This week, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation recognizes 388 school districts in 46 states as among the Best Communities for Music Education. In its 16th year, the program singles out districts for outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders to make music education accessible to all students.
In addition to the 388 districts receiving Best Communities for Music Education recognition, 120 individual schools across the nation are being awarded the Support Music Merit Award (SMMA), which recognizes support for school-based music education programs.
“Ensuring that every child has access to music in schools is central to the NAMM Foundation’s work, but a commitment from the entire community including local music industry leaders keeps music in schools,” said Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation. “We commend the districts and schools that have earned the Best Community designation this year. They join with so many that believe as we do that there is a vital link between do-re-mi and the ABCs.”
The BCME and SMMA designations take on added significance this year with new research showing strong ties between music education and overall student success. A new body of evidence, released at the start of the school year by Northwestern University brain researcher Dr. Nina Kraus, shows that participation in music education programs helps improve brain function and sparks language development. The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio highlighted the new research.
Not all of the nation’s 13,588 school districts are in harmony when it comes to promoting the arts and music education. According to the White House’s Turnaround Arts program, for example, 1.3 million elementary school students still have no access to music classes.
The BCME program evaluates schools and districts based on funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards, and access to music instruction. Researchers at the Center for Public Partnerships & Research at the University of Kansas led the data review.
In past years a BCME designation raised local awareness of quality music programs from coast to coast. Earning the designation assists communities in securing funds for music programs threatened by budget cuts, and acts as a source of community pride. News of past winners national recognition often leads to local media coverage, community recognition and even billboards trumpeting the local school music programs.
Western Pennsylvania Best Communities for Music Education
Blackhawk School District
Central Valley School District
Clairton City School District
Fox Chapel Area School District
McKeesport Area School District
Moon Area School District
Mt. Lebanon School District
North Allegheny School District
North Hills School District
Quaker Valley School District
Western Pennsylvania SupportMusic Merit Schools
East Allegheny High School – North Versailles, PA
Laurel Highlands High School – Uniontown, PA
Logan Middle School – North Versailles, PA
North Hills High School – Pittsburgh, PA
Propel East – Turtle Creek, PA
A complete list of districts and schools receiving Best Community and SupportMusic designations from the NAMM Foundation in 2015 can be found at: http://www.nammfoundation.org/what-we-do/best-communities-music-education.
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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 9200 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.