|HOMEROOM the Musical||
Selma Tolins-Kaufman, cowriter of HOMEROOM, has been a teacher, counselor, Director of Pupil services in the Methacton School District, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She has a B.A. and a Masters degree in Counseling from Queen’s College and graduate degrees in Psychology from Temple University. She is in Who’s Who in American Women and Who’s Who in the World. Selma has been involved with youngsters for 30 years. She has dabbled in musical theatre and songwriting and has written songs and shows for student performances. Her song, THE MAGIC SLEIGH has been published, as well as a number of other plays for children. HOMEROOM is her first published musical.
In Selma’s words...How HOMEROOM Came to Fruition
I had brought to my school district a number of different approaches to sensitize elementary school students. It was now time to develop an approach to sensitize secondary school students. Andrea Green came to my attention through a music therapist colleague of hers. Jan said if I wanted to see a music therapist’s work, I should visit Germantown Friends School (in PA.) to see a special show she was directing. Andrea produced her musical, THE RETURN OF HALLEY’S COMET. Although entertaining, the thing that was most remarkable about this show was her bonding of severely impaired, Cerebral Palsy children from the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy, with (nondisabled) children from Germantown Friends School (both in Phila.). The GFS students were extremely caring and patient with their HMS partners. All the children worked beautifully together as equal participants and partners. The entire experience was touching and magical. After the show, I went up to Andrea and told her how impressed I was with this unique production. I then asked her if she would consider writing a show with me for middle school students to perform. I told her that I would write a grant to have her work with me on this project. Long story short…..Andrea agreed….and the grant request was successful.
The next step was for us to develop a format, so I approached the middle school staff of English teachers, Guidance Counselors, Special Education teachers and Music teachers and told them what we hoped to accomplish. I asked the English teachers (who had all the students in the school) to ask their students to each write a theme on “what is it like to be in your class, grade, school, town, country, etc.” I told the teachers I wasn’t interested in grammar or spelling but in the expression of the students’ feelings. Much to my delight I received six hundred themes.I then proceeded to read the themes and put them into categories. Certain concerns and experiences recurred frequently in the writings. Others were unique. After categorizing the themes, I brought them to Andrea.
I will always be grateful to the students of the Methacton School District who generously shared their feelings. HOMEROOM reveals what’s in the hearts of teenagers as they experience the world in school. HOMEROOM presents a microcosm of life.