Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Shenandoah Valley’s Music Education Program Honored with the Best Communities for Music Education from NAMM

The Shenandoah Valley School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. 

Now in its 24th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. 

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, The Shenandoah Valley School District answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. 

Responses were verified by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas. 

“Music Education is vital to a well-rounded education,” said John P. Shoener, Director of Bands. “This designation for the third year in a row speaks volumes to how our students are truly the best.”

Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education.

“Music Education continues to grow in our district, and the students take full advantage of our opportunities. Just this year we have added a college-level music class through LCCC offered to Juniors and Seniors.” said Shoener.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school but also to attend college as well. In addition, everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory.