GUILDERLAND- Both Ravena Coeymans Selkirk’s and Guilderland Central’s music departments recently announced that they earned the NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education honor.
The Best Communities for Music Education Award is a signature program of The NAMM Foundation that recognizes and celebrates school districts for their support and commitment to music education and efforts to ensure access to music for all students as part of a well-rounded education.
“The process was particularly rigorous this year, as in addition to the usual very thorough and detailed questions about the music program, there was an extensive look at how we handled the challenges of music education during the pandemic,” said Brian Bailey, RCS Superintendent of Schools. “We are incredibly honored to receive this award, which we would not be able to receive without our amazing students, Music Department, teachers, staff, RCS Friends of the Arts Group, and community.”
The 2022 Best Communities for Music Education program recognized 738 school districts and 80 schools across 44 states for the outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders and their support for music education as part of a well-rounded education for all children.
“This honor exemplifies the Guilderland community’s commitment to include music education as part of an overall quality education for students,” said Marie Wiles, Guilderland Central Superintendent. “As you attend spring concerts across the district, you will see – and hear – the result of the hard work and dedication that contributed to this well-deserved recognition for a twelfth time.”
This year — the program’s 23rd — schools and districts were celebrated for adapting, innovating, and persevering in the face of change. Researchers at The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas, in conjunction with The NAMM Foundation, created a new way for districts and schools to address the inroads and setbacks impacted by the pandemic, as well as goals for equity and access to music education for all students and national standards for music education in a short, qualitative survey.
“Music educators, administrators, and communities truly rallied to support and sustain music education through a period of intense change and adaptation. These districts and schools persevered in serving their students and communities and assured that music education was part of curriculum offerings,” shares Mary Luehrsen, Executive Director of The NAMM Foundation. “We applaud the commitment and efforts of all music educators, school administrators, and community members in providing students the opportunity to explore their creativity through music.”
In 2020, The National Federation of State High School Associations brought together a number of performing arts organizations, including The NAMM Foundation, to examine aerosol rates produced by wind instrumentalists, vocalists, and even actors and how quickly those aerosol rates accumulate in a space. The study included several follow-up studies, including flow visualization, aerosol and CO2 measurements, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling to understand the different components that can lead to transmission risk from musical performance and risk mitigation.
“If there was one common theme to be taken from all submissions, it’s that schools and districts found ways to sustain music education and student engagement in even the most challenging of circumstances,” said Christopher Johnson of the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
In addition to the 738 districts receiving Best Communities for Music Education recognition, 80 individual schools across the nation are being awarded the SupportMusic Merit Award (SMMA), which recognizes support for school-based music education programs.
Since its inception, over 2,000 schools and school districts have submitted a survey for evaluation. Based on survey responses in 2021, 686 school districts were recognized as Best Communities for Music Education, and 80 schools with the SupportMusic Merit Award. Past districts named a Best Community for Music Education included urban, suburban, and rural districts. Schools that have received the SupportMusic Merit Award designation included public and private schools and ranged from elementary to middle and high schools.