“Music education is imperative for anyone to grow up complete.”—Paul Harvey



Founded in 1995, Music in the Schools Foundation is dedicated to inspiring children and youth to participate in music as a fundamental part of their education.  MIS provides music instruction to almost 1500 pre-K through 5th grade students in the Ravenswood School District in East Palo Alto, at no cost to the district or the students.  During the school day, students learn the basics of music through singing, dance, playing instruments, and engaging in comprehensive music activities.

MIS also offers after-school choral and violin ensemble programs, which provide additional performance opportunities for our students, along with mentoring from local high school students who assist our experienced and dedicated teachers.  Our teachers offer inspiring instruction in a supportive environment, where students are encouraged to experience the joy of music while developing music literacy.  A strong music program supports academic success and Music in the Schools Foundation is dedicated to helping students achieve that success.

Visit us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Music-in-the-Schools-Foundation/302673001641 for frequent updates!

Our Mission

Music in the Schools Foundation, through music literacy and achievement, promotes the intellectual, social, and cultural development of underserved students of the Ravenswood City School District.


Our Program Manager

Kyle Sofman is excited about her new role as Program Manager at MIS. Kyle is a champion of the arts in schools and believes it should be part of the instructional day and not only an extra curricular activity. She knows that every child can learn and that music provides a unique mode of expression not possible in other subjects. It is Kyle’s hope that the music program will provide students with a solid foundation in musical skills, but also a love of music that goes beyond the classroom. She is supportive of teachers, having taught music in the Bay Area since 1996. She is looking forward to fostering a strong sense of community amongst the MIS and RCSD music teachers and helping them feel connected to each other and to the schools where they teach.

In addition to her role at MIS, Kyle teaches preschool music at Whistle Stop Child Care Center in Palo Alto, and music classes for Special Needs teens and adults at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View. During the summer, she creates and teaches 2-week summer camps including music and art for young children.

Outside of teaching, Kyle performs with the Peninsula Women’s Chorus where she has been the section leader for the 1st Sopranos since 2001, managed volunteers, and serves on the Board of Directors. She received a Bachelor’s of Music Education at Oberlin College and a Masters in Music Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Recently, she received her Certificate in Nonprofit Management from San Francisco State.



Our Teachers

imageShelly Crouse-Monarez teaches beginning and intermediate violin at Willow Oaks Elementary School.  She has a wealth of experience as a teacher, including coaching and teaching adult orchestras, middle school concert band, and elementary school orchestra.  In her private studio, Shelly teaches violin, viola, and cello to students from ages 4 to 89.

Shelly is former Concertmaster of the OPC Orchestra, and has guest performed with local orchestras such as the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, the Castro Valley Chamber Orchestra, and the Community Women’s Orchestra. Internationally, she has performed with the Pleven State Philharmonic (Pleven, Bulgaria) and the Ukrainian State Academic Orchestra (Kiev, Ukraine).
Now in her 13th year as staff fiddler for the Northern California Renaissance Faire, Shelly also teaches, calls and plays for middle school workshops in Renaissance English Country Dance, Shakespearean Theatre and Commedia Dell’Arte. She  performs in local libraries with her group, Canamara, and has both composed and arranged incidental music for theatre productions including a “Mid-Summer Night’s Dream,” “Jack, the Giant Killer,” and “Treasure Island.”  Her performance history encompasses a uniquely wide musical palette, which includes playing with string and symphony orchestras, marching bands, Dixieland and New Orleans jazz, musical-theater pit orchestras, and folk fiddling. 

Shelly firmly believes in every student’s musical abilities.  She stresses that Music is language, math, science and art, and believes that her mission is to empower young violinists with strong skills that will nurture their unique musical voices.


Music Specialist Michel Hardbarger’s pre-school classes at the RCSD Child Development Center, and Kindergarten, first and second grade classes at Willow Oaks are full of activity.  She routinely uses lots of body movement, along with basic rhythm instruments and singing, during her classes.  Michel’s teaching is strongly influenced by Orff techniques with lots of hands-on learning. Classroom teachers affirm that Michel’s music classes are one of the special times of the week for their students, and they’re grateful that MIS provides this educational experience for their students.  Due to many requests from older students who had her in past years, Michel leads a ukulele club for 4-5th graders at Willow Oaks, which meets once a week at lunch hour.


Charles Barrett

Music Specialist Charles R. Barrett was born in Birkenhead, England, and lived in California’s central valley for the majority of his childhood.  He began playing trombone at the age of 10.  By the time he reached high school Charles was regularly playing Trombone, Euphonium, and Tuba, and served as the drum major for his high school marching band.  After high school Charles attended Fresno City College where he studied Tuba with Richard Douty, and Tower of Power trumpeter Dale Engstrom.  Before transferring to San Francisco State, Charles went to Santa Cruz where he learned the fundamentals of improvisation from legendary trumpeter/arranger Ray Brown.  He then spent two years studying Tuba with Zachariah Spellman of the San Francisco Opera, and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Tuba Performance from San Francisco State in 2013.

Charles recently completed coursework for his Master of Music in Wind conducting.  While working on his degree, he served as the graduate assistant for the Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, and Jazz Survey and World Music courses.

Charles is currently the principle Tuba for San Francisco’s BARS Orchestra, and has served as Principle Tuba for the CBDNA honor band (2012), MACC honor band (2008, 09), was the winner of the SFSU concerto contest (2012), and is an occasional member of the Green Street Mortuary Band.  Additionally he serves as the resident Low Brass instructor for the Lake Sequoia Symphonic Music camp, the central valley’s premier summer music camp.


Board of Directors

  • Virginia Fruchterman, Chair
  • Jon Ellis, Treasurer
  • David Jones, Secretary
  • Miranda Bothe
  • Patricia Pietrzyk
  • Nancy Coffey

Advisory Board

  • Signe Boyer
  • Marco Chavez
  • Nancy Fiene
  • Arturo Flores
  • Rufina Gorin
  • Kyomi Masatani
  • David Sloss
  • Benjamin Simon