Kids for Coltrane

♥ Encouraging Words

“It is very gratifying to know that you are continuing your work and that you found your time at the IS to be useful….”

Howard Gardner

Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education

Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Thank you for inviting me to your wonderful Grade 2 Jazz presentation.  The children were adorable and did a magnificent job… The incorporation of media, as well as music and dance, was an admiral undertaking.  Clearly, you and the children did an extraordinary job in researching, reading, writing letters, using technology, planning and implementing a creative philanthropic idea..  Hopefully, you will be able to raise a considerable amount of funds for this valuable endeavor. Good luck!”

Anita E. Saunders
Community Superintendent

“…First off I wanted  to thank you for speaking on behalf of the teachers at yesterday’s luncheon. You spoke beautifully and from the heart. Thank you so much for representing the staff with such grace and poise.

I also wanted you to know how touched and impressed I am with all that you have done with your class for the John Coltrane Tribute. You and your students did a magnificent job with connecting school with the arts and establishing a philanthropic project to boot! It’s unbelievable the level you can take children especially ones so young.  You exemplify what can be accomplished when you really put your mind to work through a  process to achieve a final project.

They are lucky to have you as their teacher. What wonderful experiences you have given them that will last a lifetime. You are right when you say that children are a gift. But Christine you are the gift wrapping that surrounds them.”

Janet Breden


” … Your kids are fabulous and a real tribute to the effort you’ve put into them.  What a powerful thing to do with the mind and heart of your kids.  I am proud of you.  Stay strong, my friend.  You are special.”

Dr. Rudy Crew

2008 National Superintendent of the Year

“Congratulations on the article but more importantly your amazing achievements with your class….”

Mr. Doug Libby, Esquire
Sewanhaka Central School District

“I really had a great time working with you. It was inspiring to meet someone who enjoys this music so much, to use it to teach kids how to tap into their feelings and understand the world around them. Inspiring!”

Sherman Irby

Jazz at Lincoln Center

“…I have heard of your work and am honored that you would write with these kind words. I love the Hentoff piece.”

Linda Darling Hammond

Standford University Professor

Education Advisor to the Barack Obama Presidential Campaign

“Yours is a beautifully written story and an inspiration to every daughter, parent, and teacher!”

Dr. Joan Weingarten

Retired Principal

“… I miss you and I know Jade does too.
Even my mom misses you …  She thinks you should start your own school  or at the very least take 12 students and teach them until they’re ready for college. I guess she’s convinced Jade would be one of the 12 or she would not have said anything.  It was funny.. I just asked who would pay you.  Take care and let me know if there’s anything we can do to help.

forgot .. even Taylor ( now in K ) is waiting to be your student ..she wanted me to ask you.  I told her you don’t teack K or first grade.  She asked jade ” is that john coltrane?”  when jade was playing something.  It just made me laugh.  They too beautiful.”

Mrs. Deo

Proud Parent

“…When I think of your Kids for Coltrane I get goose bumps.  Thank you for telling them about me. You truly have a calling and what you do should be spread across the nation.”

Joann Stevens, Program Director

Jazz Appreciation Month Initiatives

Smithsonian Institution,

National Museum of American History

“You are blessed beyond dreams.”
Joey Leone


Lonnie Youngblood


“Reading the article and looking at your success teaches me so much about being an administrator in education.
You have become who you are because you were left alone to discover your passion and grow with it.”

Bonnie Cohen,


“I don’t  know how to thank you for what you did… I am totally
speechless… that photo has got to be one of the most beautiful things
I have ever seen and the height of my music career…I mean it. You
have given a very special meaning to the song “Little Dancing Girl”.  I
would love to hear it…..Christine you are a beautiful person…”
Louis Vignapiano

“Thank you for keeping us all abreast of the latest academic thinking on high stakes testing.  I’m not sure if I ever properly thanked you for all you have done to raise the professionalism in our building.  Your weekly lunchtime meetings are well attended.  Grounded in professional articles, the conversation is high level, thought provoking and have a direct impact on teacher professional development in a most meaningful way!

On behalf of our whole community, I thank you.”
Diane Hobbs,

“You are a true force of nature.  If we could only bottle your energy and enthusiasm, as well as the love you give your kids!
The program was amazing.  I found myself getting choked up and weepy more than once.  It all began when you made reference to your “precious children.”  They did a beautiful job and seemed far older than only 7 or 8….”
Jehudith Cohen
Board Member, The Coltrane Home

“I am truly impressed by you.
Signs of  your hard work and determination are shining everywhere.
The excellent example your kids are setting for the entire school will surely benefit us all….”
Elizabeth Worgul

“I’m so in awe over the work that you’re doing. It is really inspiring me and makes me want to work toward something this beautiful with my students. Keep believing in this amazing dream!”

Jay Berckley


“Thanks for letting me know and for your great work.”
Joel Klein
Chancellor NYC Department of Education

“Your work is very important.  Please don’t stop!”
Bret Primack
Writer/ Video Journalist

“I would be happy to come to 178 and meet your students.”

Phil Schaap

Jazz Radio Host

“Thanks for the kind words Christine, and for what you are doing for education!
Keep illuminating.”
Judy Willis
” I wanted to write and congratulate you on your wonderful news about your raffle and President Clinton’s donation!  How exciting and what a wonderful course you are pursuing with such optimism and good energy…Congratulations and Thank you for your wonderful support of the Coltrane legacy.”

Kathleen Hennessey Coltrane

“…You are so devoted and passionate… a peek into your room reminds why I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 5!!”
Jennifer Puglisi
“As a parent I am grateful and honored to have my son in Ms. Passarella’s class. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”

— Nisim Mirakov

“What we have done for about two years was going farther and farther from thinking inside the box. Diane Hobbs was right, you do think out of the box. Everything you want leads to this-that and that-this. It leads to fun! We went from rock to the blues, and then last but not least jazz.  Ms. Passarella, are you there? Listen to us. Listen to our voice. Stay. You know what to fight for. We shall never let go. Twenty all in one!”~ Andrew, second grade student, with an encouraging note which inspired the Kids for Coltrane enrichment groups.

“My seven year old daughter has been the overwhelming benefactor of Ms. Passarella’s innovative approach to upholding the highest levels of curriculum touchstones in uniquely compelling and relatable ways for our kids. Moreover, Ms. Passarella has more than aptly struck the often delicate balance of incorporating merriment and exuberance into the child learning process….Furthermore, out-of -the classroom experiences such as trips to museums and Jazz at Lincoln Center have provided valuable exposure to the students by way of emphasizing and reinforcing applicable lessons and learning points while ultimately affirming the standards of curriculum excellence.”~ Ms. Halstead, Proud Parent

“You truly are a wonderful person and a great teacher…You have a very unique way in teaching and are wonderful with your children.”~ Mrs. Rizzotto, Proud Parent

“Before any more time passes, I want to thank you for the wonderful letter and posters you made for me. I’m glad your auction was a success, and I was pleased to be a part of it.

I hope you all will continue to enjoy your studies, volunteer to help people in need, set high goals for yourself, and work hard to reach them. You can do great things.”

Bill Clinton
42nd President of the United States of America

To view the letter from William Jefferson Clinton to my class, kindly scroll down the Home page.

“I was so happy to be able to get in touch with you.  As suggested I took a look at your website and think “Kids for Coltrane” is awesome.  As a former student I know what a privilege it was to be a student in your classroom.     I feel even more privileged that on my path to becoming a teacher, I will get to revisit the classroom environment that took away my school anxiety and replaced it with a love of learning.  You, and the year I thrived in your class motivated me to want to teach.  As a teacher I hope to be able to create a similar environment of respect and safety for my students.” Shana Malleck, former student and future teacher

1 Response to "♥ Encouraging Words"

Inspiration led by an illuminating teacher has introduced new and innovating approaches provoking thought processing in order to “tickle” or “motivate” young children to broaden their horizons in the arts. A passionate attraction to the development of young children’s mind’s and the encouraging movement in which Ms.Passarella directs is nothing short of “angelic”. I commend Christine on her efforts and focus to enhance the lives of the children she teaches. School does not appear mundane for her students. A new spark is being ignited in NY and in the “minds eye” of our children. The comments posted are apparent from both children, parent, community and the arts. Ms. Passarella exceeds the standards in teaching and I will be honored (if permitted) to pass this site on to other teachers here in Calif. Thank you Christine for your hard work, passion and tenacity toward the betterment of our children’s lives present and future while preserving a legacy such as John Coltrane. Preservation of the Coltrane legacy,other talented musicians and our history is important. Our past is our best asset and your commitment and sincerity to preserving a legacy speaks clearly toward the thought of our children, fellow woman and man. You are a “Stalwart and Illuminating” example of a teacher. Thank you Ms. Termini,Passarella
Sincerely; Richard Williams, DOA Counselor/Administrator.

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