The NAMM Foundation: Record Number of Programs Earn Distinction As ‘A Best Community for Music Education’

179 Communities Achieve Prestigious Designation; 2011 Marks the First Year That Individual Schools Earn Honor

May 4, 2011

In a year that saw budgetary crises and partisan conflict at all levels of government, the NAMM Foundation today announced the results of its 12th annual Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) survey, which acknowledges schools and districts across the U.S. for their commitment to and support for music education in schools.

In all, 179 communities out of 279 that submitted surveys were recognized, including 172 school districts and seven schools. 2011 marks the first year that individual schools received this impressive designation.

The announcement came today as a part of NAMM’s National Wanna Play Music Week, (May 2-8) a weeklong promotion designed to encourage people of all ages and skill levels to experience the proven benefits of playing music.

The BCME survey is a nationwide search for communities whose programs exemplify a strong commitment to music education. Established in 1999, BCME recognizes and celebrates schools, their administrators, teachers, board members, parents and students for their support of music education and their efforts to assure access to all students as part of the core curriculum.

The announcement of the 2011 Best Communities for Music Education campaign comes at a crucial time, as school districts nationwide finalize their budgets. According to the NAMM Foundation, the designation exemplifies a distinction worthy of pride, but also a call to action for local music education advocates to help preserve – and in some cases, save – their current music education programs.

“Considering how hard communities are fighting to maintain school music programs, earning a designation this year has become more relevant than ever. We are proud to acknowledge these districts and schools and grateful for their commitment to a complete education that includes music,” says Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation, which sponsors the program. “Never has the evidence been more compelling: there is a direct correlation between music education and success in other areas of a student’s life. It is therefore crucial to continue funding music and arts education.”

While past designees have reported that making the Best Communities list had a positive effect on their ability to preserve music for their students, Luehrsen cautioned that there is great concern for this year and that local advocacy for music education is important.

“Given that we continue to see some of the deepest education cuts in decades, it’s entirely possible that many of the schools recognized in this year’s list may still lose or diminish their excellent programs,” she said. “We urge communities to celebrate the designation as a national recognition for their commitment to children – we all just need to do this for kids.”

Each school receiving the “Best Communities” designation scored in the 80th percentile or higher in the survey’s grading process. Participants in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and other relevant factors in their communities’ music education programs. The responses were verified with district officials and advisory organizations reviewed the data.

The 2011 survey was conducted between January 14, 2011 and March 14, 2011 in collaboration with The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service ( of Lawrence, Kansas, an affiliate of the University of Kansas. Each school district or school was allowed to fill out one survey, completed by a school administrator and/or teacher with access to school and district demographic and budgetary information.

A copy of the survey can be downloaded for review at

In conducting the annual survey, the NAMM Foundation is joined by advisory organizations in the fields of music and education: Americans for the Arts (, League of American Orchestras (, The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (, Music for All (, Music Teachers National Association (, National Guild For Community Arts Education (, Yamaha Corporation of America (, Young Audiences (www., National PTA ( and VH1 Save The Music Foundation (

td { border-color: #dddddd; }

The complete Best Communities for Music Education roster is listed alphabetically below:

District 2011 Winners City State
Abington School District Abington Pennsylvania
Academy School District 20 Colorado Springs Colorado
Albion Central School District Albion New York
Amityville Union Free School District Amityville New York
Ann Arbor Public Schools Ann Arbor Michigan
Appleton Area School District Appleton Wisconsin
Arlington Independent School District Arlington Texas
Avon Lake City School District Avon Lake Ohio
Baldwinsville Central School District Baldwinsville New York
Baltimore County Public Schools Towson Maryland
Bay Shore Union Free School District Bay Shore New York
Bay Village City School District Bay Village Ohio
Beachwood City Schools Beachwood Ohio
Berea City School District Berea Ohio
Bergenfield Public Schools Bergenfield New Jersey
Bethel Public Schools Bethel Connecticut
Bloomfield Hills School District Bloomfield Hills Michigan
Brighton Central School District Rochester New York
Canton Public Schools Canton Connecticut
Carmel Unified School District Carmel California
Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Carrollton Texas
Central Cambria School District Ebensburg Pennsylvania
Central York School District York Pennsylvania
Chesapeake Public Schools Chesapeake Virginia
Cheshire Public Schools Cheshire Connecticut
Chittenango Central School District Chittenango New York
Clarence Central Schools Clarence New York
Clark County School District Las Vegas Nevada
Clarkstown Central School District New City New York
Clovis Municipal Schools Clovis New Mexico
Cobb County School District Marietta Georgia
Columbia County School System Evans Georgia
Commack Union Free School District East Northport New York
Connetquot Central School District Bohemia New York
Council Rock School District Newtown Pennsylvania
Cumberland Valley School District Mechanicsburg Pennsylvania
Cuyahoga Heights Local Cleveland Ohio
David Douglas School District 40 Portland Oregon
DeKalb County School System Stone Mountain Georgia
Denton Independent School District Denton Texas
Dover Area School District Dover Pennsylvania
East Meadow Union Free School District Westbury New York
Edmonds School District Lynnwood Washington
Elkhorn Area Schools Elkhorn Wisconsin
Essex Town School District Essex Vermont
Exeter Township School District Reading Pennsylvania
Fargo Public Schools Fargo North Dakota
Farmington Public Schools Farmington Connecticut
Fayetteville-Manlius Central Schools Manlius New York
Ferndale Public Schools Ferndale Michigan
Fort Bend Independent School District Sugar Land Texas
Frenship Independent School District Wolfforth Texas
Fulton County Schools Atlanta Georgia
Garland Independent School District Garland Texas
Grand Forks Public Schools Grand Forks North Dakota
Great Neck Public Schools Great Neck New York
Greenwich Public Schools Greenwich Connecticut
Guilderland Central School District Guilderland Center New York
Gwinnett County Public Schools Suwanee Georgia
Half Hollow Hills Central School District Dix Hills New York
Harford County Public Schools Bel Air Maryland
Henrico County Public Schools Richmond Virginia
Herricks Union Free School District No. 9 New Hyde Park New York
Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools Woodmere New York
Hilliard City School District Hilliard Ohio
Hilton Central School District Hilton New York
Homewood City Schools Homewood Alabama
Hopewell Valley Regional School District Pennington New Jersey
Hortonville Area School District Hortonville Wisconsin
Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District Bedford Texas
Independent School District 279 - Osseo Area Schools Maple Grove Minnesota
Independent School District 544 Fergus Falls Minnesota
Independent School District of Boise City Boise Idaho
Indian River County Schools Vero Beach Florida
Jenison Public Schools Jenison Michigan
Johnson City Central School District Johnson City New York
Katy Independent School District Katy Texas
Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District Buffalo New York
Kettering City Schools Kettering Ohio
Kingsport City Schools Kingsport Tennessee
Lake Local Schools Uniontown Ohio
Lancaster Central School District Lancaster New York
Le Roy Central School District Le Roy New York
Lewisburg Area School District Lewisburg Pennsylvania
Long Beach City School District Lido Beach New York
Longwood Central School District Yaphank New York
Loudoun County Public Schools Ashburn Virginia
Lower Merion School District Ardmore Pennsylvania
Loyalsock Township School District Montoursville Pennsylvania
Lynn Public Schools Lynn Massachusetts
Manhasset Public Schools Manhasset New York
Massapequa Union Free School District #23 Massapequa New York
McKinney Independent School District McKinney Texas
