Lawrence Public Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Lawrence is one of 4% of districts across the nation receiving the prestigious award in 2017.
This is the 9th time overall and the 6th consecutive year that Lawrence has earned this distinction.
The Best Communities 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, Lawrence 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.
"I am grateful that NAMM has once again recognized the hard work of our music teachers in crafting a comprehensive music program that emphasizes not only performance, but also analysis, theory, and composition," related LTPS Instructional Services Supervisor, Damian Bariexca. "It's affirmation that we continue to do good work in the district, but far from being laurels to rest on, it also inspires us to seek new ways by which to improve and grow the program."
This award recognizes that Lawrence is leading the way with music learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation, signed into law in December 2015, and awaiting state implementation designates music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.
As Lawrence finalizes its 2017-2018 budget, The NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education Award and the state level implementation of the federal ESSA law bring attention to the importance of keeping music education part of curriculum offerings and available to all students. It also highlights music’s vital role in students’ overall success in school and the personal benefits of making music.
“Music education teaches students how to create, perform, analyze, interpret and connect to others," shared Sharin Rello, LTPS music teacher at Lawrence Intermediate School. "These skills are essential for all students as we prepare them to become well rounded citizens of the 21st century.”
Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. In a series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University a link was found between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from the University it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.
Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.
A 2015 study, “Striking A Chord” supported by the NAMM Foundation, also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.
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. Its mission is to advance 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.