National Program Spotlights Deer Park for Outstanding Commitment to Music Education

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Heralding a commitment to music education, the NAMM Foundation designated the Deer Park School District as one of the districts across the country named a Best Community for Music Education. The Best Community designation recognizes collaborative, from-the-ground-up efforts of teachers, administrators, students and parents who continually work to keep comprehensive music education an integral part of the core curriculum.

According to NAMM Foundation Executive Director Mary Luehrsen, the Best Communities for Music Education program, or BCME, is the bellwether of rising endorsement for this vital cause. “There is overwhelming research tying music education to higher overall student success in school and in life,” she said. “This designation recognizes communities for their commitment to music education and strengthens support for these programs. Having widely embraced the evidence indicating that music education yields great things in schools and communities, people are increasingly affirmative, advocating for school music curricula and championing programs like Best Communities that recognize this commitment to music education.”

Now in its 14th year, the BCME program requires each school and district to detail funding, staffing, commitment to standards and access to music instruction. Responses are meticulously reviewed by researchers at the Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kan. (an affiliate of the University of Kansas) and the NAMM Foundation to calculate the designated districts and awarded schools.

“It is gratifying that the music teachers and students from Deer Park are being recognized for their exceptional work,” stated District Administrator for Fine and Performing Arts Dr. Jeff Dailey. “The music program in Deer Park is very advanced and includes instruction in wind, string, and percussion instruments, as well as piano, organ, guitar, didgeridoo, dulcimer, and theremin. In addition, vocal music is also an integral part of the program, as is musical theatre, and the district offers college-level instruction in music theory. Our hope is to expand these programs and add new ones in the future.”

As school districts across the United States finalize their 2013-2014 budgets, the announcement of this year’s Best Communities for Music Education designees focuses attention on the importance of keeping music education as part of schools’ core education. Past designees report that receiving a BCME designation significantly improved their ability to preserve their schools’ music education programs.

The BCME program is a significant tool in the NAMM Foundation’s advocacy efforts on behalf of school-based music education. Numerous studies have demonstrated that learning to play music can boost student achievement and contributes to a school’s and district’s goals for success for all students.

“The designation reveals the elements of music programs so that educators, administrators, teachers and students can see what they have, what they need, what they have accomplished, and what work needs to be done to strengthen their music education now and for the future,” Luehrsen said.

According to its official website, the NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization with the mission of advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.