The West Orange School District has been named a “Best Community in the Nation for Music Education” by the NAMM (The National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation.
The award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded curriculum. Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.
This year, 754 school districts across the nation were recognized by The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation as Best Communities for Music Education (BCME). According to the NAMM Foundation website, “along with researchers at The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas, and based on survey results, NAMM each year selects school districts that receive recognition as being among the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) and individual schools who receive the Support Music Merit Award (SMMA).
“What an honor it is to know that our district can continue to provide quality music instruction to the students of this community. It would not be possible without the constant dedication of our teachers, support from the administration/board of education and of course, our wonderful parents and children. We are fortunate to be able to thrive in a community that values the arts and understands the benefits that music instills in our children,” said West Orange Supervisor for Fine Arts Lou Quagliato.
According to the NAMM website, “along with contributing to improved graduation rates and academic success, students in quality music programs are consistently more proficient in other subjects and develop many ancillary life-long skills. We have all noticed how the most involved music students are also exceptional critical thinkers and good listeners, able to persist through all kinds of adversities. The benefits of a strong music program extend far beyond the program itself, though the primary benefit will always be the unparalleled joys that good music brings to peoples’ lives.”
West Orange schools provide countless opportunities in music opportunities with K-8 curriculum. Music appreciation, recorders, orchestra and band beginning in fourth grade, choir, Jazz Band, and theater arts are only the beginning of what is offered. High school programs include theater, dance, choir, jazz band, Step, Glee Choir, Marching Band, Symphonic Winds, and Wind Ensemble.
The award recognizes that West Orange is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on 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.