Kimberly, Wis. – For the tenth consecutive year, Kimberly Area School District (KASD) has again been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 24th year, the 2023 Best Communities for Music Education program has recognized 830 school districts and 78 schools across 43 states for the outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders and their support for music education as part of a well-rounded education for all children.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, KASD 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.
“Our vision is that all students will reach their potential and this includes pursuing opportunities in the arts,” said Robert Mayfield, Superintendent of the Kimberly Area School District. “The award belongs to our entire community for providing music education opportunities for students of all ages. I am especially proud of what our students and staff are accomplishing in vocal and instrumental music at all of our schools.”
Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping 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.
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. In addition, everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory.