A prominent national organization counts the Everett Public Schools among the best districts in the country for offering its students access to comprehensive music education, as the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) placed Everett on its list of the nation’s 376 Best Communities for Music Education. Everett is the sole inner-city district in Massachusetts to earn the prestigious designation.
“The honor is as satisfying as it is deserved,” said Superintendent of Schools Frederick F. Foresteire. “We take an enormous amount of pride in providing music education from kindergarten through 12th grade, and for offering top-flight extracurricular offerings for students as they get older and their talents develop.”
The award was bestowed to Everett at an appropriate time: In recent weeks, Everett High’s Winter Guard and Percussion Ensemble each captured New England Championships; the school’s show choir, Pop Vox, earned a gold medal at Eastern Choir Festival; more than 470 musicians from all grade levels held a string concert that attracted a crowd of 1,100 to the Frederick F. Foresteire Center for the Performing Arts; and the Everett High School Rock Band had the chance to learn from, and play with, the United States Air Force band “Blue Steel.”
“Our music programs are both serious and inclusive,” said EPS Music Department Chairman Eugene O’Brien. “We offer something for everyone, from the student who plays the violin to the kid who wants to be in a jazz ensemble. I’m sure the variety of our programs is a key attribute that caught the attention of the NAMM.”
The Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) program applauds the efforts of teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders working to assure that music education is part of the core curriculum. More than 2,000 schools and school districts participated in this year’s survey resulting in a 21-percent increase in designations.
“These schools and districts make a strong commitment to music education in the core curriculum supporting its essential value to a well-rounded education for every child,” said Mary Luehrsen, NAMM Foundation executive director. “Strong, engaging programs that offer students access to music cannot thrive in a vacuum. The Best Communities designation bring hard-won visibility to music classes, programs and departments that are keeping music education alive in our schools.”
Now in its 15th year, the BCME program evaluates schools and districts based on funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards, and access to music instruction. The NAMM Foundation with the assistance of researchers at The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas (an affiliate of the University of Kansas) evaluate participants on these factors. Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and greater access to music education.
As school districts across the United States grapple with 2014-2015 budget allocations, the announcement of this year’s Best Communities for Music Education designees brings fresh focus to the significance of music education programs. Past designees report that receiving a BCME designation significantly buoyed support for their schools’ music education programs.
“I commend our School Committee for prioritizing music education, for ensuring it remains a key component of our curriculum,” said Superintendent Foresteire. “Everett proves that any district, regardless of its size and affluence, can provide top-notch music programming to its students. This honor recognizes that fact.”
The BCME program is one of the NAMM Foundation’s foremost efforts to bolster support for school-based music education programs that must be available for all children. Providing music education for all students is something any community can accomplish if it has the collective will to do so, regardless of size or affluence.
The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 9000 members around the world. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit HYPERLINK “http://www.nammfoundation.org” www.nammfoundation.org, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.