For the seventh year in a row, the Newark Central School District was designated as one of 623 Best Communities for music education in the U.S. by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.
Now in its 20th year, the designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.
To qualify, NCSD answered questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
“We are fortunate in the Newark Central School District to be able to provide such an amazing musical education to our students,” said Cindy Briggs, K-12 music department leader. “From pre-K all the way through the senior year, it is an important creative learning outlet for our students. It would not be possible without the support of our district administration, board of education, community and colleagues who recognize the value of the arts in education and the difference music makes in students’ lives. The entire NCSD Music Department is very grateful for this recognition.”
This award recognizes that NCSD is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act. The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, which often was criticized for overemphasizing testing while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.
Research into music education indicates educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music.
Briggs commended the entire music department staff for its work, including general music teachers Mary Lou Bonnell and Lara Larsson; TV production teacher Mike Ciranni; vocal music teachers Libby Brozik, Lisa Clark and Kate Flock; and instrumental music teachers Robert Humphrey and Rebekah Valerio.
“We are not surprised, but delighted that Newark Central School District has received NAMM’s Best Communities for music education designation for the seventh year in a row,” Superintendent Matt Cook said. “It is a well-deserved honor for everyone in our music department. It is also noteworthy because our talented staff engages hundreds of students, parents and other community members each year who contribute in so many different ways to make our program distinctive and a great success.”