students with an enjoyable way to learn in small groups. Music and dance are used to create a fun atmosphere for learning. The music helps students develop better communication skills and engage with other students more effectively. The use of music has also been shown to improve academic performance.

“Adaptive music is a great addition to the curriculum at AHS. This class gives students with disabilities a chance to participate in music-related activities in a sensory-friendly environment. I feel the students enjoy this class and learn a lot while having fun,” said  Dr. Jason Conaway, director of special education for AHPS. 

Adaptive music is part of several customized offerings for students with disabilities. The course is an example of a class that teaches easily changed content to meet student needs.  There are no specific Virginia Standards of Learning for the course. Amanda Sprouse teaches the class at AHS,

“This is truly a passion project for me. I’ve wanted to provide this opportunity for several years and am delighted to see it become a reality this year. Watching a student light up while exploring the world of music and learning to express themselves on their terms in a supportive environment is the highlight of my day. I look forward to expanding the course in the coming years,” said Sprouse, a music teacher and choral director at AHS.

Videos and instruments such as rhythm sticks help students stay engaged. Paraprofessionals also provide support for the course. Lolita Smith, a special education paraprofessional at Alleghany High School, has dance skills and was able to join the class.

"Amanda Sprouse is a wonderful asset to our school in providing this class for our students,” said Tracie Porter, a member of the school-based intervention team at AHS. 

“At 9 a.m., the students knew it was time for music! Sometimes, they would run down the hall to get the best seat in front of the 'big screen.' This adaptive music class allowed them to experience class outside the functional classroom. Mrs. Sprouse allowed them to play musical instruments and experience all the instruments in the band room. The paraprofessionals and teachers also really enjoyed the class!" Porter said.

Charity Hale, an assistant principal at AHS, said adaptive music is a successful program that will reap benefits for students with special needs for years to come. Hale helps to oversee music at AHS as part of her duties as an assistant principal.  

"The adaptive music class was a true success. Observing our students as they explored the world of music and dance was very rewarding, as they experienced joy and creativity in a supportive learning environment. We look forward to seeing this program grow and develop in the coming years, and we are excited to see the benefits and joy it will bring our students,” she said. 

AHPS administrative leaders are also impressed with the class, particularly with its students' enthusiasm. 

“I happened to have an opportunity to participate in this class one morning, and everyone participating brought a ton of joy to my day,” said Kim Halterman, one of the leaders of AHPS.  

Individuals with questions about AHPS special education services should contact their child’s school or Dr. Jason Conaway, director of special education, at the AHPS central office, 540-863-1800.

The Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division was created on July 1, 2022, through the merger of Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center. The school division is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington. 

AHPS news and updates are regularly posted on Facebook at AHPublicSchools and the division website


Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.