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Urban Districts Awarded Best Communities for Music Education

  • When COVID-19 forced schools across the nation to move to remote learning last March, music programs were greatly impacted. Teachers had to find creative ways to educate their students by sending sheet music, videos and audio to students via the internet and conducting orchestra and band practices on Zoom.

    Yet, the teachers and students persevered and for their efforts were recently recognized as among the Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation.

    Several urban school districts were among the 686 school districts from across the nation recognized for their work in promoting music education. The award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education.  Designations are made to districts that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education. 

    “In past years, schools and districts had to work hard to create successful music and arts communities,” said Mary Luehrsen, executive director of The NAMM Foundation. “But, never before has the battle been so hard-fought against silence and a feeling of isolation. We applaud with all our hearts the commitment of so many to ensure students continue with deep and rich music learning.” 

    Urban districts honored this year were: Texas’ Arlington Independent School District; Fort Worth Independent School District; Dallas Independent School District; San Antonio Independent School District and Austin Independent School District; New Mexico’s Albuquerque Public Schools; Florida’s Broward County Public Schools; Pinellas County Schools; Hillsborough County Public Schools; Orange County Public Schools; and the School District of Palm Beach County; Nevada’s Clark County School District and Washoe County School District; North Carolina’s Guilford County Schools; Tennessee’s Metro Nashville Public Schools and Shelby County Schools; New Jersey’s Newark Public Schools; New York’s Rochester City School District; the School District of Philadelphia; Kansas’ Wichita Public Schools and the District of Columbia Public Schools in Washington, D.C.

    The criteria for being awarded as one of the “Best Communities for Music Education” is more than just simply offering a music class in schools. Districts had to answer detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs.