Weekly Talks with Director Connector

Created on Monday, 30 Mar 2020 10:50:54

USBands has begun hosting Director Connector weekly discussion forums to help directors stay connected in these days of social distancing and online connectivity.

The USBands team began with a small group on March 25, testing the waters so-to-speak, to talk about how directors were connecting with students via distant learning and what challenges and successes they were experiencing. 

We heard individual districts are placing varying expectations on their staff and students, and those are continuing to evolve as the days go by. Having directors share what is working for them helps everyone generate fresh ideas for themselves and sharing challenges helps us realize how much none of us is alone in this new world of learning.

Over the coming weeks, we are looking to expand these online virtual meetings, both in terms of topics covered and our ability to include more of our members.

As we seek resources that will be interesting and useful to our USBands community, we would like to update you on the online meetings held this week. 

On Wednesday, April 1, we welcomed Prem Ramaswami, a former high school band student and one of the developers of the www.covidnearyou.org map. After graduating high school, Prem continued his education at Carnegie Mellon and Harvard Universities. He will be sharing how his group, under the leadership of John Brownstein at Boston Children's Hospital, created www.covidnearyou.org, a crowdsourced epidemiological map in the US. The goal of this project is to give public health workers a better knowledge of where potential outbreaks of COVID-19 exist as we ramp up testing. This tool can be shared with your networks and you can enter your information if you're feeling well or sick. #covid19 #crowdsource www.covidnearyou.org

The recording of the April 1 Director Connector is available here:


On Friday, April 3, Dr. Sara Newman joined us to remind us that while keeping up with your students is important during this time of isolation, it’s also important to look after your own mental health. Sara Newman is an assistant professor of Public Health at Fort Lewis College. Sara's research is centered at the intersection of public lands and public health and focuses on increasing the accessibility of healthy places for diverse populations. Sara has extensive education and research experience in social sciences (anthropology, sociology, and geography) as applied to public health. She has worked in a variety of research contexts including studies in hospital settings to ethnographic field research and has expertise in qualitative health research design, implementation, and evaluation. Her master's work was focused on improving access to healthy foods in American Indian contexts in the Southwest, and her undergraduate research examined obesity prevention in Thailand. Sara is a third generation ranger with the National Park Service, a lifelong Coloradoan and enjoys visiting small National Parks with her husband.

The recording of the April 3 Director Connector is available here: https://meetingdemo.zoho.com/public/videoprv?recordingId=b067feeabbd75c53f3249a09183712a888772d88d25ab22cbd16b182e11dca9f&src=mail

For the week of April 6, USBands will be hosting a round table discussion about performance possibilities for the Fall. Obviously, none of us knows what the future will bring but we are certain that the arts and specifically marching band will be a vital part of our return to some sense of normalcy. Team USBands wants to be flexible in how we meet the needs of our member band directors and your students as we move forward. We want to hear your thoughts on what you think the possibilities are for your individual programs as well as how we can best support you in this uncertainty.

Please email Amanda Ehst at aehst@yea.org to reserve your spot. We will send out the meeting link on Wednesday morning for your opportunity to participate in the conversation.

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