For the fifth consecutive year, Avonworth 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 23rd 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, Avonworth 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 with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
“We couldn't be more proud of our school district's music programs,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hadley, Avonworth Superintendent. “The growth and excellence of our music programs are easily traced to our amazing professional music educators. This recognition is well-deserved and validates the dedication of our music educators and our talented students and supportive families.”
Since the passage by Congress in 2015 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs, and found that in this time of a national pandemic, provides a valuable way to keep 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 is an irreplaceable part of a student’s day to day education. Some students may struggle with different parts and times of their school day, but in music class they can all feel successful creating music together from our youngest to our oldest learners,” said Mr. Ronnie Ziccardi, Avonworth Elementary Band Director, Associate Marching Band Director, Jazz Band Director and 3rd Grade Music Teacher. “As music advocate Vaughan Fleischfresser has said, ‘The Music Department is an alternate universe where pupils are often unrecognizable from who they are outside of it. The shy become confident. The agitated become calm. The lonely become included. The quiet become heard. And the lost become found. Music reveals the real child.’”
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. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show
stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.
About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members around the world. The foundation advances 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.