Memphis City Schools Memphis Tennessee
Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township Indianapolis Indiana
Metuchen Public Schools Metuchen New Jersey
Midway Independent School District Woodway Texas
Mineola Union Free School District Mineola New York
Montgomery County Public Schools Christiansburg Virginia
Monticello Central School District Monticello New York
Mount Lebanon School District Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
Mt. Pleasant Public Schools Mt. Pleasant Michigan
Nanuet Union Free School District Nanuet New York
New Hartford Central School District New Hartford New York
New Philadelphia City Schools New Philadelphia Ohio
Newtown Public Schools Newtown Connecticut
North Allegheny School District Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
North Babylon Union Free School District North Babylon New York
North Colonie Central School District Latham New York
Northern York County School District Dillsburg Pennsylvania
Northwest Independent School District Justin Texas
Nutley School District Nutley New Jersey
Oceanside Public Schools Oceanside New York
Olmsted Falls City Schools Olmsted Falls Ohio
Ossining Union Free School District Ossining New York
Paramus Public School District Paramus New Jersey
Pasadena Independent School District Pasadena Texas
Pasco School District #1 Pasco Washington
Penfield Central School District Penfield New York
Pennsbury School District Fairless Hills Pennsylvania
Pequannock Township School District Pompton Plains New Jersey
Perrysburg Exempted Village Perrysburg Ohio
Phoenix Central School District Phoenix New York
Pine City Public Schools (Independent School District 578) Pine City Minnesota
Plano Independent School District Plano Texas
Port Jefferson School District Port Jefferson New York
Putnam Valley Central School District Putnam Valley New York
Quaker Valley School District Sewickley Pennsylvania
Randolph Township School District Randolph New Jersey
Richardson Independent School District Richardson Texas
Richland County School District One Columbia South Carolina
Richland School District Johnstown Pennsylvania
Ridgefield Public Schools Ridgefield New Jersey
Ridgewood Public Schools Ridgewood New Jersey
Roanoke County Public Schools Roanoke Virginia
Royalton-Hartland Central School District Middleport New York
Rush-Henrietta Central School District West Henrietta New York
Scarsdale UFSD Scarsdale New York
School District of Lancaster Lancaster Pennsylvania
Shaker Heights City School District Shaker Heights Ohio
Sioux Valley Public 5-5 Volga South Dakota
Skaneateles Central School District Skaneateles New York
South Huntington Union Free School District Huntington Station New York
South Windsor Public Schools South Windsor Connecticut
State College Area State College Pennsylvania
Syosset Central School District Syosset New York
The Sycamore Community School District Cincinnati Ohio
Torrington Public Schools Torrington Connecticut
Township of Union Board of Education Union New Jersey
Trinity Area School District Washington Pennsylvania
Upper Sandusky Exempted Village Schools Upper Sandusky Ohio
Wakefield Public Schools Wakefield Massachusetts
Wappingers Central School District Wappingers Falls New York
Washington County Public Schools Hagerstown Maryland
Washoe County School District Reno Nevada
Wayland Public Schools Wayland Massachusetts
Webster Central School District Webster New York
West Genesee Central School District Camillus New York
West Hartford Public Schools West Hartford Connecticut
West Irondequoit Central School District Rochester New York
West Lafayette Community School Corporation West Lafayette Indiana
West Milford Township Public Schools West Milford New Jersey
West Seneca Central School District West Seneca New York
Westborough Public Schools Westborough Massachusetts
Weston Public Schools Weston Massachusetts
Whitewater Unified School District Whitewater Wisconsin
Willard R-II Schools Willard Missouri
Williamsport Area School District Williamsport Pennsylvania
Williamsville Central School District East Amherst New York
Winnett School District #1 Winnett Montana
Woodside School District Woodside California
Yutan Public Schools Yutan Nebraska
School 2011 Winners City State
Atlanta International School Atlanta Georgia
Brooklyn Center Junior Senior High School Brooklyn Center Minnesota
Lower Moreland Twp. School District Huntingdon Valley Pennsylvania
Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School St. Johnsville New York
Sayville High School Sayville New York
Waubonsie Valley High School Aurora Illinois
Westlake Christian Academy Grayslake Illinois

Primary Media Contact: Lisa Cesarano
(914) 798-7134