NAMM Foundation Spotlights 2014’s Best Communities for Music Education
National program celebrates districts’ and schools’ exemplary dedication to music programs
The NAMM Foundation awards school music education programs with the announcement of 2014’s Best Communities for Music Education (BCME). This year, the NAMM Foundation designates 376 districts as Best Communities for Music Education and 96 individual schools as SupportMusic Merit Award winners. These districts and schools set the bar in offering students access to comprehensive music education.
The BCME program applauds the efforts of teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders working to assure that music education is part of the core curriculum. More than 2000 schools and school districts participated in this year’s survey resulting in a 21% increase in designations.
“These schools and districts make a strong commitment to music education in the core curriculum supporting its essential value to a well-rounded education for every child,” said Mary Luehrsen, NAMM Foundation executive director. “Strong, engaging programs that offer students access to music cannot thrive in a vacuum. The Best Communities designation and the SupportMusic Merit Award bring hard-won visibility to music classes, programs and departments that are keeping music education alive in our schools.”
Now in its 15th year, the BCME program evaluates schools and districts based on funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards, and access to music instruction. The NAMM Foundation with the assistance of researchers at The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas (an affiliate of the University of Kansas) evaluate participants on these factors. Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and greater access to music education.
“A growing body of research shows a correlation between participation in music education and student achievement in school and overall," said KU researcher and professor Christopher Johnson. "Music and the arts make a very positive contribution to the general success of the school and connection to the community. Access to music and the arts as part of the core curriculum contributes to lower dropout rates, higher graduation rates, higher ACT scores, and all the while, children learn the joys of music and all the life skills it fosters."
As school districts across the United States grapple with 2014-2015 budget allocations, the announcement of this year’s Best Communities for Music Education designees brings fresh focus to the significance of music education programs. Past designees report that receiving a BCME designation significantly buoyed support for their schools’ music education programs.
“’Best Communities’ has helped us maintain our music budget when other school programs have been greatly impacted by the current economic crunch,” said Richard Tinsley, music education specialist for Henrico County Public Schools in Richmond, VA. “Also, it has been a source of pride for our community, students, and administrators, and is often used as a selling point that local real estate agents use with potential buyers considering home purchases in the Henrico County school locality.”
The BCME program is one of the NAMM Foundation’s foremost efforts to bolster support for school-based music education programs that must be available for all children. Providing music education for all students is something any community can accomplish if it has the collective will to do so, regardless of size or affluence.
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About NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 9000 members around the world. The NAMM Foundation works to advance active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit www.namm.org, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.